Networking 201?

by Darius Kazemi on January 25, 2008

in networking

So last year I gave a talk at the Game Career Seminar at GDC. The talk was called “Networking 101,” and it consisted of me going over networking basics mostly aimed toward college students trying to get that first game industry job.

CMP has been kind enough to invite me to give another networking talk at GDC. It’s still part of the Game Career Seminar, but this time it needs to be more of a “Networking 201″ kind of talk, aimed more toward people who have got their foot in the door but want to take their career to the next level.

A big part of this talk is going to be about networking inside a (large-ish) company. How do you go from the first day of QA to being someone that everyone in your company knows and likes? This involves analyzing communications between people at the company to determine prevalent attitudes and personalities. You also have to be friendly and helpful, but not so humble that nobody recognizes your achievements. It’s a delicate balance, and one that I plan on addressing.

I will also cover how to continue networking in the industry in general once you’re actually a part of the industry.

Does anyone have any questions related to this topic that they’d like to see answered in a talk? (I’ll answer ‘em here too, to the best of my ability.)


Ian Schreiber January 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm

I can think of a few things.

* QA is a great place to address, because you foot is still only half in the door. You’re probably on contract for 2+1d3 months and after that you’re out the door… unless you make a good enough impression that you can transition to a more permanent role first. Is there a “how to” guide for this particular step (as opposed to all the steps that got you into QA in the first place)?

* Obviously, being productive at work is a good thing. However, if you’re not careful you can end up stepping on other people’s toes a bit (I’ve met some programmers who are protective enough of their code that they would balk at letting anyone from QA within a ten-foot radius of Visual Studio). How do you find the line between being helpful versus pushy?

* Here’s a big one for entry-level workers: your first promotion, to mid-level. First, how do you know when you’re ready? (“You just know” doesn’t cut it — EVERYONE thinks they’re ready long before they really are.) Second, when you ARE ready, what then? Do you wait (possibly forever) for your manager to come to you? Do you raise the issue with them, and if so, how do you do so without coming off as arrogant (or being concerned more with pay and titles than shipping the damn game)? What are some common ways you’ll be turned down (“you’re not ready” versus “it’s been a bad year, there’s no money”) and what do you do about them (jump ship to a new company? Swallow your pride and stick it out? How forceful should you get here?).

* Given your personal experience, it might also be appropriate to talk about starting your own company. I’d assume there’s a whole other set of advanced networking skills you need when you start your own indie studio — both to attract employees, and also to get the attention of publishers (or developers, if you’re one of those weird people who makes middleware ;)

Branden January 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm

I’ve been looking forward to hearing more advice since you first posted this, but couldn’t think of any specific questions that I had. However, rereading it today, this jumped out at me:

“You also have to be friendly and helpful, but not so humble that nobody recognizes your achievements.”

I’d definitely love to hear some details about this one, because it seems like a pretty fine line.

Joseph January 30, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I’m really looking forward to hearing more on this as Ian has really nailed my situation (Well actually 2+1d4). It’s especially interesting given where I’ll be working, a 250+ medium sized developer that you may be somewhat familiar with.

Regardless I have no questions for now. I eagerly await the next post Darius!

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