Apart from “When is Black Sigil coming out?”, the question I have to answer the most is “So, how can I get a job in the game industry?” So I might as well get that answer out once and for all.
First, a disclaimer. I’m nowhere near an authority on the subject. I’ve talked with several people in the industry, and I run a game studio that produced one game. That’s the extent of my qualifications. I’m not a HR manager at a big publisher, and there may very well be some tricks I’m not aware of.
Also, getting in the game industry is tough, and I won’t sugarcoat it. You’ve been warmed. This will probably be a series of blog posts - there’s a lot to be said on the subject. So…
Three Tips to get Started
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. These tips apply to everyone, even for other industries. But they’re worth stating nonetheless:
- Be employable: simply put, if you’re underage, or can’t legally work for some reason, you’re not getting in the industry. Nobody’s going to break the law to get you into the game. So that’s the first thing you should work on - get your work permit if you need it. Getting older by a couple of years takes time, but if you’re really sure you want to work in the game industry, you should see those years as an opportunity to make yourself a better game developper.
- Find out where the work is: don’t assume that you know where all the jobs are. Sure, you should consider relocating if necessary, but there are studios in small towns as well - and some of those offer really interesting positions. In addition, getting your foot in is the hardest part - don’t be too picky. If the openings are at cell-phone game studios, then that’s where they are. Once you have a couple of years’ worth of commercial products under your belt, you’ll have an easier time switching to a position more to your liking.
- Be the best candidate: on any given position, there are undoubtedly several applicants - and the big names have so many applicants for each position that they don’t even bother responding to most candidates. Get a degree if there’s one in your field. Create a solid portfolio. Get any experience you can. Do volunteer work. Anything to get your resume in the “at least worth a phone call” pile.
Hopefully that didn’t discourage too many of you. Next time, I’ll be talking about the possible career tracks you can take to get one of those cool project leads positions.