A spotlight on life after graduation...
Featuring: Chris McEvoy

After waving goodbye to Abertay last summer, BSc (Hons) Computer Games Application Development graduate Chris has been touching base with us every few months with an update on what life has been like for him since graduation.

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12 months after graduating, Chris is now an Associate Gameplay Programmer at Build A Rocket Boy in Edinburgh. 

"When I graduated last year, I was 2 weeks into my first job in industry. I expected to be challenged by the work, by the move from one city to another, and by the transition from student-life to work-life. While those expectations were realized, I was not expecting to have made as many friends along the way.

This year, I have made a huge amount of progress both personally and professionally. My work has improved dramatically as I have received quality feedback. I am happy my team trusts me to work on important systems for our game. I am also proud that alongside my work I wrote a condensed paper based on my dissertation and got it published in an academic journal with the help of my honours project supervisor.

Over the next year I look to continue improving my skills further and ensure the work I do is of a high standard."

Chris is happy to speak with any of our new graduating students who'd like to learn more about what he does and the games industry in general. Please contact alumni@abertay.ac.uk to be connected with Chris. 

For the graduating class of 2020, learning will certainly continue long after graduation. It should be embraced and enjoyed! For those of you still looking for work in your field, practicing your skills, reading, and learning more will make the interview process much easier. All the best!

June 2019

Graduation was weeks away, and Chris was preparing to relocate to Edinburgh where he'd started his new role at AAA games company Build A Rocket Boy.

What are your long-term career aspirations?

To develop my skills so that I can work on the biggest and best game projects in industry, perhaps one day then starting my own development studio.

How will your next steps contribute towards these aspirations?

I recently began a job at a sizable games studio in Edinburgh. Over the next 12 months I look to gain industry experience, improve my skills in a professional environment, and make an impact within my development team.

What approach did you take to research your career path and industry?

Lecturers were really important in my process, offering excellent advice and encouragement whenever I needed it. Past students also gave advice on finding and securing a job in my role.

How are you feeling about everything?

It was absolutely terrifying to not know when I would be able to land a job and how that would impact where I would live, but I’m feeling relieved now that I’m in work and excited that I have a great role and that I will be staying in Scotland. I'm looking forward to getting into the flow of things, becoming confident in my role and seeing how my skills develop.

October 2019

3 months after graduating, Chris had relocated to Edinburgh and had settled into his new role. 

What are some of the key things you’re enjoying about your role so far?

I have my own responsibilities for the game project, so when a team-member needs to use a feature of mine to develop one of theirs, we can communicate and it feels good to contribute to the project in a way that is felt across the studio. Every day is different, with different features to make and different bugs to fix. Sometimes I’ll have a larger task to work on that will take several days or a week but quite often I’m sorting out a few things each day. It feels good to have your team, and the broader studio, use the features you make, or rely on you to solve problems. To be given some larger tasks so early after graduating has been really affirming of my skills and gives me confidence that I am making a good contribution to our game’s development.

What’s the reality of working in industry like vs your expectations before starting?

Working in industry is about as difficult and equally rewarding as I imagined. When I interviewed for the role it was made clear that it would be challenging. Making sure that I would be ready for that challenge was important during the time between completing my degree and beginning my employment.

You mentioned that knowing about hash tables before you started would have been useful. How do these ease your workload?

Hash tables are something I use very often. It is useful to be familiar with them and to be able to understand code that uses them. Learning about hash tables made code tests and interviews a lot easier and it becomes easier to read code written by someone else when you are familiar with a broader range of programming techniques and practices.

What are some of the unexpected challenges you’ve faced and overcome since starting?

Diving into the workplace after graduating can be a difficult adjustment to make. For me, it has been hard living further away from friends that still live in Dundee as well as others that have moved elsewhere. The biggest difficulty in my opinion has been a change to my daily schedule and managing my time somewhat differently to how I did in university.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given relating to your career?

"During any kind of interview test, talk through what you are thinking about. You can’t talk too much but you can definitely talk to little. Interviewers aren’t psychic and you don’t want them to think you are stuck when you are just working through the problem."

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