Eric Brotto, Account Director at Smile Machine, talks to us about his job, his degree, and how Goldsmiths prepared him for the future.
What are the main roles and responsibilities of your job? I have been at Smile Machine for just over one and a half years. I started out as a Software Developer making creative iPhone and iPad Applications and then was appointed as an Account Director to help raise awareness of the company and grow the business. I regularly meet with clients and write specific briefs to meet their needs.
How did studying at Goldsmiths prepare you the future? The academics at Goldsmiths were top notch, and I really felt the sky’s the limit! I had big ideas about what I wanted to get out of the programme and the professors supported me and enabled me to get to achieve my goals.
Whilst studying at Goldsmiths I created an iPhone App which allows users to simulate the experience of being a rap artist – at one stage it was the number one downloaded App in the Bahamas and neighbouring islands! My professors helped me to develop the App which was seen by my current boss and led to my job at Smile Machine.
Before starting at Goldsmiths I never thought this would have been possible, but the academics were so creative and understood exactly what I wanted to achieve. By working with Goldsmiths Careers Service I was able to secure a job before I graduated and gained valuable work experience at an agency working as a new media co-ordinator.
What elements of your degree did you enjoy and why? The programme was very interdisciplinary, with the professors working across Computing and Art. Goldsmiths is not just about learning new skills but learning what to do with them and how to be innovative. It was exciting to be part of a creative atmosphere – surrounded by other students with strong ideas of their own.
What are you working on at the moment? I am currently participating in a project exploring how young people can harness the digital revolution and computing. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of young people, from all different backgrounds, and will present the project alongside a number of creative agencies at South by South West.
If you are considering BSc Games Programming, you probably aren’t in much doubt about what you want to do after you graduate: you want to make video games, and in particular work as a games programmer. That is why we have designed the degree around the needs of an industry that is notoriously difficult to get in to. By giving you the skills that employers need we will maximise your chances of getting a game development job.
This week Mark Hope of games industry recruiter Aardvark Swift came to Goldsmiths to present the results of an industry survey they conducted last year. Programming is far and away the most in demand discipline among games companies, with over half the advertised jobs being for programmers. There is a serious shortage of programmers with the skills required by the games industry and so it is definitely the right path for getting into making games. When games companies are asked what the most important skills are for new programmers, the answer is always the same: C++ programming and Maths. That is why these two skills are the core of the degree. You will do more in depth Maths than any of our other degree programmes, studying the 3D maths that you need as a games programmer, but also how to use that maths to write 3D graphics software. We will also give you experience in programming C++ using industry standard game engines such as Cryengine. The third most important skill was communication and teamwork. That is why we have designed the degree so that, from the very beginning, you will be working in teams to develop games in a working environment that is modeled as closely as possible on a game development studio. Games companies said that they the thing the most important thing they look at when hiring programmers is their portfolio of work. That is why our entire degree is structured around developing that portfolio. Throughout the course you will be developing games, both individually and in teams, using C++ and industry standard development environments and learning how to present these games effectively on your portfolio website.
We think that most of our graduates will want to become games developers, but you won’t be locked in to the games industry. Games programming is one of the most challenging fields of software development. If you can program games you can program anything and will be able to get jobs in any area of the software industry. This is particularly true of the digital media industry, from app development to interactive advertising, where the graphics and creative skills of games developers are particularly in demand.