Building a portfolio

Hi!

I’m about to enter the final year of my University course, so pretty soon I’ll have to start looking for a job.
With the combined experience I’ve gained from uni and these amazing courses, I feel pretty confident in my abilities and I’m ready to start building a portfolio of work to evidence these skills. To be specific, I mainly want to demonstrate my coding skills in Java/C#/C++ along with Unity game development (I’ll be searching for a programmer position).

However – I have no clue what to make for it! I’m not really sure what employers are looking for when it comes to assessing portfolios and I don’t want to waste any time producing stuff that is going to be overlooked or which doesn’t adequately demonstrate my abilities.

I’m wondering if anyone here has either built a portfolio themselves or perhaps is involved in recruitment at a games company and can give some insight on what would be good to include? Even if neither of those things apply, I’d really love to hear what suggestions everyone here has to offer!

– James

Hi James,

I think it is great that you are so close to completing your degree, and you are definitely asking the right questions about what to put in your portfolio. I have been learning Unity myself recently and am somewhere past beginner but not yet intermediate in those skills, but am working toward a project to put in my portfolio on my way to starting my own gaming company.

I worked for 5 years as a programmer at a game company and then another 5 years at web-based training company making web applications, and I feel I can help a little with direction. Since you are looking at making games, you should make sure to publish a game on a platform that your prospective employers use. I would recommend publishing to both a pc and an android platform. This will require you to write code and design it to work with touch input as well as mouse&keyboard, but your cross platform compatibility should impress them.

As for what type of game, look at the specific games some companies you intend to apply to already have on market. Try to see what they have in common and incorporate those elements into your demo. You don’t need a fully finished game, just a level or two will show your skills. In fact, having a few published demo games that are only a level or two would show off your skills in different areas and increase your marketability.

I hope this input helps you James. Working in the gaming industry has been the most fulfilling employment I ever had, and I hope you find it as rewarding.

-Alectra

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Hi Alectra,

Wow, that’s a lot of really good advice! I’m not sure where I’ll be applying just yet, but I could definitely take some inspiration from my favourite games and replicate some interesting features.
I like the idea of single level demos as well – I’d hoped to make a couple fairly complete games, but doing lots of demos in various styles would definitely be a better way to show off a greater number of skills.

Thank you for all the good advice – you’ve given me lots to think about and I have a much clearer idea of which direction to progress in.

  • James
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