'The advice for any aspiring developer is the same: study'

'The advice for any aspiring developer is the same: study'
Marie Dealessandri

By Marie Dealessandri

May 17th 2016 at 10:38AM

Develop catches up with CV Bay business development director Harry Vlahakis to ask about the firm’s work in games recruitment over the last decade, helping both aspiring devs and established studios

In the jungle of the UK dev industry, studios sometimes need a little help to seek out high-end developers and dashing artists.

On the other hand, professionals looking for new job opportunities can always benefit from the advice of a recruitment firm, even after spending years in the industry.

CV Bay aims to lend a hand to both ends of the recruitment hunt.

“We are a Birmingham-based recruitment company that specialises in the gaming and IT market across Europe,” new business development director Harry Vlahakis explains.

“We were formed in 2006 and our aim has always been to build long term, mature and trusting relationships with our customers, whether they be clients or candidates.“

While the company is relatively young, the firm’s three directors have more than 40 years of combined IT recruitment experience. 

CV Bay also benefits from the involvement of more than ten recruitment specialists spread across its three UK offices in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

"The gaming community only hires the best, and is attracting talent from across the globe, so to make it you are going to have to be at the top of your game."

Harry Vlahakis, CV Bay

Embellishing the truth in your covering letter and CV is a well-worn mistake when applying to a prospective job.

Vlahakis reiterates the point that being forthright is key when it comes to recruitment, and adds that the adage applies when it comes to working with support firms, too. 

“Honesty really is at the core of our business,” he says.

“We are dealing with people’s lives when helping them get a new job, so it goes without saying that they need to be able to rely on us and know that the information we are providing is accurate.”

However, he continues, those looking to hire must be equally frank.

“It’s the same for clients, they need to be able to rely on us, so they can make the most well-informed decision,” he states.

“Morally, it’s just how it should be and how business should operate.”

Vlahakis feels that transparency on all ends ultimately produces the best results, for jobseekers, studios and recruitment specialists alike.

“There are some very well established games recruiters in the market who are doing a great job,” he observes. “But we have been allowed a foothold in the market and are winning new clients all the time.

“We asked some of our clients why they use us and were told that they like the fact that we understand their requirements and only send suitably skilled candidates who are worthy of interview.”

"The shift in the market towards cloud gaming and free-to-play games is requiring us to search for candidates with a different skillset."

Harry Vlahakis, CV Bay

CV Bay works with both large and small studios – and they all get the same level of service.

So what has the company learnt about the current state of hiring interest in the games industry?

“We have a number of roles from development to art within console, mobile and gambling games studios,” Vlahakis says. “We are always looking for experienced C++ programmers, from gameplay to networking”

For those looking to break into the sector, Vlahakis admits that working hard at improving your craft may be the simplest tip – but it’s also the most effective.

“The advice for any aspiring developer is the same: study,” he states. “Then build a great portfolio to showcase your talent, maybe take part in some games jams and then study some more.

“The gaming community only hires the best, and is attracting talent from across the globe, so to make it you are going to have to be at the top of your game.”

Despite this, there are specific areas of development that are hot in demand among growing studios, and which are forcing budding candidates to expand their abilities.

“The shift in the market towards cloud gaming and free-to-play games is requiring us to search for candidates with a different skillset,” Vlahakis reveals.

“We are looking for a lot more candidates with experience working with cloud platforms such as Azure or Amazon AWS, and have also seen an increase in demand for candidates with experience in real time data.

“There is still a huge skills shortage in the sector and, as games continue to innovate and technology advances, we are seeing this is further limiting the pool of suitable candidates.

“Our advice would be to keep expanding and developing your skills to try and keep ahead of market trends – you will be extremely sought after.”

Among the market trends set to redefine the games recruitment market in coming months, Vlahakis predicts that virtual reality will be the most revolutionary.

“It’s all about VR,” he says. “Excitement is building; it’s been talked about for a while but as the development kits have been released, it’s only a matter of time before some games come onto the market.“