What if you could turn your greatest passion into a full-fledged career? If you love gaming or you’re a video game enthusiast, this dream may not be as out-of-reach as you think. There are countless job options and plenty of ways to attain the skills you’ll need. Today we share some tips on kick-starting your career in the video game industry.
1. Do your research and pick a path.
Your first step is answering one big question: what do you actually want to do? There are dozens of potential gaming-based careers out there, so do your research to see what really interests you.
According to Game Industry Career Guide, there are six main career paths:
- Game designer
- Game programmer
- Game audio engineer
- Game QA tester
- Game artist/animator
- Game producer
Consider what skills you currently have and any that you’d like to hone. If, for example, you’re already interested in programming and have a basic understanding of it, perhaps that’s the right route for you.
Salary is another component to take into consideration. Remember that just because you start off at a lower salary tier, it doesn’t mean you won’t work your way up to higher pay. You may even want to start your own business instead of working for someone else.
2. Consult someone in the field.
No one is going to be able to give you insight like someone who already works in the industry. You may already have a friend in the business, but if not, try asking your gaming friends; they just might have some contacts. Don’t be afraid to reach out but do consider what the best method of communication is, as explained by Faze.
To have the desired effect, you must have a solid email (or phone message) reaching out to ask for help and insight. Introduce yourself, mention your shared contact if you have one, and note the positive reference you received. Most importantly, show sincere interest in the professional’s role.
Don’t start off by asking for a favour; this person has limited time and probably won’t appreciate being asked for something by a total stranger. Try to frame it as both a request and a compliment: “[Reference name] told me you’re one of the best in the business and would have excellent insight. Would it be possible to borrow some of your valuable time to pick your brain?”
3. Take advantage of learning opportunities.
Unless you already have a degree that can be applied to the video game industry, you’ll likely need to take at least a few classes to get your knowledge where it needs to be. One fantastic option is looking into online computer science degrees, whose classes can teach you everything from AI to computer theory. Taking the online route allows you to continue working while schooling and having certifications in these areas can really give you an edge in the professional world.
Though they’re known for being low-wage, internships are another great way to learn. You’ll be right in the thick of things learning on-site. If you have the time and means, combining an internship with online learning could really speed up your transition to a career in the industry.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
Whether you’re in classes, an internship, or both, you should never stop honing your craft. There are online supplements for practising programming skills, audio engineering, and so much more. Absorb as much information as you can, even if it’s not directly related to your desired field. For example, if you want to go into game design, taking a course or two on game animation is a great skill to have some background in.
Finding a career in the video gaming world is a dream for many. Be prepared to study and learn, and don’t underestimate the importance of networking. Ready? Game on!