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GCG Feature: Rare's Nick Burton on Getting Into Programming

Nick Burton, a senior software engineer at Rare, wants young and talented programming students to have the best shot they can have at getting into the game development industry. He spoke recently at the Game Career Fair in London; sister web site
Nick Burton, a senior software engineer at Rare, wants young and talented programming students to have the best shot they can have at getting into the game development industry. He spoke recently at the Game Career Fair in London in late October to give advice to students and young people who have their hearts set on breaking into a career in video game programming. Sister web site GameCareerGuide.com, which specializes in educating students and other people who want to work in game development about the industry, covered the event and has posted a story that shares Burton’s key recommendations. This excerpt shares some of the more detailed examples of what aspiring programmers should do or know: “Burton also came up with a list of skills that aren't core skills, meaning they are not necessary, but are helpful if you happen to have them. His list includes: C# or Java, which simply are not dominant programming languages in game development; Visual Studio, GCC, or XNA; program management, which is ‘nice to know, but as soon as you get into the industry, you will know how that works’; console experience (‘I see time and time and time again students clamoring to get experience on a particular console ... It doesn't matter at all. Everything I need to know to be a games programmer I can do on this £500 laptop right here’); 3D modeling on 3ds Max or Maya. These things will look great on a resume or CV, but they are not the core skills. ‘You need to target where you spend your time,’ says Burton. ‘One thing you may notice is completely missing that some of the universities have started to bang on about is soft skills,’ says Burton, referring to non-technical skills such as honesty, interpersonal skills, time management, written and verbal communication, humility, team work or collaboration, flexibility, respect, and leadership. There are many people on a team, and developers typically spend between one and three years with them working on a project, often more than 40 hours per week. ‘People skills become as important as your technical skills,’ he says. "It's difficult to say that in a CV,’ but an applicant should stress these points using clear examples and anecdotes in an interview.” You can now read the full article on GameCareerGuide.com. For more advice about breaking into other jobs in the game development industry, visit GameCareerGuide.com's Getting Started page.

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