Gaming is no longer a small niche — it's the mainstream. Younger generations are growing up alongside video games as their main form of media, and business professionals from more traditional industries are seeking roles in a new and challenging environment for themselves.
As the leader in gaming jobs, we’re well aware of the vast amount of sectors and jobs now available in gaming, but the question still remains for many:
“How do I get a job in the games industry?”
In this article, we’re going to list some tips and tricks that will increase your chance of landing a job in the games industry as a newbie and expand each point with all the information you need to use them to become the next games industry vet!
1. Participate in game jams
Game jams bring a large group of like-minded individuals into one place with the goal of creating a game from scratch in a short amount of time — usually somewhere between 24 and 72 hours.
Not sure what kind of job you want in the games industry? Game jams are an excellent way to try your hand in many different fields related to gaming, with small groups commonly allowing everyone to whet their appetite in trying out design, programming, art and graphics, games writing, and more.
On top of this, having a piece of work that you’ve worked on directly to show a prospective recruiter is a great boost when applying for roles. Don’t worry if it’s not the prettiest work; recruiters are well aware that game jams are hackathons at heart and that they’re done in a short period of time.
Use it to showcase your talent in your desired field. State what you thought went well in the time-pressured environment you had, things you’d improve if you had more time, and what you learned from the experience. Were the animated rigs too complicated? Was the chosen coding language not fit for the content you were creating? Did the theme limit your writing capability? Demonstrable learnings from mistakes are great to be seen in interviews and applications, and game jams are a great place to gain these!
Look around your local area for game jams you can network in. We’d also highly recommend online game jams to remove the barrier of location. Ludum Dare is a game jam competition held twice a year, completely online, and allows anyone to join and compete with the chosen theme. Create an account and look for your team members in preparation for the next event!
2. Network at events
Unfortunately, this point has been put on hold by the impact of COVID on the world.
But, while the usual staple events of the year might not be possible to attend in person, you can still network with industry professionals.
Whether that's through the online variants of these events, such as gamescom going digital in 2020, or the more close-knit, networking events that are common in the industry. The world has been forced apart, but the community has been quick to remain connected. Look out for these opportunities where you can, and seriously consider attending. All it takes is one good conversation to open up a job opportunity that you might never have dreamed you could.
We regularly host online events in our Discord, with topics ranging from masterclasses on a specific part of the job application to networking events where the entire server gets chatting over voice. Join us to be alerted of the next event — you never know who you might meet!
When you do attend your next in-person event, though, you should look out for recruiters who’ll wear extremely visible markings and have booths to approach. Query them, discuss your passion for their company/games they make, and what they’d recommend as the next steps for your own career path. Hey, maybe they'll even have some entry level roles in their own company!
If you’re an artist, developer, designer, writer, or in any other position where your work can be brought with you, print it off to showcase in person and elaborate on your experience. If your work can’t be shown off on paper, upload it on a webpage and hand out business cards with your contact information and a link to your portfolio.
Side note: set up a LinkedIn profile and ensure you maintain your portfolio and always connect with the people you meet at these events. Having a network of people that will frequently update their feeds with new positions and advice/articles is one of the biggest take-aways from these events outside of directly getting an interview.
These events also host many panels and talks with experienced game industry personnel. These are a great learning tool and can provide excellent conversation starters and responses to questions in future interviews.
3. Modern education
The world is changing! More and more people are learning skills online, and the video games industry is no different.
Job roles with specialties such as art and programming have vast resources online to better these skills as well, but as a standard, there are two things all people wanting to enter the games industry should learn about that can be found online: a) knowledge of project management systems (PMS’s) and b) the product life cycle of a game
Most companies list their used PMS in their job roles, and we've yet to come across one that doesn’t have a full tutorial online!
One such example of where you can learn about professional skills like this is with our partner Skillshare. They host thousands of detailed online courses taught by expert instructors covering creativity, programming, design, and everything else you can imagine. We'd suggest checking out if you’re looking to expand your skill set!
→ Visit Skillshare and start a one month free trial
A PMS tracks individual tasks and jobs required to complete the overall goal of a studio (the release of the game). This is commonly done in a workflow referred to as “Agile Scrum” and, infrequently nowadays, through a working methodology called “Waterfall”.
To learn more about Scrum and a little about Waterfall, check out this incredible YouTube video by Uzility.