Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Graduated, job fell through, now what? :0

SacriliciousSacrilicious Registered User regular
edited January 2015 in Help / Advice Forum
Short Version:
-Graduated, job fell through, moved home, feel stuck in rural New England
-Small portfolio for video game art, with some polishing I'm confident I could land an alright job
-I'd really, really like to live somewhere new and exciting

Graduated a couple weeks ago, and plans I had to go abroad for an internship fell through and left me in a really tough situation. Since I had this job seemingly lined up, I felt comfortable planning to move all my belongings out and going home for vacation before I left. Right before I was going to leave for home, I was informed that my employment had been reconsidered and I didn't have the job.

Frankly I didn't want to just hang around, take a dead end job to pay rent, and still be around campus but without the excitement of student life. I'd seen friends stagnate after graduation, so I figure I just needed to get out first and foremost. Now I'm at home, in rural New England where there's not a lot going on.

I want to work in the video games industry, and I think I've got enough of a portfolio to land me a job of some kind. So my options are:

1. Stay at home for now, get focused on polishing portfolio for a couple weeks and apply to game companies in the region.
2. Move back to place I went to school because I know the area and might be able to get a job more easily (it IS easier to get around, and I like it better than New England)
3. Try to line up something like an English teaching job in another country so I can get out and do something new. I'd love to visit Southeast Asia.
4. I have a kind of general engineering degree (with coursework focused in video game design), so I could try to find a decent job totally unrelated to game design or art and just get some money saved.

Feelin kinda down at the moment, if anyone's got advice or been in a similar situation, I'd be grateful to hear about it.

Sacrilicious on
Geth

Posts

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I say #4. It may even be stimulating if you find a job you never thought you'd find fulfilling but actually love and can be proud of.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    QuidLostNinjaCambiataCreagankimeEncGreat ScottDerrick
  • cookiekrushcookiekrush Registered User regular
    I say 3 or 4 would work! It's not a bad idea to see the world and teaching English is one of the popular ways to do it. It's also not a bad thing to have a decent job until something better comes around.

    I have several friends in your position, and were/am in rural New England ;D. Quite a few have found jobs in great companies doing all kinds of things, some related to video games, some related to programming in general. Just throw yourself out there. You have nothing to lose!

    Pinny Pals - open to trading!
    Looking for Edith Finch Pin!
    kime
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    If you can find a decent job and get some money saved you won't believe how nice it is to be debt-free and comfortable. Your time will fill up quickly. I'd say combine #1 and #4. No reason to completely discount a job in your field, but don't restrict your search to just that. Spend 4 hours a day looking for jobs and 2 hours a day polishing your portfolio, or something.

    sig.gif
    LostNinjaQuidMayabirdCreaganHollerTofystedethkime
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    Getting out of New Hampshire as a new graduate was one of the best things I did.

  • DashDDashD Dread Pirate Chef Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2015
    I would like to offer a 5th option. I found myself in a position of 'what the hell do I do now,' right around the time I graduated a few years ago. The solution I found was AmeriCorps. It has three main sections, National Civilian Community Corps, VISTA, and State/National. Depending on what interests you, one of those programs might be worth looking into. They are typically 10 month programs and at the end you come away with some money to pay off student loans or use toward further education.

    Edit: They also can get you out of New England.

    DashD on

    "Brilliant! Oh wait, if we were meant to fly, we would have been born with little bags of nuts."
    PAX_Badge_Sig.png
    ceres
  • chromdomchromdom Working on having a better attitude Oh yeah, I movedRegistered User regular
    Out of curiosity, how did you find the job that fell through? Is there any possibility of going back to that resource to find another gig?

    Mr. Rogers wrote:
    You've made this day a special day, by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.
  • HollerHoller Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    Honestly, I feel like one of the biggest mistakes people make is clinging to the idea that "I got X degree because it will get me my dream job, so I'm going to keep applying to my dream job until I get it." Sometimes that works out great, but for many, many people, you either fall into one of a thousand unplanned paths that end up taking you exactly where you (didn't know you) wanted to go, or you set yourself up for failure by being myopic and actively refusing opportunity. The value of a college degree is rarely that it's a direct path to success; the value is that it opens up a huge world of opportunities for you, and especially at the launching point of your career, it seems insane to me to limit a search to one specific job.

    Do option 1, probably do option 2 as well (particularly if it increases your ability to find employment and other personal pursuits*), but definitely also do 4 while doing those other things. Don't stay at any jobs you hate, but apply to lots of things, and do serious inquiry at the interviews about what the jobs entail and how your skills will be utilized and grow in the position.

    *you're right about the danger of languishing post-college, not only in terms of your career but also personally/socially. If you're not an A+ #1 most outgoing socializer, start practicing meeting people/networking and cultivating rewarding hobbies outside of the college environment now. 30-year-old-you will thank you.

    Holler on
    QuidThundyrkatzceresDarkewolfePowerpuppiesEncZilla360Great Scott
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    what area did you go to school in? What part of rural New England?

    Depending on where you are, there are a lot of options, especially if your "general engineering" is "general software engineering" as you can learn a ton about workflow, project management and other disciplines while doing things other than game design.

  • SacriliciousSacrilicious Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    Thanks for replies all.

    I went to school in southwestern US, now I'm living an hours drive from Boston. I have some experience programming, but it's somewhat limited and I was middle of the pack amongst CS majors. I'd honestly love to go back west, I love the desert and I like the culture better.

    I was planning to travel to China through an internship program my school set up, where I'd be basically breaking even financially and be well positioned for a job after the internship. Once that fell through, I was given the option of taking other internships that wouldn't have paid much so I would have had to go into debt. I'm assuming it was a good call not going through with that, although I thought maybe it'd be worth it to get out and have an exposure to a totally different experience and get the chance to transition to life abroad. Anyway I had to make a decision so I think that's off the table now.

    And I'm definitely not a social person that's one of the reasons I felt I should leave in the first place, cause I thought my social life would be really stagnant once I was no longer a student. I guess now I'm thinking if I could get a job in Boston, maybe that'd work out alright even though I'm not crazy about the northeast.

    Sacrilicious on
    Geth
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Thankfully, you have an excellent area to develop skills in, as there are a ton of opportunities around Boston. You may want to start with reaching out to groups like http://bostonfig.com/about/ to work with local developers while you job hunt for portfolio stuff.
    In addition, check out the startup scenes around Boston to see what may give you a good springboard.

    CelestialBadger
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I think you should be able to get a video game job if you work at it, especially in Boston which is quite hot for indie/small company video game dev right now, as schuss says.

    It sounds like you are a generalist. You can do art, you can design, you can code a little. That's useful in a small company where you need to wear many hats. Try and play that up in your resume.

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    I think you should be able to get a video game job if you work at it, especially in Boston which is quite hot for indie/small company video game dev right now, as schuss says.

    It sounds like you are a generalist. You can do art, you can design, you can code a little. That's useful in a small company where you need to wear many hats. Try and play that up in your resume.

    That being said, it's going to be near worthless in a larger company that expects one thing from you really well (and that one thing is almost certainly not going to be "design")

    From what I know secondhand the two major disciplines you get into games in are art and programming, at least unless you want to be support staff like QA, reception, or janitorial, or a businessperson. What you really want, whether you're going to be at a large or small place, is knowledge that looks like a T. You want a little bit of knowledge in a lot of stuff, which as badger said it sounds like you have, that's great. But then you want a lot of knowledge in one specific place: Lots of breadth, and one area with lots of depth.

    If you want that to be programming then it's very important for you to get on that. You will find it extremely challenging to work on games as a developer without very well honed skills. You don't have to be a rock star, but you should be very comfortable taking care of tasks wrt programming/development. If you want that to be art, I'm not really the person to ask :p

    Either way though you should be able to hold yourself together psychologically by spending multiple hours per day working on your portfolio and honing your skills (you can, and perhaps should, have a portfolio not just for art but for programming as well). Spending multiple hours every day working on these things will give you purpose while you continue your job search, and while this sort of purpose might not last forever, it's very productive and, in the best of cases, could give you some impressive output.

    Darkewolfe
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Rend wrote: »
    I think you should be able to get a video game job if you work at it, especially in Boston which is quite hot for indie/small company video game dev right now, as schuss says.

    It sounds like you are a generalist. You can do art, you can design, you can code a little. That's useful in a small company where you need to wear many hats. Try and play that up in your resume.

    That being said, it's going to be near worthless in a larger company that expects one thing from you really well (and that one thing is almost certainly not going to be "design")

    From what I know secondhand the two major disciplines you get into games in are art and programming, at least unless you want to be support staff like QA, reception, or janitorial, or a businessperson. What you really want, whether you're going to be at a large or small place, is knowledge that looks like a T. You want a little bit of knowledge in a lot of stuff, which as badger said it sounds like you have, that's great. But then you want a lot of knowledge in one specific place: Lots of breadth, and one area with lots of depth.

    If you want that to be programming then it's very important for you to get on that. You will find it extremely challenging to work on games as a developer without very well honed skills. You don't have to be a rock star, but you should be very comfortable taking care of tasks wrt programming/development. If you want that to be art, I'm not really the person to ask :p

    Either way though you should be able to hold yourself together psychologically by spending multiple hours per day working on your portfolio and honing your skills (you can, and perhaps should, have a portfolio not just for art but for programming as well). Spending multiple hours every day working on these things will give you purpose while you continue your job search, and while this sort of purpose might not last forever, it's very productive and, in the best of cases, could give you some impressive output.

    I agree with the T shaped being an ideal, but it's not the only ideal on a path. Also, as someone trying to get your first job, the point at which you even obtain the "know a bit of everything" is still a few years off, much less getting a peak that would let you be a T shaped person. Actually working should give you an idea of what's really satisfying.

    Rend
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    No-one is an expert on anything right out of college. What employers really want from new graduates is intelligence, energy, and the willingness to learn.

    Make a demo game for your portfolio. Use something like Unity because you are not really a dedicated coder. Use your own art, use your design skills to come up with something unique and memorable. Set yourself a time limit to finish it - a weekend or a week at the most. You'd be amazed at how far ahead this puts you in the crowd if you can pull out a USB stick at the interview and say "This is what I'm working on at the moment." Make a gameplay video to put in your portfolio because a lot of hirers won't have time to install and play something while trawling through applications.

    Don't move anywhere until you have a job contract signed. Being mobile is important when starting out in the game industry. You will get fired all the time, so live light and don't sign long-term rental contracts.

    schussRendEnc
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Stop trying to be a video game designer and instead try to be something else that composes the skill sets of video game design. For example: developer. Then get a job doing that work. Then keep trying to get into the specific industry you want. (And recognize that since it's video games you probably won't.)

    What is this I don't even.
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Stop trying to be a video game designer and instead try to be something else that composes the skill sets of video game design. For example: developer. Then get a job doing that work. Then keep trying to get into the specific industry you want. (And recognize that since it's video games you probably won't.)

    Eh, it's not as hard as you'd think to get into the games industry, if you have a desired skill (artist or programmer, preferably the latter.) There's a lot of turnover, because pay isn't great and job security is awful. Companies fire at the end of a project, then ramp up the next project, hiring people as they go. So if you are young, enthusiastic, work cheap, and don't have a family to support, they love you.

    Trying to get into the games industry once you are skilled in another related area isn't likely to work out. By that time, you have a mortgage, a family, and a wife who doesn't want you to take a massive paycut to move across the country to a job that might fire you next year. It's best to get this out of your system when you are young and without ties, and have the energy for the late nights. It's a lot of fun. Don't let me put you off :)

    It's only hard to get into games if you are an "ideas guy" without skills, which goes for most people who ask this question, but the OP seems to be actually qualified. I would agree he should avoid the "game designer" job because competition is fierce and wages are appalling. Artists do better, especially ones who can code somewhat.

Sign In or Register to comment.