I fly out to San Francisco tomorrow for the 2011 Game Developer Conference. I was awarded the Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship for AI Development this year and so am lucky enough to be able to attend the conference. Attending the GDC has been a dream of mine and now that I’m so close to realizing it, it’s made me start thinking about the rest of my life.
I’ve kinda been putting off these thoughts for a while since the whole topic is rather frightening. I’ve been burying myself in my work and kinda just avoided it but given the large amount of downtime I’ve had this week, its hard not to think about it.
So what am I blabbering on about? Well, at the end of June I need to start my adult life. I am nearly done with my masters thesis and my contract with the university expires then. Those were the last ties I had to South Africa and I am now finally free to emigrate and look at starting a career and a life somewhere. So basically, at the end of June, I’m unemployed and mobile. This means that I have a couple of HUGE LIFE CHANGING decisions to make. And well, I’m honestly terrified.
Now dont get me wrong finding a job in SA wont be a problem, hell I could probably be driving a fancy ass BMW in a year or two but it will be through a job that I know I’m not going to enjoy. I want to make games, I want to be challenged, to learn, to improve my programming skills. I dont really care about money or having a fancy car or living in a huge house, I just want a job that I will enjoy! Game development will enable me to do all that and sooooo much more.
This opportunity to attend the GDC is a huge one and if I’m lucky I can impress someone enough to offer me a job. I just need that first foot in the door. Unfortunately I’m a programmer meaning I’m not exactly the world’s most charming, confident and outspoken person. To add to the generalization: I’m also shy and a bit awkward around strangers. The thought of walking up to a stranger (probably some VIP) and giving them a confident 1 minute elevator speech about myself scares the hell out of me BUT its something I have to do!! Never mind just do it, I need to do it well!!
As I said I’m a programmer, my skillset and interests mean that I’m looking for any AI, engine, rendering programmer positions. I like getting my hands dirty with low level technical stuff. I’m hoping that I can meet someone at the conference that I can impress enough and that will give me a shot! AI and graphics ar my main interests and any job involving either of them will make me insanely happy! In addition to GDC, I’m going to start applying to game companies immediately when I return home and see what happens.
So what if I dont get a game industry job offer, well staying in SA is not really much of an option but rather a final resort. If I cant find a job in game development then I will look at the military sector, and try get some sort of defense contractor position doing robotic AI or missile guidance or something like that. Maybe even simulation software since that’s reasonably close to game dev and I might even get the chance to do some graphics programming :).
To be honest, the more I think about it, the location doesnt really matter to me as long as I’m doing something I love. At this point I guess my career (well my future career) is all thats important to me. So June is going to be a critically important month for me, one that I guess I’m gonna deal with it once I get there. Till then I’m going to enjoy the hell out of the GDC and will be trying my best to be all memorable and impressive (LOL :P). So anyone reading this post, please hold thumbs for me!