by Heidi Riley
Kabam is a world leader in developing entertaining, immersive, and highly social multiplayer games. They merge consumer behavior with the art of game design to create experiences that are enjoyed by millions of players across the globe.
Kabam’s games include Marvel Contest of Champions, Shop Titans, Disney Mirrorverse, Transformers: Forged to Fight, and Marvel Realm of Champions. Many of these games have also received multiple awards including Apple’s Editor’s Choice and Google Play’s Best Game of the Year.
Founded in 2006, Kabam has studios and offices in Vancouver, Montreal, Charlottetown, San Francisco, and Austin. Kabam is a wholly owned subsidiary of Netmarble Games.
The Charlottetown office
The office in Charlottetown has been in operation for three years and has 13 employees. “Most have opted for a hybrid in-office and remote schedule,” says Nathan Henry, Associate Producer.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone in the Charlottetown office worked remotely. Since then, we have adopted a more flexible work environment,” says Nathan.
“In the gaming sector, a lot of companies decided to let their employees work remotely at least part of the time. At Kabam, some work remote full-time, some come to the office every day, and some divide their time between home and office.
“Before the pandemic, the tech sector offered some remote work, but now it is much more common. Now you don’t have to live in Silicon Valley to get a job in a major tech company, and businesses can look beyond their physical region to fill roles. Remote work offers interesting opportunities. For example, if you see an open position at the Kabam studio in Vancouver, you may not have to move there to get the job.”
Kabam has a wide range of staff titles. At the Charlottetown studio, there are Software Engineers, Quality Assurance Analysts, Artists, Game Designers, Producers, Development Directors, and Managers.
Within the company in general, there are positions in HR, Finance, Data Analysis, Marketing, Legal, Executives, Localization Specialists, and many other roles.
Hiring needs change depending on the projects that the company is working on. Open positions for all the studios can be found on the Kabam careers website.
“We currently have an open position for a Full Stack Software Engineer at our Charlottetown studio,” says Nathan. “Over 30+ positions at our other locations may be able to accommodate working remotely from PEI.”
What does a Full Stack Software Engineer do?
- General game development programming, including UI, debugging,
- Participate in development scheduling and hit deadlines for assigned tasks
- Implement well-architected systems that are robust, flexible and performant
- Implement core engine-level systems
- Prototype new gameplay ideas and concepts
- Work closely with the Technical Director and take technical feedback
- Practical experience authoring code in C# and/or C++
- Software engineering experience with server-based technologies
- Solid problem-solving skills
- A proven track record of collaborating and contributing within a dynamic team setting
- The ability to work independently on given tasks
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
In addition, it is nice to have:
- BS/MS in Computer Science or equivalent
- Experience of developing in a live service environment
- Proficiency in Unity3D, along with Unity GUI / NGUI frameworks
- Experience with SCM tools (Git / Perforce)
- JS and NoSQL experience (Node / MongoDB)
- Experience building synchronous multiplayer games
- Up-to-date knowledge on the latest mobile gaming trends
- Practical knowledge of the iOS and Android platforms
- Experience in debugging, performance profiling and code analysis
- Experience working in Agile, Kanban, and similar project management methodologies is also an asset.
Nathan Henry’s career journey
Nathan is originally from Texas and graduated with a degree in Political Science. He lived in Vancouver for four years. He got a job at a tech startup, and also started doing play testing for a game development company. He loved the atmosphere of a game studio, and moved to a job in Quality Assurance. At the same time, he taught himself how to code, wrote scripts, and developed tools. He eventually was hired as an Associate Software Engineer to make tools for QA.
“During the pandemic, my partner and I moved to PEI, and a year ago I was hired as an associate producer with Kabam. That is a position I had wanted ever since I started in gaming.
“The gaming sector really resonates with me because even as a kid, I played a ton of games, and as an adult I play a ton of games. It has always been my passion. Now I get to work on games I played as a kid. What is amazing about working for Kabam is that I get to work on big triple-A projects from Charlottetown.”
Why should you consider IT when choosing a career?
“The technology sector in general can allow for challenging and engaging projects that encourage problem solving, innovation, and teamwork,” says Nathan.
“I enjoy working on various game titles that I’ve grown up with, and it’s exciting discussing the future and possibilities of my favorite characters. Working in the game sector is very collaborative, and everyone has the same passion. We get to work on projects that millions of people love. Video games can play an important role in people’s lives, so it’s rewarding to see our ideas come to life and bring enjoyment to users.”
What kind of IT jobs are out there?
“The technology sector is a massive industry with a lot of opportunities and exciting projects. There are thousands of computing languages and skills that can be learned that translate into different roles and responsibilities.
“There are jobs in Front-End, Back-End, Security, QA, Full Stack, Dev Ops, and Machine Learning, to list a few. The video game industry also has plenty of Software Engineering positions. An exciting fact too, is that many of these positions can be offered remotely as well.”
How do you get there? What kind of education path will guide you to the IT career you desire?
“There are many paths that can be taken to become a Software Engineer in a game development studio,” says Nathan. “Some go to university and get Computer Science degrees, some complete coding bootcamps, some are self-taught, and some are a mixture of the three.
“For example, if you want to be a Game Designer, you can download a free game engine, design a game, and use that as a portfolio to get an entry-level game design position.
“Usually, the game development industry looks for people with some relevant experience. Many people start off at an entry-level position such as a Tester, which can require the least amount of experience and education to break into.
“Anyone who wants to get into the tech sector should apply for every entry-level position you can, and don’t limit yourself just to the jobs available on PEI, because there are opportunities for remote work. Figure out what role you want to work at, learn those skills, and then work your way into a junior position.
“Depending on the company, a good portfolio, tech interview, and work experience may be as valued as a traditional degree. I would say it is never too late to start learning, and there are a lot of good resources online to help someone get started.”