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GCG Feature: ‘No More IT for Me’

In the latest feature for sister educational site GameCareerGuide.com, 25-year veteran of the IT industry Robert Madsen <a href="http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/578/no_more_it_for_me_how_one_tech_.php">shares his story</a> of setting his sights on

Jill Duffy, Blogger

July 29, 2008

3 Min Read

GameCareerGuide.com has just posted an inspiring story of how one 25-year veteran of the IT industry set his sights on getting a job programming video games. Five years later -- and a move across hundreds of miles -- has landed Robert Madsen in the seat of his dream job. Madsen attributes his success in reaching his goal to studying game programming in his own time, networking, writing programs in C++, being willing to take a pay cut and junior job title, and admitting honestly what he could and could not contribute to the game development team. In this excerpt, Madsen shares some of the concrete steps he took to start the ball rolling toward his dream job: “Prior to attending the [Game Career] Seminar, I had already been considering leaving the world of self-employment and moving back into corporate IT, or as my wife put it, ‘Getting a real job!’ But now my resolve was finalized. If I was going to give up my business and get a new job, then that job might as well be in the game industry. At this point I pulled all my resumes from the general job sites that I had registered with and began to solely focus on getting a job in the game industry. I revised my resume, web site, and other materials toward this goal. Although I could not tout any experience in the game industry, I did focus on the skills I had to offer: 25 years of practical problem-solving. Anyone who has worked in IT for as long as I have has picked up some great skills along the way. The ability to analyze, organize, and implement a solution are common to both the business and entertainment worlds. Other skills such as project management, team-building, and communication are also pertinent. Having been self-employed for 15 years meant that I forced myself to develop and hone many of these skills. I was self-motivated, able to take a project from inception to completion, and had experience solving a wide variety of problems in many industries. In some ways, those traits made me uniquely qualified for gaming companies who might be looking for this level of maturity. I began my new focused job search in earnest. Since I was already gainfully employed, I knew that I could take my time searching and applying for very specific jobs that would match my profile. Most of my search was conducted via Gamasutra's job board. … I probably received five to 10 job postings a day. As I browsed through them, I filtered out the postings that I knew would be a waste of time. These were postings that specifically asked for several shipped games or a particular skill, such as 3D graphics programmer or physics programmer -- skills that I knew I had not sufficiently developed. This brings up an important point. Even though I had more than 25 years experience in IT, I knew that I would not be breaking in as a senior-level game programmer. Although it felt a little silly, I applied for junior programmer positions. I also considered tools programming, database, and web development positions. These jobs were all closely related to the skill set that I already possessed.” You can read the rest of Madsen’s story, including how his son almost simultaneously also got a job in the game industry, on GameCareerGuide.com.

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About the Author(s)

Jill Duffy


Jill Duffy is the departments editor at Game Developer magazine. Contact her at [email protected].

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