Dec 11, 2014

Tips on Building Your Portfolio For Game Developers

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If you’re looking for work as a game developer, it’s better to show employers what you can do rather than just tell them.

Your background, degree and resume matter — but with a portfolio, you can show your programming skills, your ability to think through problems, and your communication style.

It’s a chance to really wow employers — so you want to make sure you do it right. You don’t need anything fancy — a simple WordPress site will do — and write one blog post or two for each major project you’ve worked on. Here are some tips on how to structure your work:

1. Use tech demos:

Show off your program with a video demo that introduces your audience to the game and the features you’ve built. Don’t worry about whether the artwork isn’t great — in most cases, it won’t matter if you’re applying for a developer role.

2. Show your thought process:

Your final product is important — show employers how you got there. For each demo, John Pile, programmer at AtomJack Games, suggests asking these questions: What was the challenge? What approach did you take to solving it? What would you do differently now? The point is to demonstrate how you solve problems. “As a programmer, you are a problem solver,” says Pile. “That’s what a potential employer will care most about.”

To that effect, you should show your code, and point out any meaningful changes you made to it along the way. You can easily set snippets of your program apart from the rest of your post with the <code> tag in your text editor.

3. Only include your best work:

If it’s not something you would be proud to show another developer you admire, don’t include it. It’s better to have a portfolio of fewer, stronger projects, than a wide array of work that varies in quality. Put your best work first — and keep your demos relevant to the positions you’re considering, so employers can see the value you’d add to their team.

4. Use a (very) simple layout:

Your portfolio doesn’t need to be flashy — it does need to be easy to navigate. Employers spend an estimate of 10 to 30 seconds looking at your portfolio, so keep things simple: use black text on a white background and navigation that’s easy to understand. Don’t distract from the work itself — your screenshots, code or video demos should be the main focus. Finally, remember to make your contact information accessible from any point on your website — so that recruiters know how to reach you.

If you want to build a practical real-world design portfolio, check Springboard out 🙂