Every month, MCV’s Levelling Up gives you cherry picked advice to help you reach the next level in your career. This month, Kieran Nee, lead client engineer at Mediatonic, explains why being technical is not necessarily what matters most and how you should always be able to justify your code.
What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?
My job role is lead client engineer on Gears Pop, a real-time multiplayer mobile game we’re working on in collaboration with The Coalition and Microsoft. My days change based on where we are in the process of shipping a new update. Generally my day ends up split between time spent with other departments to help work out how we can actually make the game, or working directly on the code itself and reviewing other people’s changes before they make it into the build.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land this job?
In terms of qualifications, I have a degree in Computer Science from St. Andrews and a postgraduate diploma from Abertay (from a long long time ago). When it comes to senior and lead positions though, it’s usually experience that gets you in the door. I spent the first eight years of my career at Lionhead Studios before leaving to co-found my own mobile games company (Bit By Bit Games). After that, I mixed working on our own games with contracting for other companies and start-ups in mobile, PC and VR gaming for a while. That gave me a nice broad range of experience across a variety of titles and served me well when I applied to Mediatonic back in 2016.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a graduate or a triple-A veteran, someone able to talk through their code is generally a sign of a good candidate.”
If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?
Surprisingly, the most important thing isn’t technical – it’s about being someone who will work well with others. We’ve got a great culture at Mediatonic, so hiring friendly, humble people who are passionate about what they do is really important to us.
Next, it’s experience and the ability to communicate that experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re a graduate or a triple-A veteran, someone able to talk through their code and concisely describe their problems in a clear manner is generally a sign of a good candidate.
Last but certainly not least, it is technical knowledge: you need to show me that you can understand core principles of software engineering and will be able to hit the ground running in a Unity project.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
At Mediatonic, we’ve got a fairly clear structure for junior/standard/senior engineering roles and we also have progression within those roles, too. If an engineer is interested in mentoring we can offer that opportunity. Similarly, for those that show interest in management and project planning, we can provide the opportunity to act as a lead of a small sub-team to develop the skills a lead engineer would require. We try not to force those that aren’t interested in managing into management roles though – progression is based on their preferences. It’s important to us to find the best fit possible.
Want to talk about your career and inspire people to follow the same path? Contact Marie Dealessandri at firstname.lastname@example.org