The ‘Social’ in Gaming is Creating Tech Jobs

As social networking continues to redefine communication, social gaming has emerged as yet another, very popular way to play games. This exploding industry has become synonymous with social sites like Facebook, where Mafia Wars and Farmville grew from quirky online games to incredibly popular games.

According to a recent survey conducted by the NPD Group, 20 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 50 million consumers have played games on social media sites. Social games have also tapped into audiences that traditional gaming platforms have struggled to reach the study found, with 35 percent of social gamers being new to gaming and the majority of these players (53 percent) are female.

This popularity, coupled with the increasing demand of mobile gaming, has created a tremendous demand for IT pros that can work in social gaming. One of the biggest demands is for engineers who can maintain large systems, Mashable reported.

“We have so many people playing our games,” said Amitt Mahajan, director of engineering at Zynga Games, in the article. “We have unique problems when it comes to scaling our servers to handle the millions and millions and people that play our games every day, we’re looking for folks willing to learn and grow with us in scaling servers.”

Working in Social Gaming

Social games are made on strict deadlines with lots of pressure and long hours, especially at smaller studios, the article continues. However, these conditions also afford room for creativity and real ownership over the final product. 

If you’re interested in games, Mahajan said, there’s no better experience (or way to show an employer) than to start making them yourself.  Zynga’s Staffing Director, Florence Thinh said in the article: “Engineers, engineers, engineers! For popular web companies, finding a strong PHP (or) Flash developer is a hot commodity. Also, UI Designers.”

Jobs at video game companies generally fall into three categories: software engineers, programmers and artists/animators, as Dice reported. Activision, which primarily creates console games, needs software engineers who know C++ inside and out, who have 3 D math skills, and a strong computer science background, said Kate Ruddon, director of staffing for Activision.

Ultimately, though, it’s having a passion for playing and creating games that will most likely lead to a successful career in the video game field, social or otherwise, according to the Mashable and Dice articles.

However, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said while he is “hopeful” about social gaming, “monetization opportunities are still very speculative”, he told Gamasutra. Which brings to question the ability of smaller social gaming companies to remain profitable in the long run and the job security in social gaming. If Activision jumps in, a social gaming job might be a very good bet.

–Chandler Harris

Comments

4 Responses to “The ‘Social’ in Gaming is Creating Tech Jobs”

October 09, 2010 at 8:53 am, Joe Sumpter said:

Great article. The mobile and social sectors of technology are growing fast and have limited resources available. Investing time in training should have great returns especially if you target mid size and smaller companies. The monetization is slowly improving and definitely will be the key to these sectors. Not sure if the ad revenue is enough for companies with limited resources to enter these markets.

Reply

October 09, 2010 at 8:53 am, Joe Sumpter said:

Great article. The mobile and social sectors of technology are growing fast and have limited resources available. Investing time in training should have great returns especially if you target mid size and smaller companies. The monetization is slowly improving and definitely will be the key to these sectors. Not sure if the ad revenue is enough for companies with limited resources to enter these markets.

Reply

November 10, 2010 at 12:27 am, RJ Marsini said:

Wilmington, Delaware: Wilmington University is offering such a degree Bachelor of Science in this particular technology. It seems apparent that the gaming industry is not going away anytime soon. This has been big since the 1980’s and only getting bigger. Wilmington University is located in New Castle Delaware & Dover, check it out to see if the Dover campus has this. It might only be available @ the New Castle location. Don’t fool with Anthim (formerly the Chubb Institute) Strayer University, Devry & few others might offer it, but do your research to find out who offers this.

Reply

November 10, 2010 at 12:27 am, RJ Marsini said:

Wilmington, Delaware: Wilmington University is offering such a degree Bachelor of Science in this particular technology. It seems apparent that the gaming industry is not going away anytime soon. This has been big since the 1980’s and only getting bigger. Wilmington University is located in New Castle Delaware & Dover, check it out to see if the Dover campus has this. It might only be available @ the New Castle location. Don’t fool with Anthim (formerly the Chubb Institute) Strayer University, Devry & few others might offer it, but do your research to find out who offers this.

Reply

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