The mobile gaming boom has opened up fresh opportunities for developers, but it has also led them to change the way they should present their own experience when applying for a job in the sector.
“Designers with data skills are becoming the real force to be reckoned with,” says Tom Murphy, head of human resources at Australian studio Halfbrick. “They can assess user behaviour in games to identify unused or clunky areas of the UI, identify the elements of a game that users want to engage with, and make design decisions around them.
“There has been a nice upturn in multi-skilled operators. It’s always great to see a coder who can flesh out their vision with appealing graphics, or an artist who weighs in on design decisions from a visually aesthetic point of view rather than a systemic one.“
Mobile developers are expected to be able to work on more diverse tasks than ‘traditional’ developers, confirms OPM’s PR and marketing manager Nathan Adcock.
“A generalist skillset is much more desirable and useful to a mobile studio when compared to someone who has become an expert in one defined area,” he explains. “Because of this we find that a lot of people who work in the console space do not want to move too far away from their specific discipline.
“A real benefit for working in the mobile space is the variety in projects and the chance to develop untapped genres. People in the mobile space do not tend to get stuck working on the same project for five years in a huge team.”
Mobile herefore offers devs an opportunity to do their job differently.
“We’re definitely seeing the wish lists of lots of mobile devs focusing on a handful of key areas,” states Genie Todd, marketing executive at Aardvark Swift. “Server programmers with previous online/mobile experience and strong Java and Scala skills, game designers with strong game economy, monetisation and retention experience, and finally experienced UI/UX Artists with awesome portfolios and experience in the mobile market.”
Deirdre McCann, senior director of recruiting at King, confirms certain skills are sought more than others.
“Like most organisations, we have to work very hard to find great C++ and Java developers. This challenge is made more difficult as we also look for industry experience too.
“We have seen a huge increase in demand for data scientists around the globe. We are lucky in that we offer a great proposition for people to join King due to the amount of data we handle – five petabytes!”
Adcock concludes: “In general mobile developers work in smaller teams and have much more influence on the games they are making. We’ve found that some of the more experienced developers rediscover why they wanted to make games in the first place."