My Game Careers Talk at AIE Seattle

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A few weeks ago, I spoke with a group of students at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, a game and film school here in Seattle. They were kind enough to make a video and share it with the world, I thought you might like it.

It was super fun, because I did an open Q&A with the students. They’re graduating soon, so they asked about everything: interviewing, resumes, portfolios, and whether good digital hygiene means you should “scrub” your social media before employers find those pics of that thing you kinda wish you hadn’t done last summer. Here’s the video.

Feel free to skip around to the topics you’re especially interested in:

  • 02:03 – My background
  • 04:55 – Understanding game industry hiring managers
  • 05:56 – Interviewing isn’t a “test,” it’s about “fit”
  • 07:27 – How to provide the “proof” interviewers are looking for
  • 10:02 – How to deal with a hiring manager who’s too busy for hiring
  • 12:30 – Where would you hide an elephant?
  • 15:18 – Q&A start
  • 15:18 – Will art directors trash your portfolio if it contains bad work?
  • 16:19 – How do I dress for a job interview?
  • 18:28 – What’s a best practice for presenting your portfolio?
  • 20:15 – How to handle awkward silence in an interview?
  • 22:00 – How can a programmer make a visual online portfolio?
  • 24:05 – Should I customize my art portfolio for each company I apply for?
  • 25:35 – As a game programmer, how can I overcome writer’s block? (Using a rubber duck…?)
  • 27:43 – Is it better for my art portfolio to show depth, or diversity?
  • 29:10 – Are whiteboard programming interviews looking for condensed code, or visually appealing code?
  • 30:23 – What should I do if a company reaches out to me, but I’m not prepared?
  • 34:30 – Do hiring managers look at extra-curricular work I’ve done, such as tutorials on YouTube?
  • 35:40 – How do I make my emails stand out and grab the attention of a hiring manager?
  • 37:18 – Should I include a cover letter as an email or an attachment?
  • 38:35 – Will hiring managers research me on my social media accounts?
  • 40:26 – What if I have photos online that I’m not sure I want hiring managers to see?
  • 41:28 – If I don’t have a big social media presence, will that affect my chances to get a job?
  • 43:10 – What might be considered a “bad” social media presence?
  • 44:10 – Should I remove my old coding assignments from my public source code repos before applying?
  • 45:05 – Would it be bad to apply for several different jobs at the same game company?
  • 46:50 – Once I graduate, what kind of jobs could I land, and what’s the competition like?
  • 48:28 – How hard is it to get a job, when I’m just starting out and my resume is essentially blank?
  • 49:55 – Why career networking in school is so important

Thanks to AIE Seattle for inviting me to speak at their campus, and for sharing their Lunchbox Speaker series videos with aspiring game developers everywhere.

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