Alex J – Jagex
00:00:02 My name is Alex J, my job title is Associate Producer. And essentially that means that from – for a particular team I work with, we write the content for a computer game. So I essentially line manage these guys, solve problems, liaise with all the other departments, and make sure everything runs to schedule. I’ve worked with a number of teams throughout my career. I’ve gone from running a team of soldiers, to running a team of creatives, which offers its own challenges. They don’t take orders, for a start. We can discuss issues with the game, and its design and storylines, and it’s our job, but actually we’d do that anyway, you know, if we weren’t in a sort of work environment we’d talk about the same stuff. So that’s what makes it such fun.
00:00:46 I found the job at Jagex, funnily enough, through a Careers Adviser. I was based at an Army Education Centre and this guy, who I know very well, was – said to me – he knew I was leaving the Army – said Oh I saw an advert in the local paper for a computer games company, why don’t you have a look? I went OK. And I applied for the job, and I got it, and it was the first job I applied for after announcing I was leaving the Army. So it was a pretty easy transition for me.
00:01:11 I actually went to a Catholic school for boys, so it meant I discovered girls late, but it was – I loved it there. Again it was a great environment just for learning, being creative, and I mean I ended up doing English Literature, History, Classics and General Studies as my A-Levels. Became Head Boy as well. Going on from school I then went and studied Film Studies at University. And again that was a passion that I’d fostered at school. And that’s always been my big love, is film studies, fantasy, sci fi genre. Funnily enough I work at a computer games company now. So the Army actually was never a plan. The Army sort of happened later on, after University.
00:01:49 I was working in London at a Movie Stills Archive, but I actually found that there was something lacking from my life. I guess what it was, was a sense to be part of something bigger than myself, to feel that I was involved on the world stage. And I thought well I need to do something about that, and OK, I know, I’ll join the Army. And so I just walked into the Army Recruitment Office one day, and said I’d like to be an Officer please.
00:02:13 My path in the Army actually started out with the Royal Engineers, that was my first sort of half of my Army career. The first few years I was running around building bridges, blowing stuff up. And then after a few years of doing all that good stuff, I thought well again, I think now’s the time to try something different in the Army, see what else I can do. So I then moved to the Education Corps of the Army.
00:02:33 And then the second big point of my life, was actually meeting my future wife. ‘Cause then that kind of drew over a lot more of my career decisions, ‘cause then I had different imperatives. The Army requires certain things of you. It requires you to give up certain levels of freedom. And I guess for me, having reached a certain age, having put roots down, I had to choose between one or the other, and she came first.
00:02:57 I play computer games, I play tabletop war games, and I write as well. And that’s my kind of – my other passion in life, it’s my – it’s my big hobby. Because I’ve actually got – getting my first novel published next month. Trying to get a book published is not an easy thing, and it takes a long, long time for it to happen. And again you persevere, you keep trying, and you keep writing. That’s come to fruition now, which is another fantastic aspect of my life.
00:03:20 Where do I see myself in ten years? Oh my goodness. Hopefully I’ll still be working in the games industry. It’s fantastic, it’s creative, it ticks all the boxes for me. And in a perfect world, I’d also still be writing as well.
00:03:34 All the choices I’ve made have brought me to this point now, and I’m really happy where I am. If I can do it all again, you know, I think I’d probably, at school, would have made more of an effort to learn more, be more involved in film making. But again, no regrets, because I made another choice, and had a fantastic time.
Alex J is an associate producer at Jagex, a computer games company. There have been two big turning points in his life. One was when he was working in a movie stills archive, and he realised he wanted to do something more significant on the world stage. So he joined the Royal Engineers and spent a few years “running around building bridges, blowing stuff up.” His second turning point was meeting his future wife. “The Army requires certain things of you. It requires you to give up certain levels of freedom. And I guess for me, having reached a certain age, having put roots down, I had to choose between one or the other, and she came first.” So he left the army and got a job with Jagex. He plans to stay in the computer games industry now.
More information about Programmers and software development professionals
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Examines existing software and determines requirements for new/modified systems in the light of business needs;
- Undertakes feasibility study to design software solutions;
- Writes and codes individual programs according to specifications;
- Develops user interfaces;
- Tests and corrects software programs;
- Writes code for specialist programming for computer games, (for example, artificial intelligence, 3D engine development);
- Implements and evaluates the software;
- Plans and maintains database structures;
- Writes operational documentation and provides subsequent support and training for users.
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