Go to GDC—Free! - Game Developing

A great place to meet game developers is at the Game Developers Conference held in the spring in San Jose. It is a little-known factoid that you can be a volunteer at the conference working several hours each day in exchange for a full pass to the event. This will save you about a thousand bucks!

At GDC there are two prime avenues for networking for a job in the industry; the most straightforward is of course the job fair. Here you will find dozens of companies looking for new people. Your resume will go into the pile, and if you wrote a good one, maybe you will get a call back. The problem with this approach is that your resume will go to the HR department and sit for a while, gathering dust.

The better way to network for a job is to actually go up and speak to developers. After attending one of the conference sessions go up to the speaker and ask a good question and then follow up with an introduction about yourself and state that you are looking to break in and would like some advice on where to start. If they know of a job opening, they will steer you there more quickly than your resume will in the HR department. The reason is simple: They will see you standing there and will be able to look you in the eye to gauge your determination and sincerity. Also, rank-and-file developers usually know of job openings well before HR does. The truth is that team members, recalling that a buddy of theirs over at this other game shop is wrapping up his project and is looking for a change, fill the vast majority of positions in the game industry. In other words, I believe 90+ percent of jobs in the industry are filled by word-ofmouth and shuffling about. The HR department only gets a job description if the company has been unable to fill a position through this word-of-mouth method. Also, it takes guts to walk right up to someone and ask for a job, and we developers like to find people with guts.

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