Many of you reading this would love to get into the video games industry but don’t have any idea about how to get into it. We are going give you tips and advice on how to get into the games industry and what really happens on the inside. It’s not just about playing games all day. This is the first of a multi part series that explores the reality of getting a job in the video games industry and what it’s actually like working within it.
But how do you get into the industry? There are a number of ways. Work your way up through it by becoming a tester. Work in a related industry such as a video game store. Know someone inside a games company who can get you a job or get a qualification to help you. These are not the only ways to get into the games industry but are probably the main ways in.
So you’ve decided you want to work with games. You love playing games all day and just know you can do it better. At a later date we’ll look at what working in the games industry is actually like but before we remove any enthusiasm you may have lets go into some more detail on how to get into the games industry.
Becoming a Tester
This is probably the easiest way but also requires a lot of luck. You’ll need to look for job adverts for testers. Some developers put these on their websites, some use recruitment agencies and others just hire from the huge stack of CVs they receive each week. Look at what games companies and especially publishers are in your local area. Publishers are more likely to hire testers as they will have them working on a huge number of titles at a time. That doesn’t mean developers don’t have in house testing staff, but generally they’ll number from 1 full time tester to just a handful.
Once you’ve found what companies are located near by check out their websites and you might see advertisements for testers there. Alternatively check out a website like gamesindustry.biz where you’ll find all sorts of game jobs advertised. Also check local recruitment agencies as they may be looking for testers on behalf of games companies. Finally a speculative CV can work, if you have a good cover letter and are lucky with a position opening, you too can get a job working in the games industry.
Working in a related industry
If you have previous experience then you are one step closer to getting a job in the games industry. Maybe you worked at Gamestop or GAME as a sales assistant. You sell games all day long and whilst it doesn’t have much to do with games (it is a sales job after all) it shows an interest in games and you’ll learn a lot from chatting to customers and also finding out information from co-workers and game reps.
But you don’t need to have worked in a games store to get experience. Maybe you supplied some artwork for a friends iphone game? Or you managed a team at a call centre. What does a call centre have to do with games? Well you have to manage a large team to hit targets and the games industry is always looking for experienced managers to manage teams of people.
That just goes to show it doesn’t always have to be about games, there are skills that can be transferred. For example being a graphic designer will certainly help you get a role as an artist at a games company. Whilst working in marketing can help you become a producer.
Know someone inside the industry
This is tougher as you can’t just phone up Miyamoto and ask for a job. Maybe you have a friend of a friend who knows someone or your work at a games shop gets into contact with someone who works at a games company. Maybe you went to a game trade show and spoke to every person at a stand you could. Either way knowing someone in the industry will certainly help. They might tell you of vacancy’s before they are put on the website or they might know about a different company hiring and can put in a good word.
One tip, don’t harass people on facebook or a games forum and if you do chat with someone at a trade show then be polite and enquire about how you want to work in the games industry. If you upset the people who could get you a job you won’t get very far. Be polite, ask for information and let them ask you if they can help get you a job, not you begging for one.
Getting a qualification
This is probably the most costly but can also be the easiest. Many colleges and universities offer Game development courses over a range of subjects. From game design to concept art, you can be trained and taught how to work in the games industry. Many courses even offer a year of actual training in a games company. If you are going this way you will need money to fund it and also a passion for what you are learning. Developers will only hire the best with degrees as experience plays a major part in working for the games industry.
So make absolutely sure what you are studying is what you want to do and remember to practise practise practise as you learn. We’ll be looking at the pros and cons of getting a degree at a later date.
So that covers a basic look at how to get a job in the games industry but next time we will be taking a step back and giving you advice, tips and experiences of doing all of the above and how to put it into practise.
We’d love to hear what you think of this article and what you want to read next. So why not leave a quick comment in the box below telling us what you think or asking us questions about working in the games industry.