Congratulations to CGAA alumni Jon Stewart who has just got a job at www.railsimulator.com creating downloadable content packs for TS:2014.
I asked Jon for a few 'warts and all' words of wisdom for the CGAA community in light of his success:
"It's taken me three years to break into the Video game industry. Granted, I had a lazy first year after graduating. Three years is a bit of a long time, and probably above the average. I would advise taking a year, following your degree, for portfolio building. Your university portfolio is rarely quite 'there' yet with regard to getting jobs. Upon graduating, pick where you want to be, find people's portfolios that have been hired there recently, and aim for their level. On top of this, networking is key. Whether it be face to face, or on forums and social networking (or combine them - for video game artists, the Polycount forum is a great resource). Try to cater your portfolio to what you want to do, and remember; presentation is key. The world is full of killer 3D modelers; the ones that stand out are the ones that learn to present their models in dynamic ways.
You also need to be willing to adapt, and above all else say "yes" to things - even if in your head you don't think you can do it! I had a brief stint (5-6 months) at a small architectural and art visualisation studio who needed a freelance CG Artist for a short period of time for a specific project. They had no CG artists in-house, and had no knowledge of CG. They asked me to produce animated fish for a large, life-size interactive, digital aquarium. I had no idea if I could do it - I hadn't animated anything for 3 or 4 years - and even then I wasn't that great.
"Can you do it?" I was asked... "Yes" I said, even as in my head I screamed, "F**K, NO YOU CAN'T!" But, in the end, I did do it and I came out stronger for it, too. So yes, be a yes person!
Now go download Train Simulator 2014!"
and visit my portfolio