Hi Samantha – thanks for the AMA! I’m keen to hear about your journey into the UI Development space – what made you choose this particular domain, and what would you suggest for others wanting to follow your path?
It’s 12:59pm PST on my end, might as well start the AMA if everyone’s ready. 😃
Oh, I jumped the gun 😃
nah it’s good
@samantha feel free to start with a little self intro
and then you can jump into Seb’s question
Hii~ I’m Samantha! I have a degree in game audio from Columbia College Chicago, I graduated in 2014. 2014 – 2016 I bummed around a bit and worked on a now defunct indie studio/game that i ran. I started doing freelance work in 2016 and did that until my current job at uGen that I started a few months ago.
I’m actually not a UI Developer! That’s the title I was hired under, but we’ve recently changed it to Unity Developer to reflect that I’m doing a lot more than UI.
We only just changed that title last week actually.
But I view myself as a versitile programmer, with a focus on tools and support. I view my role as facilitating my other team members and enabling them to do their best work as quickly as possible.
How did you connect with you current employers? Where’s the best place to meet employers for unity developers?
I went on a roughly 6 month job search before I ended up here. I found them through http://indeed.com
job searching it rough
I also reccomend http://orcahq.com
it aggrigates from the companies sites, so it doesn’t hit everyone, but it lists a lot
I checked indeed, the unity forums, and orca everyday
also the tigsource forums
Interesting, did you find any job sites that you recommend not using?
monster was just spam
indeed has a lot of garbage but it can still be useful, obviously since it’s where i found my job
i also interviewed for a few jobs off indeed
orca as well
the unity forums did not really bare any fruit
neither did tigsource
but they’re both easy to check
What was working in the indie studio/game like? Were you in charge of the project?
Yeah, so I founded/ran a 4 person outfit
we were working on a project for ps4/xbox one/steam
what were your marketing strategies when you were running the 4 person outfit?
How do you market games when you are working in a small, indy studio?
What is your favorite game?
I ask the hard hitters
in all seriousness, twitter is important, a lot of forums can be helpful, tigsource, unity
anywhere you can find traction
unfortunately, it is not a sure thing
lean into your local community, if you have one
post a lot
it’s hard, indie is waaay harder than freelance/aaa
the financial stress is immense
I lived off of basically no money for 3 years
no more than $1000 a month
barely scraping by
the only real way to do it, is to start off with money
unless you can handle the barista job on the side to pay your bills and still have enough time to work on stuff
sorry to be a bummer!!
i don’t regret trying
i’ve thought about going indie after i finish school. is it better to wait until i gain industry experience or is it best to just jump right in and go for it?
no good answer, thank you!
but i’m happy to have a stable well paying job now
i think it depends, jeanenne
I think its good to set expectations for us as students, that was a great answer
mostly on money
Nice to meet you, and thanks for being the first AMA here 😄 how did specializing in Unity play into your job search? Did you find that companies who were using Unity were more responsive than one’s who were using a different engine? Basically, do you feel specializing engine-wise closed doors or opened more?
re jeanenne: I think that connections and experience can help, but also the younger you are the less financial risk you tend to have. I don’t have kids, I don’t have any dependents. I’m 27. I have friends doing the indie thing with kids and morgage, it’s a lot more pressure. it’s not as big of a deal to fail when you’re already broke. that being said, if you spend a few years making money and save it right, you can take a low risk year or two to live off savings and make whatever you want and then dip back into the industry proper when you run out, or not if it’s successful, There are over 3000 games released to steam per year, most of them don’
t make any money
also i might have to occasionally dip out for a sec, I’m at work and coordinating with a few people about some stuff
that’s fine samantha, we’re almost at the 30-min mark anyway
re elisha: it’s neutral i think. no one is going to hire me for a ue4 job, but then no one is going to hire a ue4 person for unity. I think that it’s good to know a tool but important to understand how it differs from the rest of the tools out there. you want to be an expert in your tool but not so entrenched that you can’t learn something else.
I can go for a bit longer 😃
how much time do you recommend people who want to get the the field (or specifically become a unity developer)
spend coding or working in Unity a day?
from a student perspective
Thanks for answering my previous question! what was the interview process like to get hired for your current job?
If you end up having time after answering Parker and Jeanenne: what would you tell yourself if you could send a message to yourself at the beginning of your academic experience to give yourself a leg up?
(guessing she’s talking to coworkers about stuff right now, but as she said earlier will be back soon)
re parker: I’m not sure time is as important as variety. just make things, try to make things with other people, make things by yourself, make things with art, make things with blocks, finish some things, don’t finish others. all of it will help you learn things and is important. also try to learn some good c# habits
re jeanenne: I did a short phone interview, then a programming test, then an interview with the whole team (19 of us!)
they called me back in 20 minutes to offer me the job
re elisha: scope small. scope small. scope small. scope small. scope small. scope small.
when you’re done answering @esarkis question, what were some things you did for the programming test?
what did they test you on?
your first games probably aren’t going to be good so don’t spend 2 years on it.
they had me build a dynamic grid of buttons in ugui
good programming tests (a lot of them are bad) aren’t meant to be super hard
they should demonstrate how you think and code and organize
Is ugui the built in Unity UI system or is it something else
sometimes they’ll give you bullshit fizzbuzz and dumb problems that don’t test anything but how well you prepaired for an interview
there are whole books on programming interviews
yeah! ugui is unitys gui system
^ A lot of Unity’s built-in systems go by different names. Sometimes the community calls it something different from what the docs say, lol.
sometimes it’s legacy, sometimes it’s codenames from beta that stuck
also i think someone asked me what my fav games are and I missed it: halo:ce, antichamber, dota 2, path of exile, the beginners guide, and probably more stuff i forgot
To add to the interview prep Q, “Cracking the Coding Interview” is considered a classic when it comes to coding interview prep, helped me quite a bit when I interviewed for my developer position at Microsoft.
i also own that book
Thanks for answering @samantha !
let us know when you’ve run out of time Samantha, this has been great so far 😄
I should probably get back ot work!!
thanks for the A’s to our Q’s 😃
I’ve got a few links i was going to drop in here, stuff that I think is great or helpful
ah tinysubversions is known to have great advice
some unity stuff that I use allllll the time
hope some of this was helpful!! feel free to poke me on twitter if you ever had any other questions and I’ll try to get back to you
Thank you so much Samantha for taking time out of your day for us!
Thank you for answering our questions! It was very helpful 😃
Of course! have a good one y’all!
Ok everyone, the next AMA will be on Friday night. 😮 Yes, I was serious when I said we were planning a ton of these, so we’re kinda going rapid-fire with them. See the post below for info on when it lands in your timezone: