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Author Topic: ROM Hacking And Resumes  (Read 2707 times)

RedComet

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ROM Hacking And Resumes
« on: September 12, 2011, 04:30:58 pm »
I'm in the process of constructing a resume and I've noticed that most of my programming skills have been gained because of hacking, which leaves me very little in the way of tools and programs that demonstrate my skills.

So I'm curious about what the rest of you do. Do you include your romhacking activities even though they do exist in a legal gray area and if so how do you phrase it? Clearly the word "hacking" is going to send up red flags in a typical non-tech savvy HR manager, so using that term is less than advisable. As much as I'd like to include my romhacking activities, I think for now I'll refrain simply because I'm really uncomfortable discussing it with people who are clueless about it.

I'd really love to hear the opinions of people who work in industry on this topic.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 04:38:39 pm »
I put down on my resume: "Recreational translation of video games, music videos, songs and television shows". And under technical skills I have: "Programming experience: basic Java programming, 65816 programming for Super Nintendo".

Honestly? I think it helped. It was brought up during my interview, and they seemed impressed by it.

If you wanted to talk about hacking, say it in a way that isn't illegal-sounding. "Recreational reverse-engineering of games for (x platform)".

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Tomato

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 04:50:35 pm »
Adding stuff similar to the above is definitely what helped me get my current job - in particular listing the specific skills I gained and what software/systems I'd become familiar with.

I don't know if it's something you need, but building up a portfolio might be a good idea too. Here's something Jeffman, a fellow hacker who worked on Mother 3 with me, has: http://jeffman.net/ I'm sure it's very outdated, but it sounds like he's had good success from it getting into internships and such. Posting snippets of your hacking code might go a long way too.

FinS

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 05:37:04 pm »
The current job market is so competitive that you're less likely to get a job if you don't have something unique on your resume. Employers look through resumes and toss them if they don't see an intensive extra curricular activity.

If it looks like there is a gap in your free time anywhere they may assume you're a bum. If you spend much time hacking you probably have to bring it up and it's not necessarily a bad mark either because the skills you learn through hacking can be applied to many other areas.

Cartographer, for example, could probably be applied to database management.

A good employer is looking for someone who has the type of analytical mind that is required for hacking. They know as you do the job you will be analyzing the process. They don't want you to just analyze it and do it a better way but they will expect to see suggestions from you on how to improve it so they can alter it and have everyone increase efficiency and quality.

Jorpho

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011, 06:29:13 pm »
Common wisdom is to tailor one's resume to the position one is applying for.  Reverse-engineering might look very, very good on an application to a firm looking to upgrade some horribly outdated systems, for instance.
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Celice

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 09:15:44 pm »
Reverse-engineering is exactly the term I use when I describe romhacking to people who wouldn't understand what romhacking is :P  And reverse-engineering is pretty much what it comes down to:  unpacking something to find out how to mess with it, getting something how we'd like it, or just to see what's in there :)

'romhacking' itself isn't very helpful as a term alone, but explaining all the different things which we do within that single term, that's the part you want to shine on.

Klarth

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 10:19:43 pm »
If you don't use reverse engineer (it's generally what I use), you can something like the following:

Programs utilities and performs technical tasks for community-based videogame translations

Cryomancer

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 02:18:20 am »
I've mentioned "hobbyist translation" in resumes before, referencing my comic trans group...came up in the interview and she thought it was kind of interesting.  Didn't get the job though.

I imagine if you are the "boss" of a group it would be a more useful conversation to have with a possible employer, as you're basically going "I manage dudes working on stuff in my free time".
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Nightcrawler

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 08:06:23 am »
There's certainly nothing gray about technical (or other) documentation you have written or utilities you have programmed. Technical writing skills, and programming samples can only benefit you.
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RedComet

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 10:58:36 pm »
For now I've gone with this:

Quote
Recreational reverse engineering and modification of video games for the Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis video game consoles using 6502, 65816 and Motorola 68000 assembly languages respectively.

Sounds almost sophisticated. :p
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Jorpho

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 09:00:07 am »
I'd be inclined to take out the names of the consoles entirely.

Quote
Recreational reverse engineering and modification of assembly-language software for MOS 6502, WDC 65816, and Motorola 68000 based embedded systems.

Well, maybe "embedded" is going too far, but it sounds cool.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 09:09:31 am by Jorpho »
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geishaboy

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 10:06:12 am »
I'd be inclined to take out the names of the consoles entirely.

I was thinking the same thing. Mentioning specific company names without any professional connection to said companies may look a little odd. Perhaps simply putting "eight and 16 bit video game systems" or something along those lines would be better?

Although you should remember that I have no idea what I'm talking about

RedComet

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 04:04:24 pm »
I figure I can always point to the large hobbyist and homebrew communities if clarification is needed. :P
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sa♥tsu

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2011, 03:31:18 pm »
I've mentioned "hobbyist translation" in resumes before, referencing my comic trans group...

I basically put this in my CV, choosing not to name names or go into too much detail but rather paint in broad strokes.

geishaboy and Jorpho are right, you shouldn't invoke the names of companies and their products because it will play up the 'unauthorised' angle. It'll be a red flag if your CV is only read by HR suits. The actual value or significance of what you propose won't be obscured if you avoid naming names, since the consoles will probably mean nothing to them except for the fact that you're clearly doing something strange. Additionally, if it's a company where they pass CVs on to the people you'll be working with for their opinion, those people would probably know what you're talking about even if you're vague about it and they'd probably think it's cool, so I don't think you'd be losing much.

Are you applying for a job in the games industry? If not, you might even wish to consider talking about working on "software" instead of "video games".

RedComet

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2011, 04:07:05 pm »
I'm gonna attend a career fair in a few weeks and I'm just trying to get my resume in order so I'm presentable.
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Tater Bear

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2011, 03:30:27 pm »
Recreational reverse engineering and modification of assembly-language software for MOS 6502, WDC 65816, and Motorola 68000 based embedded systems.

I agree with this way of saying it 100%. I used strategies like that to make my everyday hobbies/activities look interesting when I applied to medical school years ago. In fact, questions asked about me personally during my interview were only about my extracurricular activities ;)

Edit: I suppose you could say "platforms" if you didn't want to use "embedded systems"

optomon

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2011, 01:05:47 am »


Cartographer, for example, could probably be applied to database management.


Ha... I'm not sure if you are referring to a rom hacking utility called cartographer. Funny thing is, I am a cartographer, and database management is a huge part of the job.


FinS

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2011, 09:10:14 pm »
Ha... I'm not sure if you are referring to a rom hacking utility called cartographer. Funny thing is, I am a cartographer, and database management is a huge part of the job.
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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2011, 01:45:20 am »
I used several examples of my ROM Hacking work for my application to University. It came up in the interviews and every now and then my lecturer gets me to verify some stuff about the GBA/DS systems. So I guess it's not a bad thing. Though I'm sure it's a little different when it comes to employment.

DaMarsMan

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Re: ROM Hacking And Resumes
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2011, 05:44:29 pm »
I put it down as a hobby but I didn't refer to it as 'hacking'. I used reverse engineering of classic games and things of that sort to describe it. It helped me get my first programming job I'm sure. As you move up in ranks, you won't really need it as much unless you need low level assembly at the job you're applying for.