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Like a pro

We hear how some developers coped with challenges using their professional skills.
Now let’s talk about professional or soft skills like communications, teamwork, influencing, writing, and speaking in group meetings. All games developers use these skills. So let’s find out what professional skills they use every day. There is a lot of negotiation that goes into anything that we achieve because, largely, video games are the result of compromising. It’s trying to get the best possible art, the most interesting design, and the most efficient engineering. So we’re always trying to balance those. And as the producer in the room, I’m often the one facilitating those negotiations, and always making sure that we come to an outcome, that we come to a decision. The professional skills that I need in my day-to-day job would definitely be communication.
Communication’s a really big one. And being able to self-manage and control your time and stuff, and making sure that you’re able to schedule yourself. But I also think there’s things like being able to just socialise and get a friendship-dynamic– Yeah, building up– –going. –strong relationships with people. Yeah. Between the people in your team and stuff. Yeah. It’s really important that you can trust them and communicate– Yeah. –with them and tell them what you need to tell them. Yeah. Working well on a team is really important. Just because that’s what you’re going to be doing, really. A lot of the job is working with other people.
But still the self-management is really important just because, sometimes you’re given a task, and it’s like, off you go. And you’ve got to kind of make sure you hit the deadlines, and you’re working through the task throughout your week or two you might be on it. I’d say that sometimes my favourite thing I’ve done in a day is send one really well-worded email. Because one email can help a group of people who had a misunderstanding come together. So one well-written email can save a huge amount of everyone’s time. Developers use their professional skills every day to solve problems. Listen to a group of developers describe a recent problem they encountered. How would you solve this challenge?
So we recently came across a problem where we had an artist who was really bombarded with tasks. He didn’t know what was what correct priority, which ones he had to do now, which he could save for later. So it really became a bottleneck for our work and that was an issue. Yeah. Yeah. We have a similar thing. Quite often, it’s just getting lots of different tasks and bugs through. And it’s quite hard to work out which one is the most important to work on right now. Getting a nice ordering is quite difficult sometimes. Yeah, definitely. It’s happened to me as well, especially near deadlines– Yeah.
–when you’re trying to figure out what is the most important and what’s going to take priority. Mhm. Mhm. So how did developers at Sumo Digital solve this problem? We ended up sitting down with the artists and the producers and the people that were providing the tasks, and just went through who would be in charge of deciding the priorities. Make someone the filter who just gives him one task at a time so he can just get through them about getting overloaded. Yeah. We have a similar thing on our team. We have a champion who goes to meetings and keeps in-check with everyone else, and then quite a lot of the tasks.
He’ll deal with assigning, working out what’s the highest priority, and spreading those out to different people. It helps a lot to have a single person to kind of– Become the buffer between. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Especially producers, usually. Mhm. And I think, as well, sometimes it can be good just to discuss with the people who are bringing the tasks to you– Yeah. –and ask them, when are you expecting this to be completed or finished? Mhm. And that just makes all a bit easier. Yeah. Yeah.

All developers will encounter issues and challenges in their projects, which is where their professional skills can help.

Have a look at our team of developers talking about their experiences.

Which professional skills did our developers display?

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How To Start Your Career In Games Development

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