Getting into the gaming industry – secrets revealed

With the connection between City University and the UK gaming industry continuing to grow I couldn’t miss out on the chance to attend a recent whole day session unveiling the secrets of how to get into the gaming industry. A heck of a lot of ground was covered by the representatives from Creative Skillset, Gamesys and Frontier (amongst others) but here are the top 5 things that stood out to me.

1. The role of the portfolio – a killer online portfolio can go a long way to getting you an interview. Make sure it’s kept up to date, is error free and looks professional. Feature specific games projects, ideally smaller less complex projects that you actually completed rather than unfinished more complex ones. Show the beginning, middle and end stages you went through to complete the project. This should include your thought processes and rationale behind the decisions you made along the way. Feature the range of capabilities you have by including a variety of projects.

2. The ‘exotic’ locations – tie yourself to the bright lights of London and you could be missing out on a whole raft of games industry job opportunities. In the UK locations like Derby, Leamington Spa, Dundee and Guildford have become hubs for the gaming industry.

3. The demise of the middle man – recent times have seen the dissapearance or downsizing in the UK of mid weight (100-200 employees) gaming companies like Eidos. The two main options now are 1) large software houses with massive budgets and large teams creating games for the games console market or 2) smaller companies focusing on the mobile app marketplace.

4. The passion for gaming – not only were the industry speakers at the event clearly passionate about the industry they’ll expect to see that in you as well. Use the opportunities in cover letters, personal statements and in interview to communicate what your passion in gaming looks like and what inspired it. You’ll definitely get to talk about the games you are passionate about but you also need to explain why they blow you away, not just the fact they do.

5. The rise of big data – one of the key skills shortage areas in the industry concerns analytics, aka how to interpret what the mountains and mountains of user information that is being generated can tell us about customer habits, preferences and opportunities. If you’ve got a knack for spotting patterns and trends in large volumes of data and modelling data (Maths students anyone?) the industry wants to talk to you.

David Gilchrist

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