At the AIE Alumni conference in Tuscany, several veteran developers were interviewed, with a few common questions — one of them being, “What advice would you give new graduates?” Here are some of their answers.
It’s a fresh issue for Matt Davidson, who is in the process of hiring engineers:
I look for self-starters. Young engineers who aren’t looking for the full solution. I want them to be well versed in fundamentals. Computer Science fundamentals and software engineering fundamentals. I am worried about Unity becoming so popular because it does extract quite a lot of the architecture from game engineers. And it’s great for game developers to script things, but I really think that strong fundamentals are incredibly important.
Other than that, Davidson said to “Program, program, program.”
Kate Kerrigan, who has worked on many titles in a visual effects/animation role, wants you to stay sane:
Don’t be stressed when you’re not working on something. When I’m not working, I take at least half a day to work on something of my own, and send out emails to keep in contact with people for potential work, and the rest of the day I’ll take me time. Just don’t stress about it.
Other than that, no job starts until you turn up to the job, and no bankrolls.
Valuable advice for freelancers there. She also says you never know which bits of contract work might actually be fun, even when you don’t expect it.
Jeremy Howden comes from a position of overseeing a large art team at Animal Logic:
Probably the good skills are the business skills at the moment, to get work. Because it’s pretty quiet out there in Australia, at the moment. A lot of my friend are overseas at the moment because they can’t find work.
It’s those communication skills. You would put up with someone who’s difficult to work with because they’re talented, but there’s lots of talent out there now, so you don’t have to. You want to have people you can work with. Reliability is always a good thing.
He also stresses the importance of creating that beautiful piece of work that will get you in the door. A sentiment that Eddie Prickett agrees with:
A demo reel is a passport. A passport into your first job, and into your next job. So you’ve gotta be honest with yourself about where that sits. The way to do that is to look at the calibre of work that’s out there. And honestly say “Where does my work fit in this spectrum?” And you just have to put your love and blood and sweat and tears, to where your work can stand in the room with everyone else, because then you have a chance. With animation, it’s becoming saturated with the level of learning, so you’ve got to put something in that first 10 seconds. There’s gotta be something that impresses.
[Jobseekers] via Shutterstock