Show your work
Employers want to see examples of how you design games and other interactive media projects, so it's important to build up an online portfolio of your work. Create working demos of examples of game programming you've created and if you are also interested in design work, think about creating an online portfolio where people can see what you can do.
Get work experience
Work experience will provide a massive boost to your employability when you graduate as well as giving you a real insight into what to expect from different areas of work and industries. You will develop your confidence and professional skills and industry contracts.
You may need to approach smaller games developers or publishers directly with a CV to negotiate short periods of work experience and if you are unable to secure games development experience it is worth exploring the wider IT sector for other opportunities which are likely to be more numerous and just as useful to you in the longer-term.
All work experience is beneficial whether a placement, part-time to work to support yourself at University or volunteering. We can help you find part-time work while you are at University and the University of Plymouth Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the not-for-profit sector.
Get involved with Hackathons and Game Jams
Major League Hacking describes a hackathon an “invention marathon;” teams design and code a prototype of an application that solves a problem. Participants range from software developers, designers, and non-technical people. Anyone with an interest in technology attends a hackathon to learn, build and share their creations over the course of a weekend in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Games Jams also bring people together over a period of 24 or 48 hours with the primary goal of creating a game. You can practice your programming, meet people with similar interests and industry professionals which can help develop useful contacts for the future.
Stay in touch with people
While competitive, the Games industry is very collaborative. It’s well worth getting involved with the professional bodies and associations to keep abreast of what’s taking place. TIGA is the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry and The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Grads in Games
are a lively, friendly and proactive community of Games industry professionals who want to help students achieve their aspirations. They offer numerous career information and development events such as their week-long virtual conference for students with speakers some of the biggest studios as well as smaller start-ups. They are well worth checking out and are easy to be a part of by simply following on social media if you prefer.
Clubs and societies
Involvement with clubs and societies shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities to develop and try new experiences. These activities also help to improve teamwork, communication and leadership skills. Committee members develop organisational and diplomacy skills having gained experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.
You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to computing and games development such as CompSoc, PlymGamesDev, GamesSociety or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.
Tutor and academic support
Your tutors and other academic staff will also support your career development, having had experience in industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. They will also be writing references for you when you graduate so establishing a positive relationship with them is invaluable.