Home Business Insights & Advice How to get started with a career in the games industry

How to get started with a career in the games industry

by John Saunders
4th Oct 19 1:17 pm

With the gaming industry facing a huge boom thanks to the rising popularity of mobile gaming, there are increased opportunities to make money out of a career in the sector. Here’s how to get started…

Start writing about games

If you’re keen to get a job in the games industry, a great avenue into this is to demonstrate your knowledge of gaming by writing about it. Start your own online gaming blog, sharing your opinions and findings with other gamers. This is also a great way to build up contacts in the industry, plus, you never know who might be looking at your blog and note your skills and expertise. You may get a job offer, an interview for a job or an invite to work on a gaming site, mod or app. If it’s what you love, then it’s never too late to start.

A notable figure in the gaming industry who became successful through writing about games is Julia Hardy. Through contributing to newspapers and magazines such as GamesMaster, Tuned and Big Cheese, she became BBC Radio 1’s gaming presenter in 2016, making a monthly show about gaming for BBC iPlayer that covers big gaming events, the latest releases and developments. She also fronts the New phone, who dis? series for O2, reviewing the latest phones and phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus 5G.

Know the market

If you know what ‘The Institute’ is, have raided various tombs throughout the years and have embraced being the Dragonborn, you might be on the right path to a career in gaming. Obviously, to have a career in the gaming industry, you need to absolutely love games of all different genres. You’ll need to be good at playing them, understanding who they are marketed to and why, how they’re played, as well as knowledge of the industry. You’ll be aware of previous classic games that have changed the industry, and have a keen awareness of the latest innovations in gaming, as well as their limitations and how they can be overcome and challenged.

Start developing your own game

Many people have successfully broken into the games industry by developing their own game. If you can, get the resources you need and start developing your own mini-game, app or trailers. You can use free sites online as platforms to showcase what you have created. Whilst developing, you’ll also be acquiring new skills that are valuable to game developers. You could also create or develop a mod for an already popular game (a very famous example of this is Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim, for which many mods have been created by fans and encouraged by Bethesda).

If you decide to develop a mod or game, remember to show off your skills and potential, as it could land you a job if a little luck comes your way. You can find ideas for mods and games to develop on discussion boards within the online gaming community. Note what people want to play and what is in demand. Remember that game developers also read those boards, so come up with something truly innovative and you might be onto a winner.

Obtain qualifications

It goes without saying that if you’re trying to get into the gaming industry, having the right qualifications is a great way to get there and progress quickly. Even if you are familiar with the professional software developers use, having a qualification or degree in that software will make you stand out from the crowd, and will show that you are a serious contender. Take courses and obtain qualifications in programmes such as Photoshop, Java and C++, depending on where you’d like your gaming career to take you.

Build up your contacts’ network

Gaming people like to stick together, so take to online discussion boards and social media and get involved. Build up your network and make contacts with those who are already games testers or programme developers. You can also attend conventions, fairs and other gaming events around the world where you can speak to people in person and make useful connections that could benefit your job hunt.

Become a game tester

Some who truly want a career in the games industry have to start right at the bottom of the ladder by taking up an entry-level position as a game tester, or becoming an intern at a game development company. If you are happy to spend a lot of time playing computer games, this could be a positive career move.

It does however take a lot of patience and perseverance, as you may have to repetitively play the same level or the same section of a game multiple times and test for bugs and other technical issues before the game can go live and be sold to the public. Those that decide to do this often learn how a development studio works while they test games, learning that they can make their way up the career ladder as opportunities come their way within a company.

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