It’s been two years since I’ve opened my Twitter DMs and invited people to ask graphics related questions and seek advice about how to get into the games industry. I think it’s time for a quick retrospective.
The majority of the questions revolve around how to start learning graphics programming. Nowadays there is a large choice of graphics APIs, graphics frameworks, high quality engines freely available, advanced graphics techniques and the visual bar in modern games is very high. It is understandable that someone trying to learn graphics programming may feel overwhelmed. The many options one has nowadays can also work to their advantage though, I have written some advice on how one can approach learning graphics programming in an older post.
A large percentage of the questions involve applying to the games industry for a (junior) graphics programming role, how to approach it and going over a CV and portfolio. A lot of job descriptions require some experience and this can deter people from applying. While this is true, there are some steps one can take to improve their chances. Also, since it is sometimes hard to judge our experience ourselves and since one can’t really know what a prospective employer will find appealing in them, they should apply anyway and at least get some feedback if unsuccessful. Sometimes people come back to me saying that they have managed to find a job in the industry which, regardless of whether my advice helped or not, makes it all worthwhile!
I’ve also received questions from more experienced people considering a career change or are dealing with some issues at work. It is amazing how people are willing to open up to a stranger (in total confidence as long as it doesn’t involve harm to themselves or to others and illegal activities) and talk personal issues as long as you offer them a listening ear.
The rest of the questions are mostly technical, about specific graphics techniques, raytracing, graphics APIs (well, mostly DirectX as my OpenGL/Vulkan knowledge is practically non-existent). I find this category also very interesting, I always like talking about graphics and some of the questions are good and keep me on my toes.
There is also the odd job offer and spam but I guess this is part of the Internet experience.
In general I find this a very positive experience so far. There is definitely a need for more experienced people to reach out and help people taking the first steps in the industry. I also encourage people, in turn, to reach out to experienced people for advice, the graphics community is great and willing to help.