Kriss lands dream job with local games company

After completing his degree in Computer Games Programming, Kriss secured a job as a Junior Programmer at local games company Bulkhead. He led a team and created a game amidst a global pandemic as well as learning more about himself.

Taking on a work placement

After his second year at the University, Kriss worked a placement at Bloc Digital as a Unity Developer. “It was a great year that taught me how to speed up the volume of work that I could complete” he says. “It essentially gave me a work ethic, to be able to sit down and do work for long periods of time to ensure a job is complete.”

“Bloc didn’t treat me as a student, and instead treated me as a competent programmer which I had the skills for by the end of second year, but not the experience. This meant that the work I was doing was for real, live projects. It gave me fantastic work experience that left my managers forgetting that I was a placement student and not a graduate.”

Growing, developing and learning new skills

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Kriss. The global pandemic hit in the middle of the Game Development module in his third year. “As a team leader, I had to figure out how to keep morale high and keep productivity as high as possible. We managed to pull together to create a game that felt really good and was highly praised by our faculty and other students.”

Kriss’s time at Derby has also earned him additional skills. “I’ve learned more interpersonal skills that are required for working with people in teams. I’ve learned how to communicate better and communicate my ideas to other people. These skills have hugely benefited me since gaining employment as a Junior Programmer with Bulkhead Interactive.”

“I’ve also learned how to deal with problems that are outside of my control, which is a massive benefit as an autistic person” he says. 

Time for creativity

“The first year is everything you’d expect out of any computer science field, but the second year is where it gets interesting” he says. “We dived into rendering technology in Graphics 1 & 2. And the Team Project module is also the first point where we get to make a game on the course and allowed us to flex our creativity.”

Kriss continues: “Third year brought the module that everyone on Computer Games Programming looks forward to, Game Development. The module is cross-discipline and pairs us with students on BA (Hons) Computer Games Modelling and Animation. It’s the biggest piece of work that we get to complete.”

Kriss indicates that the lecturers who taught him on the degree helped him at any point he needed it. “Not only did this help me manage my stress levels, but it also allowed me to ask the questions that I didn’t feel comfortable asking in a lecture. The computing staff had an open-door policy that meant I could go and ask my questions at any time. They were always perfectly willing to help.”

“There were moments where the course was tough, but it was persevering through those moments that gave me the necessary skills to graduate well.”

And any last words of advice for future BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming students?

“Be prepared to work hard for what you want. There are some great lecturers and some great experiences ahead, but it requires you to put effort in yourself. Also, make as many games as you can in your spare time in first year! That time will disappear as you go through the years!”

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