Article provided by Veronica Minano, Talent Acquisition Manager at Kwalee.

Female GamersIt’s long been perceived by many that it’s tough to get a job in the games industry.

We even found in a new study that video games rank in the top 10 of what are seen as being the most difficult industries to get a role in, with over a third (36%) of the general working population classing the games industry as ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to break in to.

As a woman looking into what has historically been a male dominated world, this barrier to entry can seem even higher. However thankfully, I’m here to say that with many studios, this isn’t actually the case! But being extremely close to the hiring process at Kwalee, there are some things you can do to boost your chances of getting a job in this exciting industry.

Seek Relevant education

This goes without saying, but this is an industry where further education can make a real difference. Find a course that will help you develop your skills in your area of interest within the industry (game development, game design, game art, marketing, data analytics, etc.).

The entire course doesn’t have to be specifically focused in gaming, but you need to make sure it gives you enough understanding of how the knowledge gained would apply to the world of gaming. Especially where programming based roles are concerned, building experience and knowledge through education can be a great starting point.

Be Passionate

An education is one thing, but in such a competitive industry where almost everyone working in it has an actual passion for gaming, you need to have that passion too. Whether it’s a role in marketing or game development you’re looking for, you need to be passionate about the subject matter, and the best employees often are gamers, as this passion shows through in their work. It’s a major ingredient in creating great games!

Get Stuck into Personal Projects and Game Jams

Following on from the two above points, you can bet that the people you’ll be up against in the hiring process will have a portfolio of work whether they’ve just come out of university, or have some work experience.

You can do the same by improving your current skills by experimenting with personal projects and getting involved in as many game jams as possible. These are invaluable, as they will give you great experience on understanding how to create a game as a team with tight deadlines, and again, enable you to show just how passionate you are about gaming.

Network, Network, Network

This is a small industry, one where people tend to move about a lot, and one where good contacts can make a difference. So whether it’s on the likes of LinkedIn or at events (preferably both), take the opportunity to go meet as many people as you can, get on their radar and to stay in touch.

Be Open to Learning New Things

The people that go the furthest in this industry are those that are constantly trying to take on new information and aren’t closed off under the belief that they ‘know all there is to know’. Be the same, and don’t be afraid to experiment, to try new tools, adapt and use what you already know to improve. Being able to show how you’ve developed skills off your own back will go a long way to helping too!

Be Open About the Opportunities Available

Similar to being open about learning new things – make sure you don’t set yourself up for failure by only considering AAA studios or specific types of role when looking to get your first job in the industry. Smaller or lesser known studios can bring great opportunities for personal development, and there could be other roles/areas that you’re not considering that you could end up enjoying more than what you’re focusing in on. Be as open as possible when looking to enter the industry, as you’ll truly find out what works for you once you join!

Try to Stand Out From the Crowd

There’s no escaping the fact that there’s a lot of competition to break into the industry as it’s a desirable space to work in, which means you need to go the extra mile to stand out. Alongside tactics I’ve already mentioned such as building your portfolio and networking, think about what other value you could add. Spend time developing a more creative CV that will stand out from the standard word docs, start your own YouTube channel covering your game dev learnings, or enter competitions with your work. In the modern world, there’s so much at your disposal, be sure to use it to stand out.

Play Lots of Games!

If you’re a gamer, this one will come naturally, but it makes a big difference. Don’t only play them though, but try to understand them from a working point of view too. For example, how certain features might have been made, what the designers are trying to say with art styles and so on. The games you love to play will no doubt come up in the interview, so having this added lens on them will show you’re not just a player, but someone who understands the art of making games too.

Finally, don’t give up and don’t feel intimidated! Job hunting can be difficult and disheartening at times, but if you really want to break into the gaming industry it will happen, it’s just a matter of when. Plus, while there isn’t an even split of men and women in many gaming companies, in my experience everyone is like-minded and there’s nothing to be concerned about. Once you’re in, you’ll never want to leave! Why not start by taking a look at the roles we have on offer at Kwalee?

Veronica Minano About the author

With more than a decade of HR and recruitment experience, first in the engineering industry and more recently in gaming, Veronica Minano has built Kwalee’s Talent Acquisition team from scratch and has overseen the company more than tripling in size in less than four years. She is passionate about how different personalities and skill-sets can be best combined to create a harmonious and creative working environment.