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Wednesday 21 March 2018

We recently caught up with BSc (Hons) Computer Games (Software Development) student Ethan Bruins and alumni Claire Oliver who both work at leading video game development company Unity Technologies. They told us about their roles, and how their studies at Solent have helped them prepare for a career in the gaming industry.

Ethan Bruins
Technical Evangelist Intern at Unity Technologies
Ethan Bruins - Unity Technologies

How did you secure your work experience at Unity?
I first applied for a software support intern role, and made it to the on-site stage. Fortunately for me I didn't get that role. I later applied for the role I have now via the Unity careers site. First, I had a Skype interview with the department manager who gave me a video test to complete. The final part of the process was an on-site interview with a technical test. 

Tell us about what you are doing day-to-day in your role 
I normally head into work between 10am and 10.30am. I then check my emails to see if there is anything important to attend to. If not, I check my calendar to see which event I’m headed to next. If the event requires a talk, I either start work on, or continue working on the content for it. If I don't have any immediate events, I generally look into something that interests me within Unity. For instance, I've been looking into procedural generation as I want to do my dissertation on this topic. I've been able to incorporate that into my talks which has helped give me more time to research and produce demos.

Responsibility wise, I have been given the opportunity to head to loads of different events around the world (Gamescom, Paris Games Week, Unite Austin, and Global Game Jam). I help out at our booth by giving small talks or demos to people visiting, as well as large talks to audiences of 100+ people. 

What is the biggest thing you’ve learnt on placement so far?
How to present to a crowd and have them interact with your talk. Before joining Unity, I had never really given a talk in front of more than 10 people. But since being at Unity, I’ve been given multiple opportunities to present to crowds.

How have your studies at Solent helped prepare you for this opportunity?
We had a couple of modules where we used Unity for game development and I feel these helped me a lot. I also took part in many game jams at Solent, and I feel that these helped prepare me the most for what I'm doing. I think that being able to make content quickly and efficiently, helped me secure my role.

Claire Oliver
Developer Relations Engineer at Unity Technologies 
Claire Oliver - Unity Technologies

How did university prepare you for your career?
Before uni I had never seen a line of code, let alone written one and I had been out of education for ten years. By the end of the course I was able to write code extremely well and make games of my own. My course gave me the skills I needed to change my career path from hospitality to the games industry. The lecturers also helped me prepare for the interview process - what was going to be expected of me, what a coding test was, how to present myself, what should be on my portfolio and even how to dress for an interview.

Tell us about your career story so far?
After graduating, I worked for the University as a graduate associate for the computer games courses. A few months into working for Solent, a job became available with Unity Technologies. I contacted the recruiter and asked how I could apply. Instead of a formal application, he looked at my LinkedIn profile, my CV and my portfolio, which are all online, and decided that I was perfect for the role. I then had multiple Skype interviews, a programming test and a two hour interview in the office. A week later I was told I had the job.

Tell us about what you are doing now and what it involves
I do a multitude of different things depending on what happens that day. Recently, I’ve found and successfully reproduced and reported a bug to the right people so it can be fixed; supported large, well-known companies with day-to-day account management, bug reporting and troubleshooting. I've also supported small indie companies with services integration, showing them how to make the most money off their games; and helped debug code to highlight errors in companies of varying sizes.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?
Work hard, everything is important, even if it doesn’t seem it at the time. Speak to professionals and use their advice to shape your own work. Build a portfolio and make sure that you believe in yourself.

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