You’ve probably been told by at least one person before that you spend too much time gaming, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that this can be the gateway into a lucrative career. At the same time, the process of how to break into the industry can seem like an opaque one when top designers and other big names in the field seem like superstars. Wherever you are in your current career right now, the tips below can help you break in.
There are many different jobs in this industry. It’s not all just about designing games. Think about what you want your focus to be, whether that’s design, animation, developing apps, programming, being an audio engineer, marketing or reviewing and writing about games. Keep in mind as well that like any other industry, gaming companies need to fill positions in departments like accounting and human resources. If your talents run more to the business than the creative side, you could still get a job at a gaming studio in one of these departments.
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree yet, you could go to school and get a degree in game development or a similar area based on what your main interest is. However, although a bachelors may be helpful, it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is in if you can pick up some relevant experience. If you already have a degree in something else, you might want to consider taking some classes in design, computer programming, audio engineering, animation or other related fields that will help you get your skills up to speed for entering the industry. This could mean needing to reduce the cost of monthly bills in order to pay for your classes. If you already have student loans from your undergraduate degree, you may be able to refinance them with a private lender and lower your monthly payments.
Networking online and in person at gaming conventions is a great way to get noticed. You can set up a channel online where you talk about games. If you are in school, get to know your professors and classmates, and join any relevant student organizations. You can also look for opportunities for internships or entry-level positions, such as game tester. If even these types of jobs are not available, you might be able to get in by working as a receptionist or in a similar support position at first. Once you get to know some people, get your foot in the door and make your interest known, it will be much less difficult to move into the type of job that you want to be doing.
Building a Portfolio
You’ll have more success in job hunting if you are able to produce a portfolio, and while this can include any coursework you’ve done, designing a game on your own outside of class is an excellent way to both build your skills and impress a future employer. This is a great way to stand out among other entry-level candidates.