According to IBISWorld global research company, 241,389 people are currently working in the gaming industry in the US. And this number will grow along with the needs and demands of more than 2.5 million gamers around the world. That means this field is still opening its doors to newcomers. In this guide, we’ll discuss proven ways to get a job in the video game industry, career options, and basic requirements.
How to get a career in video games: most sought-after roles
The creation of video games is a complex process that includes concept development, idea visualization, technical implementation, testing, and fixing bugs before launch. Given the scope of work and the variety of tasks, it is no wonder that this process requires specialists of different profiles. And your primary task is to find your vocation among the top video gaming jobs.
Everything you see in video games, from environments to character weapons, is created by a concept artist. These specialists create the first sketches, select the overall visual style of the picture, and present their ideas to the designers and animators. If you want to get a job in the gaming industry as a concept artist, you don’t need advanced education. But you still have to prove your drawing talent and computer skills.
Game designers bring visual concepts to perfection by developing a storyline and drawing characters and props in detail. In addition to artistic skills, this job requires at least basic knowledge of programming languages.
Animation brings designs to life on the screen and engages gamers in action. Animators work with 2D assets and 3D models, combining art and IT technology in their activity through modern software. In this case, your technical qualifications are more valuable to the employer than your degree.
Computer Programmer and Software Developer
Developers create computer programs for the technical implementation of a design, while programmers turn a design into a set of instructions that video game systems can read and follow. If you are wondering how to get into game development, start by learning coding languages and earning a degree in computer science.
QA Game Tester
If you have been a core fan of a particular video game for a long time and want to get into the gaming industry with no experience, the tester position is just for you. Companies want to check out extensions or updates to their games. For this purpose, they hire gamers who know them firsthand. In addition to a deep understanding of the game’s features, you need analytical thinking and attention to detail.
How to find a job in the games industry
It’s one thing to play video games, but it is quite another to find work in this industry. According to JobMonkey, the average salary of its representatives is $84,000, which makes it an attractive career opportunity for many candidates. To beat the competition, get ready to go the extra mile. And the right job search strategy is half the battle.
1. Expand your networking. Fruitful contacts make successful employment closer in any industry, especially gamers with their developed and close-knit communities. Therefore, attend themed events like Insomnia, PAX, E3, or EGX, where you have every chance to meet recruiters and other game studio representatives. Don’t be afraid to start small talk and describe your professional goals. At the least, they will prompt you with an action plan for starting a career in the gaming company. At most, you can discuss up-close opportunities for cooperation.
2. Take part in game jams. If you have already mastered the basic skill set for your game industry job, become a member of the game jam. It is a unique contest where specialists of different profiles create a game from scratch in 24-72 hours. Game jams are held in various cities and sometimes even online. Therefore, you just need to check the current schedule of events. Some participants receive a coveted job offer after this challenge. Even if you fail to hit the jackpot the first time, you can include this experience in your cover letter for a job application. To make this document a winning one, you can also check easy service maker Get Cover Letter builder samples for your chosen position.
3. Help the employee find you. A proven way to get noticed by an employer is to promote your work yourself. If you are a developer, post part of your portfolio on forums, discussion groups, or job boards. The more users that see your product, the more likely you are to catch the right person’s attention. Another useful option is to run your own gaming blog with reviews, analytics, and recommendations. Such activities will prove your expertise and accordingly expand your career opportunities in the future.
How to get a job in the game industry
Start small and move step by step are the two main rules that can help you break into the game industry and lay the foundation for your career. To simplify your task, we will show you a few concrete steps that will take you much closer to your professional goal.
Upgrade your skills. Once you have chosen your desired role, it’s time to arm yourself with tutorials and video courses for your professional development. This advice remains valid even if you have a degree because technology changes along with employers’ demands. Therefore, the more you can offer, the higher your employability.
Build your portfolio. A folder with examples of your work speaks volumes and can become your trump card in the selection process. If your aim is a game developer position, try building some indie games to get started. Whatever profession you choose, you can always work on gigs. Often, startup companies post small tasks on specialized platforms and entrust them to newcomers. It is an excellent opportunity to find your footing, expand your portfolio, and develop a reputation.
Apply for an internship at a video games company. Internships often require you to work for free. But you will get more than money. First of all, you will adopt the best practices of a professional team and understand the game industry’s inner workings. Moreover, if you present yourself well during this period, you have every chance to continue cooperation with this company and move up the career ladder.
Choose small companies or startups. If you only send your resume and cover letter to the leading video game studios, your employment may be postponed indefinitely due to intense competition. In contrast, startups and small studios often need promising young talents. This is a real opportunity to get into the game industry without advanced skills and gain momentum. Besides, if the project takes off and becomes wildly successful, you will be one of the employees who stood at the origins.
Working in the game industry is a unique opportunity to create products for a multi-million audience, realize your potential, and turn your hobby into a source of income. Despite the industry’s growth and regular job updates, do not expect to break into it by accident. Remember, any career success is the result of self-improvement. Therefore, define your career goal and arm yourself with patience and persistence to achieve it.