Rare's Burton: Developers Should Stop 'Cherry Picking' Graduates

As part of an in-depth Gamasutra article published today, Rare's Nick Burton has suggested that game developers take a more constructive view on university graduate
As part of an in-depth Gamasutra article published today, Rare's Nick Burton has suggested that game developers take a more constructive view on university graduates, suggesting 'cherry picking' students without nurturing them "often makes us seem aloof and self important". In the intro to his article, senior software engineer Burton points out that the Viva Pinata and Perfect Dark developer "has always targeted new graduates rather than experienced hires, and our current ratio of 90% graduates to 10% experienced staff is proof of this". He then goes on to explain pointedly of Rare's approach in terms of lecturing constructively to students and interacting with them on a longer-term basis: "The long-term view does pay off -- not immediately, but it only takes one or two years to bear some very nice fruit. So why not get out there today, next week, next month? Don't wait until you're ramping up that next project in 18 months' time and then panic. Do some planning now. If you don't, this often leads to what I term "cherry picking" -- which is something we see all too often, especially from other high-profile developers. Developers arriving at the end of the academic year, or at one of the many student game development competitions or conferences, and taking the line "we're great, come and work for us", does our industry a disservice and often makes us seem aloof and self important -- but it's all too common. Typically we see this with the most well respected universities, where many developers are fighting over just a few graduates -- but what about the rest? And what about the problems this causes? Surely every university has some great graduates, even if they're at the bottom of the league tables? Think about it -- if you go to only the best establishments you can get into a bidding war with other developers, which often leads to inflated salaries and inflated graduate egos. Both are quite obviously bad for your team. Which is better, cherry picking and grooming, or nurturing and attracting?" You can now read the full Gamasutra article on the subject, which discusses Rare's relationship with UK-based university students and details its attempts to nurture creative talent in the longer-term.

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