Tuesday, 29 June 2010 00:00

What it Takes!

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I receive quite a bit of questions about what it takes to find a job in this field. When I was reading the WSJ article published today called, Intern to Civilization Leader, I thought it was a perfect illustration of what I tell all of them. Do something useful to make yourself noticed and seperate yourself from the crowd. Also be persisent, if you're product is high it will get noticed. Just sending a resume and making a phone call expressing interest will seldom recieve any interest in such competitive fields as investing and gaming.

Here are some relevent quotes from the article:

Q: Internships at game companies are pretty hard to get. How did you land one?

A: I started out as a beta tester, playing new games for the company and asking if I could help out in any way. I kept pestering them until they finally acquiesced. They said they didn't have any full-time positions, but they could make a programming internship for me. That was in February 2005.

Q: Did you have much programming experience when you applied?

A: My father is a computer programmer for United Airlines. He would program me little games for fun, just on his own, really primitive stuff. I kind of picked up on that and started doing it myself. At 9 or 10 years old I was programming simple games. I [started out] majoring in computer science at Colorado State University. But most of what I know now about making games was learned at Firaxis while I was an intern.
How You Can Get There

A: Early on, I did very basic programming tasks that the lead programmer needed done. But I was also making scenarios and maps [for the Civilization game] while in the internship. It wasn't related to what I was doing but it was stuff I found interesting—and so did they. Eventually, they told me they were making expansions [add-on game scenarios] for Civilization IV, and they needed designers to make stuff. That's when I got the job. I was hired on as a full-time designer after getting my degree.

Q: After double majoring in computer science and history, you dropped computer science in favor of a history degree. Has that affected your career?

A: From a very young age I've always had an interest in history, World War II in particular. When other people were reading "Goosebumps," I was reading [the book] "Panzer Battles." It ended up playing a major role in what I've been doing because Civilization uses history as a foundation for everything that takes place. It's important to know the flow of history and the different major events that people will recognize. When I moved to take the [intern] job at Firaxis [in Maryland], I finished my degree at Towson University. Even as an intern, I was working full-time and dropped the double major to work just on history

Best advice: "It's a very competitive field and it's more than just playing a lot of games," says Mr. Shafer. "You have to separate yourself somehow."

Skills you need: "Being well-rounded and having perseverance," he says. "Knowing programming is third."

Where you should start: "Be proactive. Make your own opportunities," he says."

Read 3791 times Last modified on Saturday, 19 April 2014 12:25