How Many Applicants Are "Completely Unprepared" for a Job at a Game Studio?

Ubisoft Annecy's lead prop artist Joe Hobbs has shared the results of the poll showing that the vast majority of junior applications come from graduates who are "completely unprepared" to work at a game studio.

Ubisoft Annecy's lead prop artist Joe Hobbs has recently conducted an interesting "survey" among his Twitter followers asking them to share what percentage of graduates who apply for a job at their studios are, in fact, "completely unprepared" to work at a studio.

Hobbs explained that he had had a chat with some educators which made him curious about other game dev managers' experience with looking at applicants' portfolios.

While Hobbs hasn't shared his own experience, according to the results of the poll he published, most of his audience believes that approximately 75% of all junior applications come from graduates who are totally inexperienced. A number of managers also replied that, in their opinion, this share reaches about 90%.

"I would say something between 75% and 90%. Application on Character Artist job ranging from only only drawings???, to only ZBrush sculpt to some few candidates showing actually full character pipeline... Of those only 2-3 at proper level," commented Senior Character Artist at Behaviour Interactive Sophie-Amélie Martel.

Many of those game dev managers who left comments on Hobbs' tweet also noted that this share can easily reach 90% and more.

"During our last hiring round, I reviewed nearly 500 applications, most of which were juniors, and I'd say 4 stood out as being very attractive and prepared," 3D Lead at Vertex Solutions Jordan Cain shared.

    

"I voted 90% because, like, 99 was not there," Lead Game and Narrative Designer at Antimatter Games joked.

A number of developers complained about the poor quality of the majority of applicants' portfolios and a lack of sufficient skill level that would make studios hire them. Some also drew attention to the fact that, probably, it is educators who do not set the right expectations for their students or that the education system doesn’t prepare students for real-world conditions.

It is worth noting that prior to teams' managers, in bigger companies, applications first go through companies' HR departments that prescreen them, so, as noted by Alexis Argyriou, COO of Stealth Startup who previously worked at Ubisoft, managers basically only get to see "the top of the crop." So the share of junior applications of poor quality is probably even higher than the 75% that the majority of Hobbs' respondents cited.

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Comments 11

  • Anonymous user

    Thought I'd leave a comment that wasn't spam.
    As someone who has wanted to get into the gaming industry, I know I had difficulty finding resources to prepare the right kind of portfolio for jobs I qualified for.
    As a former teacher, I found a lot of my students were sure they would be able to get into the industry without putting in the proper amount of effort during and outside of class.

    5

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    And to add to my last comment, if you want to have a better shot at getting in, try smaller studios, indie and AA. There's a higher probability you'll be given a chance even if you don't have years of experience, and the working conditions will most likely be better. Look for studios with good track records with strict working hours, worker councils and unions, if possible. That way you'll avoid some of the inhuman shit that happens at huge game companies. The pay might be worse, but if you're applying as a junior game artist then you should be prepared for thaf no matter where you go.

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    I'm not sure what the article is trying to imply, especially when it's all based on just one twitter poll, but this is the case for all creative industries.

    Many people want to work a creative job, but its by necessity a small industry. Few people are needed, many people are looking, and the standards are high, sometimes elitist. Add to that the inherently abstract and subjevtive qualities for what makes a good artist, and you simply have to manage your expectations. It's not as secure and straightforward as learning to be a car mechanic and then getting the car mechanic job. Trying to get into a creative industry as an artist is always somewhat of a gamble.

    And as others have mentioned, when it comes to creative jobs in game dev, there are very few roads for an education which properly prepares you. As a result, people are self-taught. And then you end up with applicants that are versed with their hard skills but lack any understanding of the soft skills in production, managment and team work.
    I got lucky because there is a university program for Gamedev in Germany which tries to emulate game development processes, pipelines and team structures, but even then getting a job is not guaranteed.

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Kind of difficult when you can't get real professional experience without getting a job in the industry but you also can't get a job in the industry without professional experience?! I'd love to know what people are actually supposed to do at this point, since a glowing personal portfolio doesn't equate to "professional experience".

    1

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    As a manager in a non gaming industry, yet highly technical job, the amount is the same.

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Not impressed by your 'Captain Obvious' research results. You do understand that 99% of all entry level candidates - are just that, candidates, looking to get a foot in the door?

    This is the case in all enterprise. Management at the 'gaming factories' like the names mentioned are responsible for establishing a pathway for those with ' potential ' ( determined through a credible interview process) to become the finished artists - that you think are going to magically appear on your firm's doorstep. /:

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    As a producer who has worked for Ubisoft managing art teams, the attitude above is the reason Ubisoft sometimes go understaffed for over a year for certain positions.

    The exception of Jnr positions is way to high. In all other industries a Jnr is usually someone who is a graduate and they join with the understanding of the company that they are talented and will need additional training to be prepared for the job. Bare in mind Jnr positions at Ubisoft often pay less than graduate positions in other industries.

    In my time managing the art teams at the ubi studio I was at, we made an effort to lower the expectations of Jnr entrants. Don't get me wrong this comes at a cost, to the time of staff and budget of the project.

    A lot of the skills aforementioned are technical skills, which with the right training can be learned.

    However was 90% of games studios don't mention in interviews, that the graduate definitely is never prepared for is: Crunch, huge amounts of stress and pressure because of the poor planning of executive producers and pressure from stakeholders to release a AAA game in the shortest amount of time possible, harassment, huge ego's and poor pay.

    When we are wondering why there is a hiring shortage in the games industry, why we still see lack of diversity, maybe we should be looking inward at our hiring expectations and structures. Rather than complaining about graduates who have accumulated student debt and spent 3 years+ getting a degree which some people clearly account to nothing.

    4

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    As an industry Artist who migrated into the academic system with a good track record of student employment, I'd say 90-95% of students are not ready.

    I wouldn't pin this to the delivery of the content as I trialled several methods and even delivered the same material to those years too. It is and will always be down to the individual to adapt the information towards a role they aspire to.

    I'd be inclined to suggest that 50-60% of students are more interested in playing video games than making them on these courses.

    Entitlement is the biggest issue, as the assumption is, "if I have a degree in (said field) I am guaranteed a job" - a preconception that is most likely fed from their parents. This in turn sets a poor mind set entering the academic system.

    To further reinforce my point, students are unaware of how the academic system works and assume they are being taught "how to...." - this is not how higher education works.

    Higher education is about deep thinking, reflection and actioning on information. All are extremely employable traits - It is not school 2.0.

    If I had a penny eveytime I heard student say they learn more stuff on YouTube than in class, I'd be a wealthy individual. I alway encouraged this type of learning alongside the delivery of content because why pay your students fee for a regurgitation of a YouTube video? What a waste of your time and money. As academics we are trying encourage students to question theories and formulate their own workflows and style - the very things that make you stand out during the hiring process. Most studios disregard content in portfolios that are from YouTube videos as it only demonstrates you are able to follow instructions.

    I am now working in the industry once again and the points I make are in now way meant to ridicule the academic system, students or ignore the difficulties of landing a job.

    I'm trying to shine the light on this point. The academic system isn't great but it buys you time to develop yourself and aims to support you and your interests. Regardless of whether you know what you want to do or not, if you have a drive to learn and a fire in your belly - you will succeed in any field you aim for.

    -2

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    i have to disagree, i seen some news of former clasmates that enter game development without any proper training and people not trained properly but still get into game development, while people with alot of interest, get rejected, ignore or push aside because they are not qualified.

    while people who make trouble to get training and put themselves through training and time get rejected all because "no relevant experience" or "no experience" nonsense.

    1

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • thewarphole

    Thanks for the RSD :)

    -1

    thewarphole

    ·a month ago·

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