Work Experience?

I'm doing Year 11 and we're required to do a week or two of work experience at any place of our choice. I can program fairly well and hope to one day be a games programmer but obviously all the games developers in Victoria are either too short-handed or don't have the resources to take someone in for work experience so would anyone have a good suggestion as to where I should look?

Thanks.

Sertan's picture

I did work experience at Video Ezy. [:D] But that's only because I knew I'll have industry connections with Design & Tech., so I didn't really need proper work experience. Although some of the work WAS tedious, like ripping off the "New Release" stickers for 50-odd videotapes and listening to the same previews on telly over and over and over and over... *continues mumbling to self*

- Sertan Saral

golem2's picture

I did work experience at Beam Software (now Infogrames Melbourne House)back in 1998. It was by far the best two weeks of my schooling life. They don't take work experience people anymore, but I would suggest emailing all the developers in Melbourne, surely one of them would be willing to take you on. Good luck [:)]

Midnight's picture

Thanks for the help, and that's basically what I did (either called or emailed) everyone listed under Victoria for game developers on this site. They all basically referred me to Infogrames as well but yeah, they said they don't take work experience so I'll probably end up doing it at some shotty computer store. heh.

souri's picture

There's a fair few more Victorian companies listed on the Multimedia Victoria webpage.. Go the the developers page on Sumea and look MMV up.. http://www.sumea.com.au/sdevelopers.asp ... and yeh, it's a shame game companies don't offer work experience..

Pantmonger's picture

Its is a shame but has a lot to do with the illegal nature of such things. To the strict letter of the law, if you are not a non profit community org then you must, by Australian law, pay people for every hour they work for you.

Thats why most companies won't do it. Its also why if you do a two hour trial in a cafe and they don't hire you, you can demand 2 hours worth of pay.

Pantmonger

[img]http://home.iprimus.com.au/evilbunny/Jagged/GamaPantsWeb.gif[/img]

Midnight's picture

Thanks Souri, I'll see what I can find on it. And the minimum for work experience is only $5 a day which goes for a week so it's not really that bad when you think about it. I do understand though, because Publishers often rip the developers off.

Daemin's picture

I got work experience at a computer shop, that was easy and that.

Of all the Games Companies that I've got a reply from all but one do not take work experience, and the one that does cannot at the moment.

I'd say just got for the Computer Shop work experience position.

Zaph's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Midnight

Thanks Souri, I'll see what I can find on it. And the minimum for work experience is only $5 a day which goes for a week so it's not really that bad when you think about it. I do understand though, because Publishers often rip the developers off.

I think you will find it's not the money that stops most companies from taking on Work Experience students. Here are a few reasons I can think of that probably influence a companies decision.
(I'm not saying any particular company has any/all of these reasons, but they probably all contribute to it)

- Lack of a suitable 'mentor' to look after the student (or at least a suitable mentor with enough time to spare)
- Difficulty in finding appropriate work for students to do - most games people would want a student to get to do more than stuffing envelopes or stapling stuff :-) (although I think it is appropriate to demonstrate that it's not all fun & games, if you pardon the pun)
- The payoff is very long term (probably at least 3 years before you'll see that student back looking for a job) so some people don't see it as a benefit (many do, since they know how hard it is to find skilled interested people in Australia)
- Timing... Work experience usually occurs at busy times in a games companies schedule, occurring during one of the 12 months of the year :-) One thing about games companies... there's *always* an important milestone about to happen!

I know that at Infogrames we do offer one four-week internship to the winner of the 3D Animation category at the ACMI Infogrames Diegeis Festival ([url]http://www.acmi.net.au/diegesis/section/play/awards.htm[/url]) which is a special case - and I would consider this to be much more than work experience.

Hmm - those points all seem to make Work Experience sound bad to companies, so I'll throw in a few reasons why I think it's good (I did work experience at high school and was glad I did it - but sadly it never occurred to me to try to get work experience at Beam/Melbourne House at the time - I might have had a totally different life if I had!)

The good points:
- Lets a student see what life is like in the "real world" - i.e. we only play CounterStrike after 6pm, you've got to get to work by 10am, etc :-)
- The more students that realise you can have a career in gaming, the more students that will tailor their Uni/etc towards that career and improve the industry in this country
- 3-4 years between Work Experience and starting real work sounds like a long time, but it's only 2 projects in the companies schedule!
- Work Experience students who work at games companies are the envy of their friends who had to work at the chicken factory for a week :-)
- Greater communication between this generation of games developers and the next generation is the only way for the industry to grow and mature (learn from the previous generations mistakes and successes)

enough of my waffle :-)
zaph

Midnight's picture

Yeah, that's fairly similar to what I thought was the case. I think Blue Tongue was the one who basically told me I wouldn't learn anything useful and there wouldn't be much for me to do. So I guess it's not that much of a surprise, thanks for everyone's help.

Tripitaka's picture

In addition to what Zaph mentioned, confidentiality is a major issue. Even if non-disclosure agreements were signed, it would be too risky to let a stranger in and then discuss commercially sensitive issues. Keep in mind that when a company sends out a press release, it's usually been strategically planned and timed - the people who work for the company usually knew the news in it months or even years beforehand. In some cases, it could only take one tiny piece of information leaking out to bring down a whole development deal. The idea of a competitor sending someone also isn't out of the realms of possibility.

souri's picture

If development companies could prepare some sort of activity sheet for a work experience person that requires little or no 'baby sitting'. Give them a tour of the office, some explanation on what goes on, who does what etc.. Then maybe get them to follow a standard (made up) brief or assignment (like model a certain character etc), which is then discussed and commented on by the Art team at various stages (which I'm sure it won't take toooo much of their time)..
It'll avoid most of the issues mentioned above, and although it may not be as involving as in a real development environment, it's definately much better than nothing.

Tripitaka's picture

I agree entirely - but very few companies indeed would bother to go to the trouble, especially when it doesn't benefit them in any way. If a work experience candidate were really serious about entering the games industry, I'd probably recommend they do a short course at the AIE instead.

shiptu shaboo's picture

There are plenty of highly skilled candidates for jobs within the gaming industry; I can?t see their motivation

nannoo nannoo