How to Find a Co-op
So in my last post I had discussed finding an on-campus job. Okay, so what’s next?
Finding a real one.
Our curriculum in IGM requires us to go on two co-ops, or paid internships. Okay, so what does that mean for you? Essentially, the summer after your second and third year you will be working. Really working. Like, programming in the industry. Like, real world. Scary stuff, right?
But there are so many things you can do to get that job, and ultimately find yourself an awesome career after college. First and foremost, you must spend your first year beefing up your resume. This includes passion projects, previous experience, and amp up your skill set by studying and learning various programming languages. But I cannot emphasize enough that projects are key, because this shows that you are passionate about what you do. Many other ambassadors wrote about these, and feel free to reference their blogs for more on passion projects.
Once you think you have a pretty stellar resume, throw it out there. Apply to as many companies as possible, and make sure to keep track of where you applied to and what they do. Because when you get a call back, you want to be able to reference that sheet. Keep in mind that a lot of students do not work for a game company for their first co-op. You have to keep your options open and not stay locked down on a particular place, because odds are you won’t get it. Game development is an incredibly competitive field. It is so difficult to break into it in the first place, so my advice is start somewhere else, but keep up your passion projects to show that you still want to be in the game industry.
From my personal experience, I had applied to Microsoft the day after applications had opened for the summer 2017 internship position. Luckily enough, I had a referral from another student who was working there at the time. I had gotten a phone screen – which is essentially a casual interview with the university recruiter where it is focused around behavior and how you would act in the work environment. Sometimes, there is a technical question. I essentially was asked a mild technical question and a brainteaser. After the phone screen, about four weeks later I was invited to interview on the Redmond campus. In late October, I packed my bags and flew across the country where I was subjected to three back to back interviews. I came back on Friday, and the following Tuesday I got my offer.
My final advice to you is that the job finding process takes a long time, so plan for it. My experience took from the beginning of August to the beginning of November. A lot of students don’t find a co-op this early, and you need to work hard until you do. Just don’t give up.