Q: I’m really interested to get into the gaming industry – do you have any advice on how to get above my competition?

This post is part of a series of questions that have been asked at previous GDC Meet a Mentor events. For the complete list of questions please see this link

Q: I’m really interested to get into the gaming industry – do you have any advice on how to get above my competition?

A: This question was recently asked on the GDC Answer. This answer was given by one of our most active mentors, Richard Conroy:

“I always recommend to people to keep their programming skills up to date, relevant and healthy. It opens up career options for you, even for non-programming roles.

Building a game completely distinguishes you from all other candidates for several reasons:

– you have made a statement about your passion for games, your commitment and your drive, by completing one

– it can’t be faked

– it is difficult to do, so it qualifies your skills

The real benefit is that you develop some difficult to acquire skills, such as quality control, and bugfixing, game design, level/map design, artwork and deployment/publishing. That makes game companies take you very seriously – as you come ‘built in’ with a foundation level of important skills that they really need in their staff.

They may take you on board as a tester despite your development skills, but because you know how a game is constructed, you can mentally de-construct it and that makes you a better tester.

On your other questions, I dont have many definitive answers. As programming goes, you will have your hands full learning Unity. It is an excellent platform, because once learned, it can cross compile your game onto an unbelievable number of platforms, including smartphones, iPads, PC desktops and consoles. You might find commercial companies who use it as their primary development platform. Other popular tools for learning how to make games, are Flash, and the language Lua is used very commonly in commercial game development for level and event scripting.

In terms of approaching companies, by all means have a CV ready (and bring it with you to any networking session). But firing off CVs cold to games companies should not be your primary method of getting their attention.

I suspect the games industry suffers from the ‘Starry Eyed Teenager’ syndrome when it comes to hiring. They are saturated with applications from game fans who think that building games must be just as fun. But the job can be hard work, with long hours and nothing like playing the finished product at times.

I am not trying to discourage you here – I know people who build their own games and tweak existing ones as a hobby, and they love it.

But I am sure many game development companies like to see evidence that the people looking to join them already know what it takes to make a game.

Start forming your own list of games companies. Attend amateur games competitions, game hack days, and games industry networking sessions and meetups.

Take notes of which companies are attending and sponsoring the events and try to get talking to people working as games developers or working in games companies. Get their business cards, follow them on twitter, and check out their blogs.”

@RecWorks

This post is part of a series of questions that have been asked at previous GDC Meet a Mentor events. For the complete list of questions please see this link

The GDC Meet a Mentor events are being organised and run in association with the team at RecWorks Ltd. An IT recruitment consultancy aimed at spotting and developing technical talent with a focus in Java and Graduate developers.

One thought on “Q: I’m really interested to get into the gaming industry – do you have any advice on how to get above my competition?

  1. […] Q. I’m really interested to get into the gaming industry – do you have any advice on ho… […]

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