I will be attending the Game Developers Conference this upcoming week. GDC is not like E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) where it is for companies to announce their upcoming games to fans. It is rather a conference for developers to go out and network with each other to get jobs, internships and to learn more about techniques. This is a great opportunity for students like those who attend UAT to try to get their foot in the door. I will be graduating within the next two semesters so it is past time I start looking for what I'll be doing after college. Going into the workforce is a scary thing to do when you are just about to graduate college. When you think about it you start asking yourself questions like, "Where am I going to live", "How will I pay off loans in 6 months?", "How am I going to get a job?" Trying not to panic is the first step. This is the reason why these conferences exist. If you talk to the right person and pass around your information then you might just get a job. I have found that people in the industry understand the difficulty and are more than willing to help out a newbie in the field.
So there are a couple things I have done to prepare for my trip. I've had to prepare my portfolio, resume, linkedin, and business cards. Believe it or not it's actually a lot of work to do. As of now I am done with the majority of my portfolio I just have to record some 3D animations that I have done in the past couple animation classes I've had. After that I will be getting my business cards today in the mail and I will be printing out some resume's tomorrow. I am super excited for this opportunity!
Even though I haven't gone yet I do have some advice for those who are thinking of going in the future:
1: This trip is going to be extremely expensive:
My biggest advice is to know that this trip is going to cost you. Save for it!!! It is worth it in the end! All of the hotels already know about this convention so you'll have a hard time finding something that's under 500$ a night that's not too sketchy. You can find scholarships online to help you get an all access pass. Yes, I said an all access pass that would usually cost anywhere from 1,000$-2,999$. This gets you into everything. All of the panels and vip areas of this convention. You're also going to have to find a way to get there. You can also guess who else knows about the conference. Yepp, you got it. The airlines. They know that this convention is held in San Fran and they also know that attendees will be flying in from all countries and states. Those plane tickets are also going to cost you. From UAT, San Fran is a good 13 hour drive. If you and some friends pool together you can get a rental and drive if you prefer that method. It'll cost you about the same.
2: Register for parties:
This is something I didn't know until a week or so ago, in which I was already a little late on. I ended up registering for about 3 parties while I'm there. Parties are a extremely important to go to because that is where the real networking happens. If you can strike a good conversation at a party with the right person it might just lead to a job. Some if not most of the parties I wanted to attend were already full. Registering early gives you the opportunity to meet more people and get to know the area more.
3: Know that if you're not 21 you're not going to get as much out of it:
It's just as I said. The parties at GDC is where the real networking happens. If you're like me and are not 21 yet, you will most likely not be allowed into the bars where some if not most of the parties are located at. Unfortunately if you are like me and are about to graduate and need a job, it's still important to go, just know that you won't be getting as much out of it this year.
4: HAVE BUSINESS CARDS
That's really all there is to this suggestion
5: Bring resumes:
Bring these because at GDC some companies do on the spot interviews and how good would you look if you've even got your resume ready for them.
6: Schedule your plans!
Having a good schedule means that if you get asked if you're busy later you can tell them exactly what you're doing. This makes you look much more organized too. It also helps for reasons other than this by just being helpful to your future self. GDC has created a "session scheduler" to their panel page. This way you can see what is available for what pass you get and you can have everything already planned with no extra effort from you.
Alright, Wish me luck next week and I hope to come back with some awesome stories and even more tips for you!