Here are the questions you asked our panel of people who work in the games industry and app development.
Damien Murphy (SAP): My careers guidance counsellor in secondary school told me after I did some DATS tests that I should pursue a career in computer programming, which was quite accurate as it turned out. I also took several CTYI courses from when I was 11 up to 15 years old.
I studied subjects there such as Economics, Game Theory, Probability and Chaos Theory and Advanced Mathematics. It is always difficult to choose the right college course and even I changed my CAO choice from European Business and French to Computer Applications at the last moment, thanks to a chat I had with my brother.
Mark Lambe: Starting a games development company is relatively cheap, depending on your focus. Creating mobile games is somewhat inexpensive. The main costs arrive when it comes to user acquisition and marketing the games. Selling games is significantly harder than making them.
Damien Murphy: Hi Niall, I proactively took it upon myself to do a J2ME mobile phone game in 2006 for my third-year project in college and also to do a PDA application for my fourth-year project.
I put a lot of work into my project work, sometimes doing 48-hour programming sessions at a time, but I loved doing it which is why I did it. It did not really cost me any money to get into, although buying devices can sometimes be expensive.
Josh Holmes (Microsoft): I loved Drama and English and went to study that in college. When I left college I needed a job that paid real money so I was fortunate at the time that a company was hiring people where they would train them to be computer programmers, so that was my path into this industry.
Since then I ran my own company, worked as a consultant along with founding and ran many technology user group organisations, all community based. I built a name for myself and then Microsoft came knocking on the door.
So not the traditional route into this industry was not the way I did it. But two things really helped me: drama gave me the confidence to be in front and engage an audience, matching that with my passion for technology pretty much put me working in the perfect role for my skill set.
Strong listening skills, candidates who listen to my advice and take it onboard and action it. For instance if I ask candidates to update their CV or come in to meet with me and they do, I will be willing to help them out more and do my very best to secure them a job.
Career motivated and willing to learn, candidates who are really passionate about their career and the course they have studied will always do well.
When candidates are passionate about their area of expertise they will come across as motivated and hard working. Also if a candidate is passionate and lacks experience they are still more likely to get the job.
Damien Murphy: Hi David, a big thing that is looked for when recruiting is an interest in the area. People who keep up to date with new developments or take part in communities etc are considered self-learners, which is a valuable trait to have and is very desirable.
When a company hires someone they want someone who is personable and easy to work with. I have seen many qualified people get turned down for jobs due to them coming across as difficult/arrogant.
Mark Lambe: A personality that will fit into the team – hiring someone who’s academically excellent is useless if they ultimately slow down the team by not working well with others. Passion is also great.