How To Get Hired As A Game Developer
That was it - his point was short and sweet, and it's easy to imagine that it opens up a lot of questions for those who wanted a more detailed plan, but that is really how simple things are. You can have all the top qualifications in the world, but if you have no proof of being able to use them to actually make something, then you're not as attractive a prospect to a company.
That's not to say that your skills are worthless – far from it. In fact, your qualifications are a good way of showcasing your abilities in a validated environment. Any software can run well, but if the code behind it is hacked together and very inefficient, it's hard to tell, so providing examples of finished, clean code alongside your software, or just coding techniques you've blogged about are good ways of supporting your portfolio with additional information.
When it comes to the software itself, it doesn't matter how simple or derivative your ideas are – it just matters that you're able to finish something and get it out of the door, preferably free of bugs. A lot of development is being able to take something from start to finish, and you need to be able to set yourself apart from the legions of developers who started something great and never finished it.
A good way to do this is to take a look at the various development communities and offer your services. There are a lot of “ideas people” out there, but if you're a developer, you'll never be short of offers. If it's unpaid work it can be frustrating and demotivating, so if you're working pro bono or for that ever-elusive “revenue” being shared about across the team, ensure the project can be easily finished – you don't want to explain to someone that you spent two years of evenings working on something stuck forever in development hell. Paid work does exist, however, so don't be afraid – make some small projects yourself, and start applying.
Think carefully about what qualities they want from you, too - if they're looking for someone with an eye for design, ensure that's the best part of what you've made. If they want someone who can oversee younger designers, you should take things into your own hands and begin to develop software with newer staff under you to demonstrate your ability to teach and run a project.
When someone applies to be a journalist, nothing matters beyond their experience and writing portfolio. It's the same with game development - if you can demonstrate both of these things to a high standard, you've answered all their burning questions without saying so much as a word. At that point, your interview will simply give them an idea of your personality and ethics. But you've already done the bulk of the work. Want to make software? Show you can!
Chet Falizsek got his job by writing about games, and then started writing for games. He demonstrated a solid writing ability for years, and he was rewarded. Everyone can talk a big game when it comes to development, but to succeed you must back up these claims by actually taking on the task and completing it multiple times before you even apply. So go and make some software, and prove to these companies that you're more than just another hopeful application - you're a ready-to-go asset to the company.