Develop speaks to the studio’s head of programming David Smethurst to find out what it takes

Getting a job at Team17

Team17 is one of the oldest names on the UK development scene. 

Famous for its Worms series, the firm’s new direction is the incubation, co-development and publishing of indie titles, including The Escapists, which launched in February. 

But the company is still working on internal projects, and in fact is looking for a number of staff to help develop new titles. 

“We have a number of openings at the moment,” says Team 17’s head of programming David Smethurst. “We have a senior programmer role, a programmer and a programmer intern at the moment. So the senior developer, we’re looking for them to come in and lead a team. They are technical and team leads. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be leading a team full-time. So for instance we have two projects here that have two seniors – one is a lead and one is a technical role or doing work.”

But what is the publisher looking for in these new developers?

“We’re looking for people who are interested in making games – we want people to be able to provide feedback on games as they make them,” Smethurst says. “We’re looking for problem solvers, not people who just write code by rote. We’re not looking for people who are going to make it complicated – we like to keep it simple.”

And when you reach the interview stage at Team17, it’s more a case of being realistic rather bragging.

“Just be passionate and be yourself,” Smethurst explains. “Don’t be trying to impress too much because we can see through that sometimes. A lot of people try to over-impress, and we’re thinking: ‘Back up, what do you want from this?’

“Just make sure you know what your CV is. We’ve had people who will talk through their CV and get muddled, forgetting where and whenthey worked at places. They just haven’t studied up on their CV recently. 

“The core skills we look for are problem solving and C++. Everything else revolves around that, even if we’re doing work using Unity, for example. A lot of it is contingent on the core knowledge. Don’t try to be egotistical. There’s no I in team, as the saying goes. We like to work with people who like working on a team, not trying to do something on their own and trying to attain massive credit.”

As mentioned earlier, Team17 is partially focused on helping incubate and co-develop indie titles now. And in time, Smethurst says it will be looking to expand its team further. 

“We are taking on more and more projects at the moment, so yes we will have to ramp up our staff over time,” he concludes. “That might occur quite soon.”

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