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Head of Games Research Lab

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Mark F

00.01 My name’s Mark F I’m the Head of Games Research Labs and I work for Jagex Limited. Well Games Research Labs is essentially a games studio, it’s a smaller part of Jagex and what we do there is we make games. My job is to manage the production of those games, manage the schedule, the releasing and make sure that good games come out of it at the end. I have the best job in the world with the possible exception of an astronaut. It is easily the best job I have ever had by a wide mile. Its exceptionally good fun.

00.32 My educational career as it were was a little on the wayward side, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I actually won the school year prize of the final year at school for geometrical and engineering drawing. I was actually advised not to do geometrical engineering drawing beyond O-Levels. I think if I look back at anything with regret, that’s the thing I regret the most. That I actually listened to that advice. I could see a potentially different career path that would have blossomed there that was taken away from me because I listened to a piece of bad advice.

01.02 I went to college and studied economics simply because it sounded interesting and I’d shown a bit of aptitude for it. I then went onto get a degree in economics from the dizzy heights of what was Wolverhampton Polytechnic. And really, wandered through the first couple of years of my career going from a temporary job at where my dad worked until I finally saw a position opening for an assistant buyer at the catalogue mail order firm that I worked for, and got that. And that’s where I really found a vocation that really did interest me.

01.37 My mother was a nurse, she worked as a theatre nurse, she spends her life basically saving other peoples. My dad, worked well as I said for Great universal stores, where I got my first job and he worked as a finance director there in charge of consumer insurance basically. And he’s another chap I’m extremely proud of.

02.04 I’ve taken some hits along the way, I got made redundant at one of the jobs, which, just before my second daughter, Stephanie was born. That wasn’t pleasant, that was six months that was in many ways one of the most stressful parts of my life. I tried to stay as active as possible, I went to the job centre. I got myself registered. I basically did almost everything I could really to just find out what was out there, my CV was picked up from a website that I had registered for by a recruiter who put me in contact with Jagex. I had a two day assessment trial here and the offered me the job at the end of the second day.

02.40 What were the critical turning points in my career, a couple of them really. First was getting the first buying job at Great Universal, second was working for a company which I wont tell you about, but it was probably the worst job I’ve ever had, the best thing I ever did there was leave, and getting the job here at Jagex. That’s really, this is the first games production job I’ve had. And this is where I really do think I’ve found, if such a thing exists.

03.10 Hardwork pays is probably the biggest lesson I’ve got I’ve had from my entire career. I actually learnt that from a chap I worked for at a company called QVC, the television shopping people, a very very competent, very hardworking guy by the name of Simon Hole, who was one of the inspirational characters in my life he was an extremely good buyer, tough negotiator and really drilled into his staff the strong work ethic, hard work pays dividend.

03.40 I play lots of board games, I like playing role playing games, I’m part of a cycling club in the village where I live and I play with my daughters a great deal, obviously. That picture was taken about two years ago, so they’re a fair whack older than that now, but I do like that photo, it just shows off the life, the exuberance and the general joy that they bring.

Mark F is the Head of Games Research Labs for Jagex Limited. He says, “Games Research Labs is essentially a games studio… and what we do there is we make games. My job is to manage the production of those games, manage the schedule, the releasing and make sure that good games come out of it at the end. I have the best job in the world with the possible exception of an astronaut… It’s exceptionally good fun!”

More information about Programmers and software development professionals

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

85%  male 
15%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Programmers and software development professionals design, develop, test, implement and maintain software systems in order to meet the specifications and business objectives of the information system; they also design and develop specialist software e.g. for computer games.
Entrants usually possess a degree or equivalent qualification, although entry with other academic qualifications and/or significant relevant experience is possible. There is a variety of vocational, professional and postgraduate qualifications available.
  • 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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