Having good grades and some work experience under your belt is one thing but finding the correct pathway to get you into your desired industry or a specific role can be quite challenging in this day and age.
When it comes to the games industry, learning from the best and having a dedicated programme in place enables you to acquire first-hand knowledge and expertise to find the desired role that suits your skills. And that pathway is right here, with the Sumo Digital Academy’s Game Programmer Apprenticeship Programme.
If you’re new to the Sumo Digital Academy, let’s have a recap. The Academy was the first in the UK to offer a games industry programming course recognised by the actual UK government and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
The programme welcomes graduates from areas outside of games who are keen to adapt their skillset and move into the games industry, as well as those looking for a career change and able to transition their abilities on the job. Skilled developers from other industries looking to transition into games may also find the Academy as a strong resource to focus on further enhancing their skillset in order to enter the games industry for a full-time career.
If this sounds like something that you, or your family or friends, would be interested in then here’s how you can apply and get involved.
ALL ABOUT THE APPLICATION
In order to complete the application, you’ll need to submit your current CV, a covering letter explaining why you want to join the apprenticeship programme, and a completed version of this C++ tutorial for beginners*.
Now, depending on your previous programming experience, this might take you anything from a couple of hours to a weekend. However, working through this will tell you a lot about whether you enjoy game programming if you have never done any before. It is only necessary to attach your ‘MainGame.cpp’ source file to the application for this tutorial example (we already have all the assets).
*You may submit a more sophisticated example instead, but it must also be made using the PlayBuffer and you will need to .zip and attach the whole Visual Studio folder containing the code and assets.
TIME FOR THE TEST
So, you’ve been successful with your initial application, and now it’s time for the next stage of the application. You’ll be given access to training materials and invited to take part in some aptitude tests.
These tests, which are completed online, assume that you have engaged with the training materials and must be completed within the testing window which includes a weekend to accommodate applicants with existing commitments and responsibilities. The content of the tests will be based on games which are made using the PlayBuffer C++ framework – and these are available for free right here.
There are two aptitude tests to complete. The first is a ‘Short C++ Test’, which contains relatively simple C++ questions which must be completed against the clock. Next up is the ‘Open-Ended C++ Task’.
In this test, you will be given the C++ code for a simple 2D game and asked to add some additional functionality – with two days to complete it.
Wow, you’ve blitzed the tests and now it’s time for the third and final stage of the application, the interview. This interview will be held at the Sumo Sheffield studio, taking you one step closer to being accepted onto the programme!
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ELIGIBLE?
In order to be eligible to apply for the Level 7 Game Programmer Apprenticeship programme, you must already be living in the UK and have valid and eligible residency status (prior to application), as well as the equivalent of GCSEs grades 9-5 (A*-C) in English and Maths.
In addition, you must not already be enrolled on another apprenticeship, or in full-time education which would overlap with the apprenticeship. Your prior learning in programming and game development must not exceed more than 50% of the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the occupational standard for a Level 7 Game Programmer.
In practice, this final condition would typically exclude graduates of game programming degrees from taking this apprenticeship. Graduates with Computer Science degrees without experience in game development might still be accepted but may have the length of the apprenticeship shortened based on a prior skills assessment.
All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and be able to demonstrate a strong aptitude for programming. For example, through self-study or in a module from your degree programme.
Ready to apply for our Game Programmer Apprenticeship Programme? Then apply now!