Every working day this month, as part of our New Year, New Job 2014 special, Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.
Senior software engineer
Shaun Hewitt, senior software engineer at Engine Room Games, offers his perspective on how to climb to one of the top technical positions in game development.
What is your job role?
My own work is as a generalist programmer. That means I am not focused on any particular sub area and the work that I do can vary from day-to-day. I work on everything. This can be particularly challenging, especially when faced with an area of a system you do not already know. However, this is also what keeps it fresh.
How would someone become a senior software engineer?
Most would probably take the academic approach. Do a relevant degree in, say, Computer Science or Engineering. Then work their way up through the ranks gaining as much experience as they can along the way.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
A levels in Maths or Physics, grades A to C – or equivalent qualifications. Strong skills in C and C++ working on games or middleware, and experience with multiplatform development.
What do you look for when recruiting a new software engineer?
Someone who is genuinely passionate about their work and has great problem-solving skills. It’s not so much about what you know, but how you go about solving a given problem.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
Programmers can move upwards into principal or lead programmer roles, going onwards to technical director and CTO roles.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
For the challenge – it always pushes your skill set to its limits and you’re continually learning something new. And, of course, the fame. Well, not really, but it’s always a good conversational point telling someone, “I make video games”.
This feature is part of New Year, New Job 2014, Develop’s month-long guide to games recruitment. You can read more at www.develop-online.net/jobs2014.