woman remote working on video conference

How to get a remote working role in tech

By Verónica Miñano, Head of Talent Acquisition, Kwalee

woman remote working on video conferenceOne of the great benefits of working in the tech industries, and something that has been brought into even greater focus during the global COVID-19 pandemic, is the potential in these roles for remote working.

With tools like Slack and Zoom already commonplace, there are many opportunities for tech-savvy professionals to build their careers beyond the traditional office setting as employers become increasingly open to remote applicants.

This includes ourselves at Kwalee, as we have made a commitment to embracing remote work indefinitely following our productivity while working under restrictions related to the virus.

So if you’re looking for a role in tech but you believe that your future lies outside of the traditional office setting, here are my top tips for identifying and securing the right remote-working opportunity for you!

#1 Identify your role

It almost goes without saying, but even within tech, some roles are better suited to remote work than others.

In our experience of transitioning to remote work over these turbulent past few months, we have had some individuals and teams whose roles rely more heavily on in-person collaboration and they have been extremely keen to return to our office.

Others, meanwhile, have had very little trouble adapting and have enjoyed the productivity and comfort of working from home. This is why we have begun our foray into permanent remote work by opening only certain vacancies to remote candidates, and you will find across the board that there is more openness to working from home when it comes to certain positions.

Think about the tasks you are expected to perform every day in your job and whether you would be able to perform them as effectively in a remote setting. If you conclude that this isn’t the case and yet remain committed to pursuing remote work, you might consider switching to an adjacent discipline requiring a similar skillset, but with more opportunities for working from home.

Speak to friends or colleagues who have made the transition to remote work to learn more about how the nature of their work changed when they moved away from the office and consider whether you would be willing to make such changes yourself. An employer will want to know you have given serious consideration to this transition, so show them you are ready to take responsibility!

#2 Find a supportive employer

Just as employers expect certain things from their remote-working employees, you should find a company that will be willing to support you -- wherever you make your workspace.

For instance, while continuing to grow our team throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have been making sure to send any necessary office equipment to team members who need them, to make their temporary workspaces more comfortable.

Just because you’re not working at the office, you should not feel disconnected from the rest of the team! As a parent, I am 100% understanding of why remote working holds such appeal for some people and we want team members to feel valued wherever they are based.

Make sure that your employer is of this mindset and is prepared to give you the necessary support to do your job.

#3 Seek inspiration and start a side project

This one is particularly relevant if you are not currently working in the industry you’re pursuing a role in, but seek out role models who are currently working in your ideal roles and see how they use platforms like LinkedIn.

Look out for any insights they share on how they got into their positions and see what you can learn from them.

It will also be a big help to have a side project that’s more aligned with your desired field, if you’re looking to change careers. For instance, when hiring game designers we are always just as keen to see what they have made in their spare time as well as any formal training they have done.

This is even more applicable when it comes to remote roles, since having worked on something in your own time shows that you can be productive and motivated outside a traditional working environment!

Our team at Kwalee is growing all the time and you can find all our open positions, including our remote working opportunities, here.

Verónica MiñanoAbout the author

With more than a decade of HR and recruitment experience, first in the engineering industry and more recently in gaming, Verónica Miñano 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.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here

How to Get Into the Gaming Industry

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.

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

How to build an inclusive and resilient company culture

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

By Verónica Miñano, Head of Talent Acquisition at Kwalee

When I joined Kwalee back in 2016, I had to build our talent acquisition department from scratch.

Back then we were a company of only 23 employees; we are now up to 90 and growing fast, firmly established as the UK’s biggest hyper-casual mobile games company.

But when you’re growing at this rate, it’s very easy to change the fabric of the company in ways you did not anticipate, and to lose things that were previously important to your working environment.

This is especially true if you are making big changes like opening new offices, establishing new departments and creating more opportunities for remote working.

So here are my biggest pieces of advice on building a company culture that is resilient to these kinds of changes and that can survive even the most dramatic upheaval – including the events of 2020!

Identify and celebrate the pillars of your company culture

Company culture does not, and cannot, appear out of nothing. The first step is to identify what makes your company a great place to work and what employees already love about it, before enshrining these things as core values.

For Kwalee when I joined in 2016, the obvious example was how creatively everyone worked and the freedom people had to pursue their own ideas.

The clear way to develop this was to formalise this process to make it not only a fundamental influence in the company’s success going forward, but also something that could be used to embody our values as a company and set the standard for how we work.

Creative Wednesdays are now a weekly institution, encouraging employees of all roles and experience levels to pitch their own game ideas to the rest of the company. Those that find favour with the team have a chance to be made, and this approach has been behind nearly all of our global hits!

Not only does this approach filter through to every other area of the company in terms of encouraging new ideas and experimentation, it shows everyone that their ideas are valued highly – and that goes for prospective new employees too, who can see straight away from this that we are serious about these principles.

Our lunchtime pool, table tennis and Smash Bros. sessions are great, but these aren’t the things that build culture; it’s important to develop more lasting practices that can define your workplace no matter how much circumstances change.

Consider culture fit just as much as talent

We all want the most talented people to be part of our companies, but if you’re serious about building a company culture you need to consider how well an individual will fit into your team first and foremost.

An applicant could have the perfect range of skills that you’re looking for, but not be the best fit for the culture you have built. It’s easy to overlook this but a culture can begin to shift very quickly and it’s crucial to maintain this as you grow by hiring the right people.

Establish continuity to ease transition

Kwalee will soon be establishing our first overseas studio in Bangalore, India, and the first decision we made was that this will be the extension of our Leamington Spa headquarters in every way. While the official opening has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are already hiring in the region and will be opening as soon as it is safe to do so.

The two will collaborate as a single entity, with departments and teams made up of members from both Leamington and Bangalore, and the look and feel of the Bangalore studio will mirror that of our headquarters as much as possible.

Crucially, all employees, whether in Leamington Spa, Bangalore or working from home, will be eligible for participation in Creative Wednesdays and our generous profit share scheme. This consistency is key when attempting to scale a company, everyone will be happier knowing that the team is aligned, and it will be far easier to replicate success from an established blueprint.

These are just a small selection of tips, but the truth is that building and maintaining your culture should be a daily consideration! And if you like the sound of ours, our team at Kwalee is growing all the time and you can find all our open positions here.

About the author

With more than a decade of HR and recruitment experience, first in the engineering industry and more recently in gaming, Verónica Miñano 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.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here.

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The Benefits of Being a Diverse Company

Article provided by Jennifer Koch, Talent Acquisition Executive, Kwalee and Ambassador for Women in Games.

Team holding hands, diversityHistorically the video games industry, like others in the tech world have been predominantly male-led, however thankfully this is beginning to change and organistions such as Women in Games are making strides to achieve a much more diverse working world.

Kwalee is actually my first role in the games industry, and is one of the companies championing for a more diverse future. During my time here, and especially being so close to the hiring in the talent acquisition team, it couldn’t be clearer that diversity isn’t just a ‘number’ that companies need to get to, or a box to tick, but something that will bring about a whole host of benefits throughout an entire organistion. In short, being a diverse company is good for people and it's good for business. Here’s just a few of the benefits of being a diverse company:

Diverse Thinking Equals Better Business Decisions

At Kwalee, we come up with ideas for games as a whole company, during our weekly ‘Creative Wednesdays’ sessions, where any employee can pitch an idea for a game. As we have a diverse range of backgrounds in the company, (in terms of gender but also in terms of cultures, with employees coming from all over the world), this means that we can develop more diverse games and inspire more creative, well rounded thinking throughout the business.

Of course not every company comes up with game ideas together, but this diverse thinking can be applied to any business decision. Simply by having a more diverse set of staff in any meeting, the outcome and actions are going to be much more considered, as there’s going to be different perspectives at the table. It's something we see and encourage every day at Kwalee!

A Better and More Inviting Working Environment

Without a diverse workplace, how is someone from a different background going to feel when visiting for an interview if they’re under-represented. Employers could find themselves in a position where they want to offer a role to someone, but the individual ends up turning the job down, due to not wanting to work in a place where they feel they wouldn't be working alongside like minded people.

For the employees that are working for you, they will also be working in a much better environment. Diversity helps to keep companies and their staff open minded, and to take into account different perspectives. This also helps from a social standpoint too. Instead of social outings only being catered to a particular type of person, there’s opportunity for variety and for people to try new things and experiences and broaden their horizons. At Kwalee we have groups that go climbing together, play board games, host movie nights and of course play video games. It helps to keep things fresh!

Avoid Becoming Antiquated

Having different perspectives on things through a diverse workforce, challenges the business leaders to keep pushing forward and working with staff to make things better and better. I would worry that in a company without diversity, things could stagnate and become antiquated. With a diverse set of backgrounds, the business needs to make sure its catering to the needs of its employees to retain them. Things like flexi-time, offering work from home, not having a rigid dress code and more are all part and parcel of being a more diverse company, and these are all things that have been shown to boost productivity and company output. Businesses that aren’t doing this are getting left behind.

Greater Learning and Development

Finally - and this one almost goes without saying - how are you going to learn from a group of people that are just like you, have had the same experiences as you, and for the most part, think like you? Diversity is a major tool for continuous learning across the workforce, and with that, brings about a group of employees that are driving themselves and the business forward. Like I said, diversity isn’t just a box to tick, but a way to greater workplace happiness and success!

About the authorJennifer Koch

Jennifer is a Talent Acquisition Executive at Kwalee and has been working in the games industry for just over one year. In that time, she has become a Women in Games ambassador and is a major part of the great diversity seen at Kwalee. As a part of a fully female talent acquisition team, she is focused on continuing to champion a more diverse culture not only at Kwalee, but in the tech industry as a whole.