Gaming is a massive industry, which is great because it means you don’t have to be a game developer to work in gaming. You could have almost any career that would suit an entertainment industry, because today, that is what gaming is. It is an entire entertainment industry to itself.
Of course, getting into gaming with a marketing background is going to be very different than getting into gaming from a developer or tech background. One is almost universal, the other needs hard skills to back you up.
To get into gaming from a tech or development standpoint, you are going to need to prove what you can do and will want to follow this guide:
Know the Available Roles in Gaming
There are so many great options when you want to start a career in gaming with a tech background. The biggest and possibly the most coveted of these options is as a game developer. Game developers combine their technical skill with artistic mastery and make a new world come to life, but not all IT roles in gaming have anything to do with game development.
By knowing the roles that gaming industries are hiring for, you can get a better understanding of where your skills fit and whether that role is right for you. There are so many great roles to choose from, and you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t explore all your options before you start.
Advance Your Skillset
It will never hurt to further your skillset in the tech industry. It doesn’t matter what part of a game you are designing, or if you are working behind-the-scenes at the gaming company itself. New languages and new developments in computer coding mean you must commit to an ongoing approach to learning.
If you are at the start of your career, then the best way to do this is with a Masters in Computer Science online. You can even specialize to give yourself a leg-up on your competition and, if the gaming industry doesn’t work out, make your skills valued across the board.
Specialize in data ccience, software engineering, or in cyber security. All three are absolute musts for those who want to work in the tech-side of the gaming industry. The reason why you would want to specialize with a broader standpoints, rather than, say, a game development degree, is simple. It means you have more options. Not only that, but gaming companies need data scientists. They need software developers. They need cyber security experts. You would be critical to their success as a whole, and you’ll have your foot in the door if you want to move over to game development later.
Build Your Own Portfolio
If you want to work in the gaming industry, then don’t wait to work in the gaming industry. It is such a large, collaborative industry that you can get started in the role of your dreams without being officially hired.
Game developers frequently work on their own indie games or work to create mods of their favorite games to show off their skills and to hone their skills. Game journalists start their own channel and write their own content.
If you are an IT specialist in cybersecurity, however, then it’s even easier. You could start applying to jobs right away, or see about providing services to smaller gaming companies to boost their security so that they can protect their IP and business. Take on clients and work on a freelance basis. Start small, then build your way up until you have a resume that the biggest gaming companies would drool over.
Other ways to gain relevant experience include:
1. In a Related Industry
Yes, it can be hard to get into the gaming industry, especially when you are just starting out. They want qualifications and experience, which is why if you are not having luck getting your foot into the door of the gaming industry, your next best bet is to opt for an adjacent industry. Entertainment, sports, e-sports – the list is massive.
Not only can you work in a similar industry, you could look for businesses that work directly with gaming companies. Motion capture, data security – the list goes on, and by working adjacently this way you can build up experience in the gaming industry by proxy.
2. Through an Internship
Who you know often matters in any industry, and the best way to start getting to know those in the industry or company that you want to work for is to do an internship. These internships can be very, very competitive but if you come to them with experience and skills that interest them you can blow the rest of your competitors out of the water.
3. Through Your Degree
Your degree will have experts teaching and guiding you, and you should see them as the core of your network. Not only can you ask if they know anyone in that industry that they could introduce you to, you can leverage your institution’s career center to try to get new opportunities that would never have been open to you otherwise. Never underestimate the power of your fellow alumni, either, which you can gain easy access to online.
4. Building a Network
Your degree is the perfect place to start building up your network, but if you want even more people specifically in the gaming industry then the best way is to start attending events. Even online events are a great place to start, as you can meet other attendees and build up an easy digital network that can help you later on.
Go to workshops. Go to conferences. Attend launch parties or gaming expositions. There are so many instances where you can meet people and get more involved in the industry. Use social media or LinkedIn to connect with these people and then carry on your relationship online. It’s a great way to naturally build up a network and get more involved.
Getting into gaming is the same as getting into any industry, the only difference being that you need to have the right skills. Complete a degree, showcase your skills on your own terms, and network in every way possible as you build experience in the industry of your dreams.
[Written By External Partner]