Fresh Talent Class of ’21

February 22, 2022

Headshot of by Sarah

by Sarah

Whether you’re a veteran or a graduate, you’ll know that the games industry can be tough to break into. If you don’t have a degree or are trying to move over from a different line of work it can be especially tough.

We decided to do something about that. The next generation of game development talent needs nurturing, so back in June 2021 we launched the Fresh Talent program.

Fresh Talent is about opening a number of full-time, assistant roles and pairing them with an experienced mentor. Significantly, these roles didn’t require a degree or previous industry experience. After an overwhelming response, we offered roles to almost 20 incredibly talented people.

That was a little over six months ago. So, we sat down with some of those people to see how their time at Splash Damage has been so far.

Sam – Assistant Lighting Artist

Sam’s first few months at Splash Damage has been “a really excellent learning experience with great people” and has learnt not to stress so much:

“If you need to take a break, do it! There’s a real emphasis on not burning yourself out here, which is a really healthy work ethos. I’ve heard horror stories of the ridiculous hours and egos in the industry, but everyone here seems super chill and friendly!”

That doesn’t mean he’s been taking it easy, though! Sam’s been getting “outstandingly positive” feedback in his performance reviews. “It really helps to validate that I’m doing the right thing, and to ebb away at that imposter syndrome I’m sure many of us have to start out.”

And his advice for anyone else trying to get into the games industry?

“Don’t be discouraged by rejection, you’ll likely get it a lot before landing where you want to be!”

Nero – Assistant Programmer

Nero applied for Fresh Talent after watching the launch event we did with Into Games. “That convinced me that Splash would be a good place to work, particularly as a queer person.”

They also told us “The project I’m working on is really interesting! Despite my inexperience, everyone on my team has been happy to explain things when necessary.

“I’ve been given an important ongoing task that helps improve the health of the project, which feels pretty successful for someone who’s only been here a few months!”

Ian – Assistant Programmer

When we asked about Ian’s first few months, he told us that they “have flown by. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been here for nearly 5 months already.”

But has he been surprised by life at Splash Damage?

“The biggest surprise to me is just how helpful everyone has been. Even beyond my own team, communication has been completely open.

“I’ve even had people from completely different projects sit in calls to teach me concepts they specialised in. I expected people here to be friendly and helpful, but I never imagined it would be this good.”

And he also had some sage words of advice for anyone thinking of applying to Fresh Talent in 2022:

“Don’t go into an interview stressed. It’s important to impress but it is also important to be impressed, you want to go in feeling like these are people I can have fun talking to.”

Galen – Assistant Programmer

Like a lot of us, Galen spoke about dealing with a little Imposter Syndrome. “Everyone is really good at what they do but over time [imposter syndrome] has definitely eased off and I am a lot more comfortable! The general atmosphere is amazing and this really helps make it less intimidating when communicating to other departments that you haven’t spoken to yet.” 

He also told us about the benefits of listening to your junior employees, because “As a fresh graduate small things that we know/learn may feel insignificant, but these could well be things that those who are more experienced might have missed.”

As for his most memorable moment so far?

“My first submit into source control. It’s weird but at that point it really felt like I had just started being able to leave my impact on the project and that was surprisingly magical. “

Jade – Assistant Audio Designer

When Fresh Talent launched, Jade had been applying for junior audio positions but wasn’t having much luck and the fatigue was setting in. But now?

“I’m really settling in at Splash and I already feel part of the Splash family! I had a bit of an adjustment period from going from university to working full time but really feel in the swing of things now.  I have learnt so much already.

“Starting at the assistant level can be quite daunting. I knew I would be surrounded by very talented people who all had a lot more experience but seeing positive feedback from my work is such a great feeling.”

When we asked about the most important thing she’d learnt, Jade told us:

“That people have similar fears, worries, doubts and concerns as I do, regardless of the level they are working at. It’s great to be able to share our concerns and realise that we are all going through the same things. Discovering this has made me more confident going forward with my sound design and myself.”

Alex – Assistant Programmer

Alex also heard about Fresh Talent through the launch event with Into Games, where he had his portfolio reviewed. When asked about his first few months, Alex said:

“It started off at a pretty chill pace as I got to grips with how everything works and integrated myself into the team. Now I’m taking ownership of some small features and helping with the larger ones!

“It’s been a pretty incredible learning experience and I’ve been super proud every time I’ve taken on a feature or a new iteration of a feature, and I’ve delivered it. We playtest regularly so it’s been great to see my hard work “in the flesh” alongside the rest of the team’s!”

Alex also recommends teaming up when working on your applications:

“Cheer on everyone’s successes, help where you can, and share the love when it’s needed. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my friends.”

Dominik – Assistant Programmer

While having attended university wasn’t essential for Fresh Talent applicants, the scheme came along just as Dominik was finishing his time there:

“I was preparing myself for life after Uni by taking part in any and every event that I could. I wanted insight into which companies are hiring and could provide me with feedback on my portfolio and CV.”

One of those events was our launch event with Into Games! Fast forward a few months, and Dominik is here!

“My first few months have been full of learning. I went from zero experience with Unreal to being able to meaningfully contribute to concept work in just a month. I’ve also learnt to put away my pride when trying to learn new things. There is a wealth of knowledge on the team and it is silly to not make use of it. With the help of the team you can reach the solution faster and learn more along the way.”

Alex – Assistant UI Designer

Fresh Talent can also be a way for someone to change career paths to a new discipline, as Alex discovered:

“I got a degree in game design & production in 2019 and had been working in QA since 2015. This was a good opportunity to change roles. Looking at the company’s values and developed games, it seemed like the studio would have a work environment I’d enjoy.

Alex’s hunch turned out to be right, and they told us “I’ve been given the opportunity to learn more technical skills, exercise my theoretical knowledge, and to collaborate with people I can learn from.

Seeing something I’ve created working in a build has been a great moment for me! I’m looking forward to seeing more of my work integrated into the project and seeing how things change over time.”

Feeling inspired?

It’s been amazing seeing our Fresh Talent Class of ’21 thriving. We can’t wait to see what they do over the next few months on their projects.

It’s exciting for us to confirm that Fresh Talent will return with a new batch of roles in the summer! Now’s the perfect time to start thinking about your portfolio and be sure to follow us on the channels below to learn about Fresh Talent before it starts.

Or, if you’re an experienced game developer and want to help nurture the next generation, check out our open roles and apply to be part of our team!

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