From getting your foot in the door, to rising through the ranks, the games industry can be a tough place to get noticed.
The University of Hull has a long track record of providing graduate talent to some of the world’s biggest gaming companies. One of those graduates is Francisco Inacio - Lead Programmer on Squad.
Francisco graduated from Hull in 2012 with an MSc in Games Programming and went on to complete a PhD in Computer Graphics, also at Hull. He now works at Vancouver-based Offworld Industries.
Here, in his own words, are his top tips on how to get into the gaming industry. This talk was delivered to the University of Hull as part of a series of virtual seminars for our Computer Science students.
Find out more about Computer Science degrees at the University of Hull.
Getting into an interview
Education vs work experience
No matter how good or bad you are, your CV is your gateway to getting into the industry. To get your first interview, you can work on the presentation of your CV, but also remember to acquire the skills you need to stand out. Education is very important, but equally important to a lot of employers is work experience. I look for people who have a solid educational background, but also relevant experience in the industry.
If you do not have that career experience in the industry, then make sure you have evidence of some personal projects you have worked on. Show that you have that passion and are willing to do things in your own time.
Gaining specialised experience or knowledge of areas such as rendering, networking, Tools & DevOps, Unreal Engine 4 and Unity can really make you stand out on paper.
Don’t take it personally
Last but not least, never take it personally if you do not get an interview. There are a lot of candidates out there. You can be brilliant at what you do, but there might just be someone who is better suited to that role. It is never personal, it’s business.
How to ace the interview
Make sure it’s a two-way dialogue, but don’t be arrogant
People sometimes say an interview is a one-way interaction, but actually I like to spin that around and make it two-way. Yes, the company is looking for someone, but you are also looking for a company. Be confident in what you say and do, ask the questions you need but do not be arrogant.
Admit when you don’t know something, but try anyway
It is perfectly OK to admit that you do not know everything. This shows humility. It is important for the interviewer to see you try and solve the problem, even if you do not know the answer off the top of your head.
Take time to think before answering
Do not rush in an interview. Always take a moment, if asked a difficult question, to think before you give an answer.
It’s not a matter of whether you can do it, it’s about how long it will take you
You do not need to be able to do everything right from the off. You do however need to be willing to learn new skills. I like to say it’s not about whether you can do something right at that moment, it’s how long it will take you to learn it if you cannot.
Take notes and learn from it
Some interviewers like to see you taking notes during an interview. It’s the little things sometimes that have a big impression. It shows you are engaged and are taking the process seriously, and want to improve and learn from it.