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So, I've been hired on as an entry level game developer with little/no experience working with any API other than Win32. This will be an overall learning experience for me as a person and I have gone over this multiple times with the boss and he has no problem with my inexperience. He says that if I'm not worth it now, I will be later. This gives me confidence, but I still feel that I should know a lot more before tackling this position. I would be stupid to pass it up. This is one of my favorite places to come for advice and help and have tried to just accept this, but it just keeps bothering that I can't go in knowing how to at least do the basics. I want to give the company its money's worth. Ya know?

My questions are: What should I expect from the other programmers in this project (In terms of patience with me and working together, and being taught)? Is this normal? Any other advice on this sort of thing would be wonderful. I just want to feel comfortable with it.

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marked as duplicate by MichaelT, gnat, ChrisF May 14 '13 at 7:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
learn to fetch coffee, read code, and listen intently ;-) –  Steven A. Lowe Jan 19 '11 at 4:32
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@Mr. Geneth - If you know C++ you should be fine. If you are able to quickly adapt, and learn something new, you should be fine. As a new employee you are expected to be willing to learn and more importantly take advice from co-workers. –  Ramhound Mar 17 '11 at 12:01
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8 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

(Not sure what the protocol for this is: I just replied on the stackoverflow post. Copying and pasting here for now, and I'll delete one if anybody objects)

The fact that you're nervous is good :) If you were going in expecting to be writing a brand new, full optimized multithreaded physics system, you'd be in for a lot of disappointment (and they'd be in for a buggy system).

When you first get there, it might take a day or two to get your compute set up, get all the software installed, check out all the game code and assets from source control, and build and run on your target platform.

Your boss likely has a plan to get you up to speed on an existing component of the game; you'll probably start out with fixing a few existing bugs from the bug database to get the feel for the engine and the workflow. Someone (either your boss, or more likely another programmer on the team) should be keeping an eye on you, reading over your code changes before they get checked in, answering questions that you have, and giving hints on where to look in the code. As you get more experienced with the system, you might start doing more advanced stuff like adding a new feature to part of the engine.

As for my personal experience starting in games: when I started, I inherited the build system from another programmer that was sick of it - making sure that the code compiled every night on all platforms (Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube at the time) and could load all game levels (nowadays this is probably automated with e.g. CruiseControl). I eventually moved from that onto the menu system for the game, working with an artist to hook the game logic with the UI elements. I eventually left the company after burnout from E3 crunch time and joined the middleware company where I still work today.

One last thing: you said in another comment that you "don't want to be the reason they fail". That's impossible. If by some chance the game failed because of something you were working on, it will be your boss's fault for assigning you to something so critical when you're so inexperienced, and for not monitoring you on it.

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I am at ease a little more now, I have no local in-the-field programmers to talk to. So your advice is greatly appreciated, and I will take it to heart. –  user13666 Jan 20 '11 at 4:25
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If you have been hired with very little or no experience I would expect a good deal of patience and help from the current development team in getting you situated. Depending on how quickly you learn, I would expect it to take 2-3 months before you start doing things independently.

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Aye, that would be absolutely wonderful. This is what I hope for. This company has not yet produced a game and this will be their first, which is a worry that I have (I don't want to be the reason they fail. Not to mention this is a big move for me, moving away from home for the first time.). While I can understand logic and object oriented programming pretty well, I have been programming in my spare time trying to get at least acquainted with the whole thing I still feel like I'm in way over my head. Thank you for your advice, I will try my hardest day in and day out. –  user13666 Jan 19 '11 at 3:46
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This was the bottom line at a game company I worked at as a Jr. Developer.
I hope this helps.

Hang with the pack
I would drink MountainDew with them, and talk about the games they talk about. If they do all nighters, hang with them, even if you have nothing to do. Game companies can be unstructured, and being liked is important.

Language Agnosticism
Make sure you have a knowledge of the main IDE and language used at your company. You need to know what your team is doing, even if your specialized. This makes you more productive and not an outsider.

Team Player
All I'm saying is be a good team player.

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isn't it a bit sad? –  Nikko Jul 10 '12 at 8:36
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What language are you using? How much experience have you got generally?

In short, I wouldn't worry. If you've been honest and stated your experience level and concerns with your boss then he won't be expecting killer code produced from day 1. He'll most likely have been impressed with your overall attitude and thus decided you'd be a good investment to train up. If I was presented with someone experienced but hugely overconfident and not willing to accept advise, and someone with little experience but very eager to learn and slot into things as soon as possible then I'd hire the latter without question.

Relax :-)

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I have an AAS in Computer Science, primary language is C++. Experience wise, some XNA, VC++, heavy C++ console based. This company has not yet produced a game and this will be their first, which is a worry that I have (I don't want to be the reason they fail. Not to mention this is a big move for me, moving away from home for the first time.). While I can understand logic and object oriented programming pretty well, I have been programming in my spare time trying to get at least acquainted with the whole thing I still feel like I'm in way over my head. Thank you for your advice berry! –  Mr. Geneth Jan 19 '11 at 2:18
    
No worries. It sounds like you're definitely not coming in completely empty handed, and your attitude definitely looks great. It can often feel daunting starting a new job and that everything is over your head, but you'll probably be surprised just how quickly you get into things! –  berry120 Jan 19 '11 at 14:41
    
I wonder if you are more nervous about moving away from home and being on your own than failing in your new job? –  k rey Jan 19 '11 at 16:16
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I can relate to your situation in a way. This past summer, I was given the opportunity to take on a temporary position at a global e-commerce company in the US (I live in Canada)

Anyways, despite having done (as they described) very well on their rudimentary testing, I was very nervous having learned more and more details of what the position entailed. Since the company focused on platform agnostic integrations, I felt I was highly under-qualified, as my language skill-set is not very broad.

However, I arrived, they welcomed me, and it took at least a week before my system was set up to do any actual work. Once I got my feet wet, I surprised myself (and them I suppose) with my level of understanding. While there was a steep learning curve, my co-workers assisted me when necessary, and did so with enthusiasm. Nearing the end of my brief stay, the tables had nearly turned, and my co-workers felt confident enough in my skills that they would approach me for assistance.

I found as long as you remain open to criticism, and welcome any learning opportunity, even on topics in which you feel confident already, your colleagues will be glad to help you, knowing that you too will become a wealth of resources.

Everyone is happier when there are more brains to pick.

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I agree with Josh and Celion. To add on to what Celion said, I would also expect them to do a peer review of your code and have you ask them for tips on how to improve your code or other areas of your program. As far as helping you, they don't really want to sit there and have to babysit you the whole time but at the same time they don't want you be afraid to ask for help. When you encounter a problem try taking a little bit of time and see if you can solve it yourself before asking another member for help even if it is doing a Google search or looking over product documentation.

Good luck with your job and don't forget about us PC gamers if you make something really cool.

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Aye, thank you as well. I will probably be working after hours and sleeping on my desk. –  user13666 Jan 20 '11 at 4:30
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What should I expect from the other programmers in this project (In terms of patience with me and working together, and being taught)?

Try to be a good listener. Try to be polite and friendly with others. Respect others and their time too. Be in time and Deliver in time.

Is this normal? Any other advice on this sort of thing would be wonderful. I just want to feel comfortable with it.

Always remember one thing, the one which comes with ease goes with ease. Without Hardwork you won't get and Without Hardwork what you get won't last long.

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As Josh said you Patience will determine your future. Be nice to the seniors and I am sure you will find some seniors who will help you to gain knowledge (By Sharing their experience).
IMHO you can learn better in a small organization compared to a big fish.

Be an Enthusiast, this will help to find your unique position.As your boss has already complemented you it will be better to stop worrying and start acting.
Good Luck!

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