To Get a Job in Games, Show Off

Video game companies are sending mixed messages. Recruiters say they regularly run into HR determined to find the perfect candidate even if it takes months to make the hire. But the companies day there’s a dearth of candidates with the proper skill set and ability to rapidly ramp up to new technology. Then there are potential candidates, befuddled by the process. If you’re intent on a job in games, how can you even get a foot in the door?

Have ideas for breaking in? Share them in the comments below.

Ashton Anderson, CEO and producer at Lukewarm Media, an interactive, multi-media design studio and developer of Primal Carnage and Lightspire, sees a wide variety of opportunities for aspiring game staff, if they’re open to doing their homework. “When you’re able to break down all the pieces of what makes a game, you will see just how many skills and professions are required to create a single work,” he says.

Today’s game development is a medium that expands through art, design, musical scores, audio engineering, programming, business development, acting, marketing, etc. “There are multiple skill-sets that can be carried over to game development from outside the industry,” said Anderson. “A lot of people I know fell into it by chance. They started on an entirely different path and then wound up working in the same profession except with games as the focus.”

So where should you be focusing your efforts to break in? In this age of social networking and virtual communication, it’s easy to reach a game company or recruiting firm. There are dozens of community websites that offer developers sections to post qualifications and find job opportunities.

“The challenge is never ‘where to look for work,’ but rather how to figure out what fits your goals, skill-set and personal situation and to get involved by posting your work through multiple communities, and working on a mod/indie project to earn a developer credit, which is usually required to get hired at a studio,” Anderson says.

He also recommends starting a blog to express your thoughts and showcase your talents, suggesting that the best way to avoid being pigeon-holed as a developer is to expand your portfolio with multiple styles, themes and genres.