There are several different careers in gaming that you can pursue. You might want to develop games. You might work more on the storytelling side, or your role may be a more technical one. Perhaps you want to be a professional gamer, someone who is paid to play the product itself. Whatever interests you about this career path, the tips below can help you break in.
Do You Need College?
Not every position in the industry requires a college degree. In fact, if you’re enough of a superstar, you might not need any kind of formal education. On the other hand, a degree is a requirement for an entry-level job in some environments, and you can also gain a lot of knowledge from getting a degree. Some schools actually offer degrees in game development and similar subjects. If you’re tempted to skip this step because you don’t want to cover the high costs of college and you’re worried about student loan debt, consider looking into scholarships. There are scholarships for college available in large and small amounts, and you can search and apply for them online.
What Position Do You Want?
Do you want to write scripts? Would you prefer to program, test for user quality, or create artwork? Maybe you’re an aspiring actor who wants to voice characters. You might even be someone with a passion for gaming who simply wants a career in the industry even if doesn’t directly involve working on the products themselves, meaning that you might work in human resource or accounting. Of course, there’s also the possibility of streaming or playing competitively, although these might be the most difficult routes to success in an already difficult sector. Having a clear idea of the path you want to pursue will be important in making choices as you move forward.
Networking is important in many different industries, and gaming is no exception. The great news is that it’s easier in gaming than many other industries because conventions are so accessible. You may find yourself chatting casually to big-name developers or players. If you’re worried that this is a shallow approach to meeting people, think in terms of building relationships over time. Don’t be shy about discussing your own ambitions. You never know when an opportunity might present itself.
Tips for Breaking In
The gaming world can feel like a closed shop in some instances. You might have some great ideas for art, storytelling, or design, but you might also be struggling to get anyone else to pay attention to your ideas. Sometimes you must get your foot in the door any way you can, and working as a tester or in quality assurance can be one way to do that. You may also have the opportunity to find out about openings before anyone else outside the company does. You’ll be a known quality to the company at that time, so you may have an advantage over any outside applicants.
Internships can be another great way to break in, and it’s also one of the advantages of getting a degree since a number of internships are open to college students. If you do land an internship, keep in mind that it might not involve doing the most interesting work in the company. However, by displaying a good attitude and a willingness to work hard, you may be able to make connections and eventually land a full-time position.
Going in Alone
This is a bit of a misnomer as taking this approach does not necessarily preclude following the above pathways as well. Whether or not you do, you can also take your own pathway to some extent. You can start streaming on your own if you’re interested in that aspect of the industry. You can work on building a social media following and networking with others online. You can also work on developing your own indie game.