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A look behind the scenes of our Student Placement Scheme

17th January 2020Posted by: Sumo Digital

Applications for our 2020/2021 Student Placement Scheme are currently open! 

If you’re studying for a qualification in game Art, Audio, Code or Design within the EU and are curious about working in one of six participating UK studios, our placement scheme is the perfect opportunity to get a leg-up in the industry. 

We sat down with two of our recent placement students, Christopher and Tahar, to hear firsthand what their experience here at Sumo Digital has been like… 

Hi Christopher and Tahar! Let’s kick off with some easy questions – what have you been studying and what are your roles at Sumo Digital?  

Tahar: Hi, I’m Tahar Meijs, Placement Programmer at Sumo Sheffield. I’m a student at Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands. 

Christopher: My name is Christopher Bandura and I’ve been studying International Games Architecture and Design at Breda University of Applied Sciences. My role is Production Assistant, which is a great role to get started in.  

So, what made you originally decide to take a placement year with Sumo Digital, and what’s your experience been like so far? 

Tahar: I heard great stories from alumni about Sumo Digital. Everyone seemed to be enthusiastic about the studio, its projects, and Sumo in general. I had already considered applying, but upon hearing the positive experiences of others, I immediately decided to just go for Sumo instead of the other companies on the list. 

Christopher: To be honest, originally, I didn’t want to go on a placement because I thought it might not be valuable enough — I couldn’t have been more wrong. I got this opportunity through talking to some of the lovely Sumo HR people that visited my school. 

Tahar:  My experience so far with Sumo has been really positive. I have great colleagues and the project I’m working on is amazing. 

Christopher: I agree, the experience so far has been amazing. I’m learning a lot whilst getting the chance to take ownership over features of the project that I am working on. 

What are some of the best things about working at Sumo Digital? 

Tahar: I really like the freedom a placement student is given. I can prioritise my own tasks (within reason) and take ownership of things when needed. I feel like I’m actually contributing to the project! 

Christopher: For me, the best bit is getting to work with all the incredibly friendly people. The types of projects Sumo Digital works on are really cool too. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I have already, even though I am only halfway through my placement! 

Tahar: My technical skills have improved. I’ve had to work with a lot of frameworks and technologies I had never worked with before. Living and working in Sheffield has also really helped me improve my English. 

Has there been anything you’ve been particularly challenged by? 

Tahar: The first few weeks of my work placement have proven to be the most challenging. I think it was a combination of getting to know your team, the project, and figuring out how everything works.  

Christopher: For me, the most challenging part has been getting used to a completely new country and different cultural and social values. The team and amazing people I work with helped me a lot with this though! 

Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your placement?  

Christopher:  I wish I had known that I should not expect to be as good as the people around me. People at Sumo Digital sometimes have over 15 years of experience in the games industry, it is unrealistic to try to match that on day one. 

Tahar: The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was to actually apply! It always felt like I didn’t know enough to even make it past the first round of interviews. I should’ve just applied instead of postponing it to the very last moment. 

Christopher: Coming from a university setting, I don’t think I could have expected what this would be like. It’s been overwhelming and exciting throughout my entire journey and I would love to recommend everyone to go on a placement if they have the opportunity. 

Tahar: Honestly, the one thing I was really surprised about was the lack of crunch time. You often hear people complain about how bad it is in the games industry and how you have to work extremely long days to get your work done, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Sumo has a healthy work-life balance. 

Do you think your placement has given you good experience and set you in good stead for your future career in the games industry? 

Christopher: Yes absolutely – I personally consider a placement to be a golden ticket for my own future. There is nothing better than being able to say that you worked on a Triple A project. 

Tahar: Yes, I agree. Of course, I’ve learned a lot about game development in general, but one of the most interesting things I’ve learned is how to work as a professional. The extra technical knowledge is nice, but I really feel like Sumo Digital has taught me a lot about what it’s like to be a professional game developer. 

Christopher: And if anyone is wondering how to get an amazing placement, focus on 2 things: your portfolio and how you come across during the interview. More specifically, be yourself, try not to be nervous and show the company what you can bring to the team. 

Tahar: I’d recommend anyone who considers applying for a placement to just go for it. It’s a fair bit of work, especially if you’re living abroad, but it’s worth it. The projects are fun to work on, everyone is helpful, and you’ll learn a lot! 

Thank you, Christopher and Tahar, for sharing your experiences! It’s great having you working with us! 

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Applications for our 2020/2021 Student Placement Scheme are open until the 31st of January. If you’re currently studying and would like the opportunity to work in one of six participating UK studios, apply here!

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