Is the gaming industry like a black box that is impossible to get into? All you have to do is walk through the door, but how do you open it?
You don't have to look for the 'right way', because there is no such thing as the right way. There are many ways to get a coveted job in the gaming industry. And to find the best strategy, you need to understand where professional game developers started.
Here are 10 ways you can use to get started in the world of gamedev.
If you're a novice developer, you're likely to be browsing thematic forums, following discussions and absorbing new knowledge. But, you know who else reads these forums? That's right, professional developers do it too.
That's why it's an ideal way to show your work to game studios, which will help you make connections in the industry and maybe get an offer to work for some studio.
Stop hiding, start writing. Connect with other forum members, many of them are professional game developers who are looking for a new person to join their team. That way you can get your first job.
If you're looking for a job and want to write about games or moderate a gaming community, the best way to get started is to just start. You will definitely get noticed.
Where would you be in a few years if you started now?
Many people ask "How do I get game development experience, because game studios won't hire me if I don't have experience?" The answer is simple: create a game, and then you now have experience in game development.
There are more free game development tools available now than ever before. Some of today's professionals created their first indie games on calculators. All you need to do is download the necessary software and start creating video games today, you can't have any excuses.
Of all the jobs in the games industry, the easiest to get is as a game tester. Why? Partly because most testing jobs don't require any professional skills or special training, so anyone can get the job done. It's worth considering that many testers eventually move on to other jobs on the game team, so there are always vacancies for a game tester in studios.
The games industry is full of programmers, artists, designers and other professionals who started out as entry-level video game testers. The thing is, once you walk through the doors of a game studio, you'll quickly and easily learn about video game development, and how game studios work from the inside out. You'll start to get into it, learn and grow. Get started!
If you have skills that can be used in game development, such as programming, illustration or sound design, you may be able to get a job in a game studio, even if you've never made a game. Not all studios have an "official" game developer internship program, but most are willing to take on a novice developer for a small fee (or for free) to help them finish a new game.
You want to work in game development, and game studios want inexpensive employees. Contact a game studio in your city and see if they have an internship available - it might be ideal.
There are many courses on 3D modelling, illustration, voice acting and video game development. There are plenty of free materials available online. You find free and paid online courses on skillcombo.com
But, simply gaining knowledge is not enough: "Gaining experience requires you to critically analyze your work and improve it. You have to get into the skin of a new player again and again, even if you yourself are very familiar with the level you're building."
If you've been looking at job postings from game studios, you've probably noticed that many of them say, "Bachelor's degree required" - but they don't say what the bachelor's degree is. In most cases it doesn't have to be games related, it can be skills that can be applied to video game development.
You can get a master's degree in computer science and work as a programmer in non-game software companies, and then get a position in a game studio. The key is to keep growing: "Technology is always changing and improving. Engineers should always be learning and striving to go beyond their technical field."
You can get a traditional art degree and then become a special effects artist in video games. There you can also start doing character animation and gain experience in 3D art.
If you're sceptical, take a look at all the educational streams that can help you get a job in the games industry. The educational requirements for a gamemaking specialist are as varied as the industry professionals themselves.
There are plenty of jobs available to run a successful game studio, and many of these jobs are not directly related to game development. Even if you've never had to do video game development, you can still apply to work in a game studio in a non-development related position such as IT, tool development or other support staff.
You can be skilled in database development and get your first job in the game industry as a non-game developer.
It is possible to be good at website development and get a job as a game website developer. Small game studios don't have as many staff, so focus your attention on the bigger studios and publishers. The bigger the studio, the more jobs, one of which you can take.
It happens sometimes that someone gets a good job offer after participating in a game jam.
A game jam is a gathering of game developers to develop one or more games for a limited period of time (usually between 24-72 hours). Game jams are usually attended by programmers, game designers, artists, and other professionals working in the field of game development.
We have included this point because we believe that this opportunity may exist, though it is a rarity.
After participating in such a jam, you will have at least something for your portfolio, you will be able to develop your teamwork skills in a tight environment, and you will expand your professional network by interacting with people who might turn out to be professional game developers. It may help you get a job.
Is "Persistence" a strategy? Like many things in life, developing your skills and getting a job in the gaming industry is not easy. You'll feel like you're banging your head against a wall - you'll be discouraged. We've all been there.
The journey into the video game industry will be through a lot of months and rejections.
"Those who get a job in the industry are the ones who, no matter what, keep playing their reel in spite of rejection. Constantly work on yourself and your skills. Every rejection you get should encourage you to work harder until, eventually, you get back on your feet."
Of course, it's not nice when your job application is rejected. But just remember that you have to fail before you can succeed - each rejection brings you one step closer to doing your first playing job.