What Game Developers Look for in a New Graduate

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What Game Developers Look for
in a New Graduate
Interviews and Surveys at One Game
Company
Michael Hewner
[email protected]
Mark Guzdial
[email protected]
“I want to be a game programmer.”
The Game Company I Worked With
• Develops 1st person shooters for mainstream
game consoles
• Has 100+ employees
• Does pretty much everything in-house –
programming, art, testing
What do game companies look for in a
new graduate?
Related Work
• International Game Developers Association
Curriculum framework
• McGill. “Weighted game developer
qualifications for consideration in curriculum
development.” SIGCSE 2009
• Trauth, Farwell, Lee. “The IS expectation gap.”
MIS Quarterly 1993.
Step 1: Interviews to Define
Qualifications
• Focused on what qualifications they looked
for in an incoming college graduate
• Interviewed nine participants: developers,
managers and artists
• In the second rounds of interviews,
participants could see the qualification list
we had created and use that to revise our
wording or generate new ideas
Step 2: Online Survey
• Emailed to whole company
• 32 people responded
• 5 level Likert-type scale
http://bit.ly/sigcse2010
The Scale
Not Useful
Sometimes useful but not required or evaluated in interviews
Important, has an impact on the hiring decision
Very Important, has a large impact on a hiring decision
Essential, would not hire without good skills in this area
Programming
Proficiency with C++
19.4
51.6
29
Knowledge about data structures
3.1
15.6
43.8
37.5
Solving algorithmically challenging problems
31.3
53.1
15.6
Optimization
Proficiency with C++
19.4
51.6
29
Understanding performance; Optimization
25
43.8
18.8
40.6
25
9.4
Using Big O
3.1
25
6.3
Design
Proficiency with C++
19.4
51.6
29
Build a object oriented design for a large system
6.3
37.5
46.9
9.4
Willingness to write a "good enough" solution
12.5
59.4
25
3.1
Writing clean code
15.6
65.6
18.8
Specializations
Proficiency with C++
19.4
51.6
29
Implementation of renderers and graphics pipeline
34.4
46.9
9.4
9.4
Linear Algebra
12.5
40.6
25
21.9
Assembly Language Programming
15.6
62.5
18.8
3.1
People Skills
Proficiency with C++
19.4
51.6
29
Work with others and check your ego at the door
15.6
9.4
75
Communicate to technical and nontechnical people
15.6
31.3
37.4
15.6
Other Stuff
Proficiency with C++
19.4
51.6
29
Enthusiasm for building video games
6.3
28.1
37.5
28.1
Willingness to put in extra hours
37.5
43.8
18.8
A bachelor's degree in computer science
3.1
25
43.8
18.8
9.4
Things to Remember
• This is the opinion of one game company
• Social skills are critical
• Fundamentals of algorithms, design, and C++
programming rated more important than
specialized game-specific topics
Questions?
Summary and slides for this talk at
http://bit.ly/sigcse2010
Michael Hewner
[email protected]
Mark Guzdial
[email protected]
Special thanks to all the game developers who
participated in our interviews and surveys.
Thanks to the CSL Lab for their feedback on the
paper and this talk.
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