Junior Software Engineer
00:00:02 I am Malcolm B, my job is junior software engineer at Realtime Worlds.
00:00:09 Junior software engineer is sort of the entry level programming position. It usually involves you being assigned to a team working under senior programmers who will sort of delegate tasks for you to do, and you programme the way, finish them, make sure your code is correct and, up to standard.
00:00:26 I did four years at the University of Abertay Dundee where I did the computer games technology course which is a course designed for teaching you how to programme games, the science involved, the maths involved. Basically a collection of skills which you’ll find useful when looking for a job making games.
00:00:43 So I graduated from that, and they do a local competition called Dare To Be Digital, which is, runs over summer, and basically teams of university students either postgraduate or current students get together in teams of five from universities all over the world, the basic premise was to create a prototype, a demo, even a sort of working concept of a game with just the bare minimum of stuff to get your, your idea across.
00:01:09 And it was nine ’til five every day it was like a job, and sometimes nine ’til six and sometimes nine ’til the following morning.
00:01:19 It was actually quite close to how development can be especially towards the end when the big crunch is coming, we’ve got three days, we’ve got to produce a trailer, we’ve got to produce you know concept art for them to hang on posters and we’ve got to make sure the game doesn’t have any bugs. So it really was like a mini example of how a short game development could be like. And that was a brilliant experience.
00:01:39 Our team managed to win and we won a sort of Bafta video games award and got to go to the ceremony in London and it was, it was absolutely great fun and before we actually went to the ceremony I sent my CV off and sort of hoped you know, hope I get a job out of this, and I got a phone call and soon after coming back from London it was oh, you know by the way, your application’s successful you start here, you know welcome aboard.
00:02:05 This is what I want to do, I want to make games for a living, I have a sort of passion for it, I enjoy doing it and now I’m here doing it.
00:02:11 It was quite a shock to sort of arrive and so this is, these are the things that are expected of you and it was like, oh never seen this in my life, I don’t know what this is and we were never taught this in university. Quite a lot of people sort of realise that, I think it’s, it’s kind of, the university course was enough, but there is, there’s always so much more you can learn, and you arrive here and you know it’s, it’s good to have the seniors pass down their experience so that the juniors can learn from it and I think that a lot of that goes on here.
00:02:38 There’s a debate whether if you want to get a job in the games industry, is university useful for certain things, and for some things it is, but, there’ll always be sort of some things that you just, you can only really learn by working here. It’s, it’s one of those catch twenty two situations where like all jobs it’s, you need the experience to really work at the job, but the only way to get the experience is to get the job in the first place.
00:02:59 I took advanced higher maths and some of my friends took it as well, we realised it was very, very difficult, but it was very useful to take because when we got to university and we went to the maths class there, we were you know I was shown things that, well hang on, I’ve done this, so this is going to be really good and it gave me quite a good sort of preparation for moving into university level maths which is, what the games course focused on.
00:03:21 I think I was incredibly lucky I know I have a few friends who’ve sort of, you know they’ve had the same background as me, and they’ve applied for the job but they’ve been put in a sort of lesser position a QA position.
00:03:33 I know there’s a few lucky people who maybe didn’t do as well at university but took a lucky job and they’re now you know like a sort of senior producer for some prestigious company, I’ve, I’ve met them and they get like jetted around to all these you know game conventions and they get to meet all the sort of the big names of the industry and it’s like, I remember, you never turned up for maths class so, skill is some of it.
00:03:54 Luck is, luck of the draw is another you need to know what is a good opportunity and you need to know to take a job opportunity as soon as it comes up because there are a lot of people who want a job in the games industry a lot of students and you need to make sure that your skills are up to scratch and you take that job as soon as you can.
Malcolm B is a Junior Software Engineer at Realtime Worlds. He was part of a winning team in a competition to prototype a game. This was an exercise the summer after he graduated. This made his CV look great and he got offered the job.
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.
Related career stories
From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way