You’ve just graduated from college. Your degree is still warm in your hand and you’re ready to join the working world, specifically the games industry. Suddenly, you hit a roadblock. You realize all these jobs you want require a few years of experience – experience you don’t have yet. But how do you get the experience if no one will hire you based on your lack of experience? This catch-22 is part of the reasoning behind Ubisoft’s new Graduate Program.
Come September this year, 25 graduates from around the world will be given the chance to join the program and explore two career paths: Programming and Project Management. Over the course of two years, graduates will be integrated into multiple teams and gain the experience needed to continue in the industry. “We are looking for strong team players who are results-oriented and have excellent problem-solving skills,” says Clémence Bataille, the Project Manager for the Ubisoft Graduate Program. “They must be open to working in different locations worldwide, in English, and within multicultural teams. Of course, we expect applicants to have a genuine interest in videogames!”
What, exactly, does this program entail? We’ve got a full overview along with information specific to both possible paths. Take a look, and if you have any further questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to provide an answer.
Location, Location, Location
For the first year of the program, you will be placed in a studio located in your home country. Unfortunately, if you are not from one of the countries that are involved in the Graduate Program you will not be able to apply.
Studios currently involved in the program:
- Paris (France)
Blue Byte (Dusseldorf, Germany)
Redlynx (Helsinki, Finland)
Massive (Malmo, Sweden)
Reflections (Newcastle, UK)
RedStorm (North Carolina, USA)
While Ubisoft hopes to expand the program to other studios in the future, these are the studios involved in this year’s program. Once the first year is completed, students will transfer to a new studio in another country. Where the graduates transfer to will depend on the needs of the project as well as the graduate’s performance, according to Bataille. All participants will need to be prepared to work in different locations on different projects.
Applications are open now and can be found on the program’s official website. The application deadline is March 15. Once you have applied, the selection process will involve local interviews, technical tests and assessment, and interviews with teams at Ubisoft’s headquarters. All graduates will be selected by April 30.
Yep, you’ll get paid! “As employees to the firm, you will be paid a salary,” Bataille says. “Salary will be adapted to each local market, competitive offer. For the year abroad we shall fund the relocation cost and housing.”
“The Ubisoft Graduate program is a two-year custom-made experience designed to accelerate access to a career in videogames. We give our graduates responsibilities within specific projects that we know will help them learn faster,” Bataille tells us. “Our goal is that graduates accumulate four years of experience in the space of two years. At the end of the program, they will be armed with considerable knowledge of the videogames sector and the company, and will be able to take on the challenges of new and exciting responsibilities within Ubisoft.”
What’s the Program Actually About?
Each graduate will be immersed in a full-time job at one of our studios where he or she will complete missions that have been specifically tailored to suit each individual. This ensures the best learning environment while creating an efficient workflow. There will be some extra training offered by both the studios and HQ.
As for what you’ll be working on… well, it’ll be a bit of everything! Each course will provide different opportunities to learn about the industry and make your mark on the future of games. The project you work on will depend on the studio you are placed in, and Bataille tells us that you will undergo as many challenges as possible during those two years to make sure you get the most out of the program. Check out the career paths below to see what duties you might take on.
What Will You Be Doing?
You might be surprised by how few people actually know what a Project Manager or a Producer do in their day-to-day. These are the team leaders. It will be your job to step into a management role and supervise various projects. It comes down to the Producer to keep communication flowing between departments so everyone is on the same page. You will need to show the business and consumer know-how to succeed, as well as an ability to manage a project’s resources and schedule. Your duties might include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Participate in the monitoring of project deliverables and risks to ensure the respect of deadlines, budget and quality
Participate in the implementation and the follow-up of the decision-making process
Provide relevant reporting to the game development team
Contribute to a smooth and efficient communication between all project stakeholders
Deliver ad-hoc analysis (benchmark, post-mortem) and handle ad-hoc assignments such as consumer playtests
Master’s degree in business administration, economics, project management, engineering, or equivalent with less than one year of experience (excluding internships)
Expected Qualities in a Candidate
- Leadership abilities
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Agile, proactive and consumer-oriented
Analytical and problem-solving skills
Fluent in English
Interest in videogames and/or entertainment industry
What Will You Be Doing?
Where some may see the job of a Producer as something shrouded in mystery, most people have a good idea of what a Programmer does. These are the guys and gals who make and maintain the games while perfecting the player experience. It’s their job to make sure that at the end of the day the players are going to have a good time with their title. On the Programming career path, your jobs will include:
- Participate in the creation of new online services related to a game
Develop, integrate and maintain global online platform services such as Matchmaking, Leaderboards, etc.
Participate in determining systems’ behavior under normal or simulated peak load conditions to optimize performance
Make optimization in function of bandwidth constraints: reducing the amount of information transmitted, decrease latency, etc.
Identify and solve down issues
Implement and use predetermined replication systems
- Master’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or equivalent with less than 1 year of experience (excluding internships)
Good understanding of Software Development principles: analysis, implementation, optimization, debugging
Excellent C++ programming skills
Knowledge of server programming and database programming (MySQL, Redis)
Understanding of scalability issues and replication concepts
Understanding of other programming languages such as Python or Java is a plus
Knowledge of distributed systems and online services (i.e. guilds, trade etc) is a plus
Expected Qualities in a Candidate
- Proactive with strong problem-solving skills
Good level of English
Ability to work as part of a cross-disciplinary team
Interest in videogames and online gaming
For more details on the Graduate Program, check out the brochure:
Ubisoft Graduate Program Brochure (takes a minute to load, so please be patient)
To apply for the Producer/Project Manager path, go here:
To apply for the Programmer path, go here: