What Makes a Quality Games Programming Graduate?

Microsoft presents the largest opportunity for game developer students.


The choice of development languages and tools including  XNA, C++, DirectX, HTML5, JavaScript, .NET, C# VB, and Visual Studio all available for FREE from DreamSpark.

Our developer resource guidance available from http://dev.windows.com and http://create.msdn.com with FREE app store accounts for students to publish applications and games to the marketplace.

Our array of platforms Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and a huge users base across the Ecosystems.

I am glad to introduce the following Guest blogger - Mark Hope, Mark works for games industry specialist recruiter – Aardvark Swift. He sources graduates for UK games studios and is also responsible for organising the nationwide Search for a Star programming competition

Our clients (primarily Game Studios) look for a range of different skills /experiences from graduates when they leave University. However when they are looking to hire talented staff to make the next AAA Console or Mobile Games some things don’t change……

Studios look for courses with a solid programming and Maths base: Whether this is a traditional Computer Science course or a modern Computer Games Programming course. The traditional language required by studios is C++, so we recommend as many projects and modules using this programming language be completed.

Any experience of professional programming is seen as invaluable, if students have an industry placement it is fantastic, however as these are few and far between we suggest graduates are as active as possible in extra curricular competitions and development. Taking part and being successful in competitions like Search for a Star, Microsoft Imagine Cup, Game Jams or Dare to be Digital shows that graduates are passionate about the industry and students get to showcase their skills. Go on, get involved!

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Any personal and team games development that lead to a release platforms such as Windows Phone, Windows 8  or Xbox shows skills that industry look for. So if students have titles on App Store / Xbox Live Marketplace it shows graduates are:

· Skilful

· Can finish a game

· Can show polish

· Don’t have buggy code

The relative success of the game is not as important, however if it is successful it also shows creativity of the student / team.




An excellent online and free resource for building an online portfolio is the website www.carbonmade.com. We always recommend an online portfolio as the best method of showcasing your games and projects. Make sure you show your best work and make it as easy as possible for Studios to access it.

We recommend each project on your online portfolio should include:

· An overview (what did you contribute?) especially in the case of team projects

· Images of the project in action

· A Video run through (show as much as you can – Menus, Levels, High score tables etc)

· Downloadable content or links (studios like to see your code)


A quality CV is essential. Your CV is one of the most important recruitment tools you have, so spending time getting it right is well worth the effort. It will be initially assessed in a matter of seconds, and if the potential employer doesn’t see what they are looking for almost instantaneously, your details will rapidly hit the “unsuccessful” pile.

Make sure your CV includes:

· Overview Section (a mini intro – cover letters will be separated)

· Skills Section – Outlying any programming languages, tools etc you have used (we find tables are good way to keep organised and neat here)

· The Education section is the most important section of the CV (unless you have games industry experience) Make sure you highlight your course and the marks you have gained, focus on programming and maths modules. A levels are also well thought of, so highlight grades (key advice throughout, hiding marks doesn’t fool anyone!) Make sure GCSE’s are brief and not listed in full.

· Work Experience – This should be after education unless you have games industry experience or internships. Make sure you highlight core communication skills gained from other work experience (team work, time management etc) If you do have Games Industry experience, go to town! Give as much details about the skills you have gained and projects you worked on etc.

· Hobbies and Interest – This section can show your passion for game genre’s and can be tailored to applications. It is also important that you have a life outside of games, so don’t miss these other hobbies and interests out.

Aim for 2 pages but no more than 3 if possible. For more detailed information about CV and Demo Advice take a look at: http://www.aswift.com/html/graduates/index.jsp

A huge thanks to Mark and if you would like to get in contact, with Mark to know more about our services or if you have any questions about the games industry you can contact him via  Email: mark@aswift.com Tel 01709 834 777

Aardvark Swift delivers the following information to students as part of our “Get in the Game” careers talk where they discuss:

· The results from our Annual Studio Skills Survey (where we ask studios what they look for in graduates).

· Helpful advice about what makes a good CV and Portfolio etc.

· Promote upcoming events and competitions that students can enter to improve their experience

· Answer questions relaying our industry knowledge.

· So keep an eye out for Microsoft Graduate Careers and Aardvark Swifts visits to your university.

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