Get That Job: How to be a programmer

Bossa’s Matthew Atkins offers advice on how you can bag that career leap
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What is your job role?
I am a programmer at Bossa in London.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
A degree in a technical field will help your chances of landing your first programming job in the industry. But by far the most important thing is to have well developed coding and games development skills that you can demonstrate. If you don’t know a programming language you’ll have to learn one from a textbook or a course. Preferably one that is commonly used in games such as C++ or C#. You will have to learn other languages throughout your career but just learn one well first, the others will come easier.

How would someone come to be in your position?
You have to love writing code and solving problems so much that you will happily spend most of your free time doing just that. This is how you get proficient. If it feels like work, that is a problem because you will burn yourself out and lose interest. You have to enjoy failing as much as succeeding so that you keep moving forward no matter what happens.

You’ll also benefit greatly from keeping up-to-date with what engines and tools are widely used by studios today. So you have to research actively and attend events where you can ask other developers about the tools they use. Events are not only a source of practical knowledge but also a chance to network, which often leads to work opportunities.

If you were interviewing someone, what do you look for?
I’d look for passion, willingness to learn and for examples of their work that impress me. If they’re a graduate
I’d want to see that they have made things in their own time that are playable and commendable.

What opportunities are there for career progression?
As a technical person there’s often opportunities to get hands-on with brand new tech that the public will not even see for months or years. When these opportunities come along you have to make the most of them because you never know where it might lead you. The past five years has seen many studios turn to mobile gaming, and now many are turning to VR. What will be next

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