For some strange reason, people seem to ask me how to get into the gaming industry. Maybe it’s because I play lots of video games and they think I’m in the gaming industry or know somebody in the industry. Well to set the record straight; I have no clue how to get into the gaming industry. But that won’t stop me from finding out about the industry and with that being said, I introduce to you my research on what it takes to get into the gaming industry. I will compile a list of facts from various reputable people in the industry and we will come up with some sort of a standard on what it takes to get into this prestigious business. Hopefully you the reader will learn as much about the subject as I did researching it.

Let’s start with some basics. In order to get into the gaming industry, you need to have some kind of love for video games in general. There isn’t a single company that will hire you if you don’t have some kind of level of respect or love for what you plan on creating. This also helps in an interview environment because if you plan on being interviewed by a gaming company, you should at least have some knowledge of the company and what games that they have created in the past. Another tip is to know somebody in the industry. The industry is a very tight knit group and usually employees rely on the word of a colleague instead of having to go out and interview somebody new. This saves time and doesn’t require any interview process and is much more of the case in the gaming industry as opposed to other jobs like accounting firms. Age and location are other factors as younger is usually better and the closer that you’re located to a gaming company will increase your chances at getting the job as opposed to someone who must relocate or move to get the job.

Other factors are less obvious and rely on many different answers to certain questions. Lots of people ask whether their amazing portfolios or 4 year computer school results will help them in getting the job-The answer is NO. Most employers certainly take these things into account but it most certainly doesn’t mean that you’ll get the job. For a job such as a Graphics Artist, a person who does doodles in the back seat of a classroom has as much of a chance to be hired as someone who spent 4 years at M.I.T. The employer looks at the person’s drawings and if they’re good enough for the job, then they’ll be chosen to work for that particular company. If you also have an impressive resume but haven’t done anything related to game work then your chances of getting the job are pretty slim.

This doesn’t mean that having a good educational background will get you nowhere but isn’t the magical key that most of you think will get you the job of your dreams. With that being said though, about 80% of people employed in the gaming industry have some sort of post-high school education. Experience is more important than education but a strong University education will usually lead to many chances to gain that experience that is needed to help you get your foot into the industry. One such school is DigiPen, one of the leading schools for gamers in North America.( http://www.digipen.edu/) There are also several other programs at this link (http://www.gameprogrammer.com/links/schools.html)

Another question that has been raised is what to wear during a job interview.

This question depends on the employer as well because some might see your sloppiness in clothing attire as a sign of a dedicated worker while another employer would see that as pure unprofessionalism. My advice is to be dressed decently but not too decently and certainly not sloppy. A nice sweater or vest and some cargo pants or proper shoes should be good enough. Another question always asked is about job interviews. I’ve already answered a few questions about that; regarding the love of games etc. but some other tips are to mention that you work well in a team environment and are able to meet deadlines. The gaming industry is all about these 2 important things because there are very few jobs where you work by yourself and you are almost always interacting with others in order to complete a project before the deadline is up. Another great tip is to start from the ground up.

Instead of applying for a more lucrative job, why not apply for something smaller and work your way towards the top? A great example of this is to get paid playing video games. Most companies hire game testers at minimum wage to play games and alert the company of bugs that they’ve found in the game while they were testing the software out. I couldn’t think of a greater job then to get paid to play video games. Some people might think that this is a dream job but remember that you usually get paid minimum wage so it’s not exactly that lucrative of a job. The benefit of this is that you can work your way up from that position. You can meet some people and perhaps meet the right people who can get you a better job within the company. Some industry people started out as game testers and are now programmers or graphics artists.

Another good job is to work in the mail room or become an intern. Interns are always being hired to do random chores around the company and would be much easier to know your way around the office environment and make friends with people in the industry. Another key issue is salary. This is another one of those non-basic questions and is something not usually looked upon greatly in the industry. Some employers might enjoy your honesty up-front about salary while others will frown upon it. If you really want to know the salary of certain gaming jobs, I recommend you visit http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/article_display.php?category=33 . You need to login to visit the website but it’s well worth it to see how much money you can make in this industry.

That’s all for now,stay tuned for part#2 sometime in the near future.

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