A spotlight on life after graduation...
Featuring: Nikita Kotter

After waving goodbye to Abertay last summer, BA (Hons) Game Design and Production graduate Nikita has been touching base with us every few months with an update on what life has been like for him since graduation.

Posed photo of Abertay Alumni Nikita Kotter

12 months after graduation, Nikita is a Junior Game Designer at Brace Yourself Games in Vancouver, Canada. 

"The last year has been challenging. I have moved to the other side of the world to fulfill my life goals, and I found a company where I could achieve personal success. Now I can learn and collaborate with skilled professionals in a full-time capacity on a soon-to-be-released game. It is rare to be in this position, and it took a lot of diligent work and sacrifices to get where I am now. However, there is always room for improvement.

I set clear goals and focused on honing my skills instead of falling into the temptation of having fun during my time at university. I give myself some credit for exercising due diligence before making crucial life decisions. Although this paid off big time, the thing that caught me off guard is the value of programming skills in digital industries, which I should have focused on more during my time at university."

 

To the Class of 2020, find good mentors throughout your life and strive not to lose time because of carelessness. Listen to wise advice, set clear and tangible life goals, and do everything you can to reach them.

July 2019

Nikita had already left Dundee to settle into his new role at Brace Yourself Games in Vancouver, Canada. 

What are your long-term career aspirations?

I aspire to become a world-class Game Designer who can effectively challenge the status quo of the Industry. I believe that reaching this status will allow me to create engaging and meaningful interactive experiences in collaboration with like-minded people who learn from each other.

What are the next steps you'll take to help contribute towards these aspirations?

Over the next 12, I will keep working a Brace Yourself Games on Phantom Brigade as a Junior Game Designer. Learn more about game design, programming. Also Learn as much as possible about everything related to games development in general. Improve my written and verbal communication skills. Learn more about money, finances and management in preparation for the future. Keep collaborating with Unity as a Unity Student Ambassador Alumnus. Do a GDC talk and collaborate with Abertay and other universities on potential events, projects, workshops and talks.

What approach did you take to researching your career path and industry?

It is challenging to find a job as a designer straight out of university, more so than as a programmer, artist or musician. Most people are promoted into design position from other disciplines, often Quality Assurance. Graduate applicants need to compete for places with people who are already experienced, professionals. At the end of the 4th year, starting from February up until April, I have applied to around 80 games development studios around the entire world. I got an offer from 4, half did not reply the other half decided to proceed with other applicants. To get to this point I got advice, recommendations and general information from people in the industry, websites/publications, lecturers, careers teams, family members, seminars, conferences, peers and colleagues. 

How are you feeling about everything?

Happy. I get to do what I love the most in life, while rapidly fulfilling some of my long-term life objectives and rapidly advancing towards others. I feel that I am learning and developing as a game developer and as a person while working alongside amazing people from all over the world in an environment pushes me to have healthy work to life balance. I really enjoy the major changes that are happening in my life right now.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given relating to your career?

"Time is the most valuable resource you have, and you can not obtain more of it, only spend it. Know the value for your time and spend it wisely."

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