Get That Job: Engine Programmer

Get That Job: Engine Programmer
Sean Cleaver

By Sean Cleaver

September 18th 2017 at 12:00PM

We speak to Jurre de Baare about his role as Engine Programmer at Epic Games

What is your job role?
I am an engine programmer, with a particular focus on animation and tools. Some of the features I have worked on include the vertex animation pipeline using Alembic and the Hierarchical LOD system used in Paragon.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
First of all, you’re expected to have an interest in video games, whether you enjoy playing or picking them apart doesn’t matter. Of course, strong programming skills are important, in particular being able to work with C++ as this is the industry standard and knowing additional programming languages is a plus.

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing hard work come together

Jurre de Baare

A solid understanding of the fundamentals of Mathematics and Physics is valued a lot since you’ll be using theory and concepts from these fields daily. You will be working with people from different backgrounds and disciplines, both within and outside of Epic, having an open and team-focused attitude is key. If you tick all boxes above I’m sure you’d fit right in.

How would someone come to be in your position?
Try and engage with the industry, there are lots of events and meet-ups which you can be part of, allowing you to meet people who may be able to help you find a job. For example, my university teacher had an old colleague who now works at Epic Games, whom he showed some of my work to. This got the ball rolling. Getting your foot in the door is the hardest part, but once you’re in your knowledge, experience and network expands, after which the rest will follow. Work hard and don’t give up, it will pay off.

If you were interviewing someone, what would you look for?
Being confident in your own core set of skills can make a big difference when deciding whether or not there is a fit. Especially as the interview process contains practical parts, including a technical assignment to give a better impression of your skills and a session where you are put on the spot to solve problems on a whiteboard. In addition, being able to not only think about the technical problems we are faced with today, but also envisioning the next step on an industry-scale is important at Epic.

What opportunities are there for career progression?
There are a lot of options for progression. First of all, growing into a senior programming role, which means taking on more responsibility and tasks, and from there on multiple paths. Taking on the position of team lead or moving into a producer or manager role, it simply comes down to your ambitions and interest.

Why choose to follow a career in your field?
For me, the appeal of tinkering with computers has always existed. Being a programmer also means being responsible for the core parts of the game and I think there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the hard work from different people come together.