How to break into game development

How to break into game development: 12 ways to let you into the games industry.

How to break into game development. 12 proven ways to break into the games industry.

A very interesting question, we are usually asked a lot as a game development hub, If the door of the industry won’t open, how do you get your foot in?

How to break into game development: Getting your foot in the games Industry

Does the games industry seem like a walled garden with no way to get in? All you need is to be able to put your foot in the door. But how do you open it in the first place?

It is possible to enter the world of game development. All you need is a solid strategy that will help you leverage the right skills to get through.

However, it is time to stop looking for the ‘right way’, as there isn’t one. There is more than one ‘right way’ that can be used by different people with different skill set. There are many different ways to get your first job in a game studio. To find the best strategy, you need to understand how today’s professional game developers got their start.

Here are ten strategies you can use to get your first job in a game studio, along with examples of professional developers who have done it. It worked for them, and it should work for you too.

How to break into game development

i. Post your work ( demos, art, game designs, animations, etc) on focused discussion boards

Aspiring game developers can spend a lot of time lurking on message boards, soaking up as much knowledge as they can. But you know who else reads these forums? They are professional game developers.

So it’s a great way to get your work seen by game studios, helps you build industry connections, and can lead to job offers.

Stop watching other gamedev works and start posting. Interacting with other forum participants. Many of them are professional game developers looking to hire new people. You may even get your first job in the gaming world.

person using macbook
How to break into game development – Discussion boards – Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

ii. Start a game blog / youtube channel about the things that you feel you would like to work in the games industry

Sometimes game developers wants people very specialized on specific topics, and finding them is not always easy, and eventually could be hard to find.

If you start a game blog or an youtube channel about a specific topic in game development that you are passionate about, and the quality of what you are doing is unique, then this could eventually put you in front of their eyes.

In the past, some bloggers and youtubers were hired by game developers or game technology companies.

Be very specific and focused, but because a broader approach about everything in game development will not be enough to grab their attention.

iii. get a traditional college degree

Job offers from various game studios often state that a bachelor’s degree is required, but do not specify what the bachelor’s degree is. In many cases, it doesn’t have to be a games-related degree, as long as you have developed skills that can be applied to game development.

If you are skeptical, check out the various degrees available to get a job in game design. The educational requirements for game designers are as diverse as the game designers themselves.

iv. Get a job outside game development in a game studio

It takes a variety of jobs to run a successful game studio, many of which are not directly related to game creation. Even if you’ve never made a game, it’s possible to apply for jobs at a game studio in roles unrelated to development, such as information technology, tool development, or other support staff.

Smaller game studios have fewer support staff, so look to the larger studios and game publishers for this strategy. The larger the studio, the more support positions you can target.

v. Do an internship in a game studio

If you have skills that can be applied to game development, such as programming, art or sound design, you may be able to get a job in a game studio, even if you’ve never actually made a game. Not all studios have ‘official’ game development internship programs, but most are open to the idea of part-time, temporary or cheap (or free) workers who could help you complete your game.

Want to work in games, game studios are always looking to find people with lower fees/rates. so try to contact a game studio near your home place and find out if they are looking to find interns.

vi. Find open videogames projects.

Now a days, there are plenty of collective of people that have joined forces to create a videogame. They are usually not formalized as a company, and there can be geography dispersed. They will probably do a lot of social noise as to promote their games.

Try to find this type of projects and try to participate in it, because this will give you part of the experience that you will need to land a future job.

vii. Get a college degree related to video games

A couple of years ago, there wasn’t educational programs in the field of game development, now a days, there plenty of Universities that have integrated game design and game development offers, that are focused not only in the formal aspects of the knowledge but also in providing the students with a sound practical experience by developing multiple projects over the course of the programs.

A degree is starting to be asked by companies when looking for junior profiles as a way to filter possible candidates.

So this will probably be more efficient for younger aspirants than older ones.

viii. Get a traditional college degree

Job offers from various game studios often state that a bachelor’s degree is required, but do not specify what the bachelor’s degree is. In many cases, it doesn’t have to be a games-related degree, as long as you have developed skills that can be applied to game development.

If you are skeptical, check out the various degrees available to get a job in game design.

The educational requirements for game designers are as diverse as the game designers themselves.

How to break into game development
How to break into game development – University education – Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

ix. Working in a game studio as a freelance or external collaboration.

A successful game studio requires a variety of jobs, many of which are not directly related to game creation. Even if you’ve never made a game, it’s possible to apply for jobs at a game studio in non-development roles, such as information technology, tool development, and other support staff.

Smaller game studios have fewer support staff, so look to the larger studios and game publishers for this strategy. The larger the studio, the more support positions you can target.

Sites like Upwork of fiverr could be a good option to start landing some gigs in the game development space that will help you building your experience.

How to break into game development
How to break into game development – Freelancing – Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Pexels.com

x. Participate in as many Game Jams as possible

There are plenty of stories of people doing cool stuff in game jams and getting job offers or even starting companies , we have ourselves met a couple of people that were able to do so. The main advantage of Game Jams for this, is that they can also be considered as some kind of focus group where you are testing a part of your game idea, and check how people will react to it..

If you attend an arrested game, you will build your portfolio, develop the skills to work with a team under pressure, meet new people, and expand your professional network.

If you like game jams, they are worth checking out.

How to break into game development
How to break into game development – – Game Jams – Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

xi. Make and publish as many as games as possible.

Working for a game studio is a bit of a stretch: …… If so, you can make your own game app to boost popular multiplayer games.

Making a game requires transversal skills from Art, to design, programming, animation, storytelling, so getting all those elements to work correctly the one with the others will be difficult. So if you are able to practice in advance and start working with multiple people or teams to create and publish games, you will be able to get all the soft skills that you need to create games and especially great games. The more games you will be producing, the more practice you will get, and the more polished games you will be able to produce, which in turn will give you more experience and more track record to show to companies that you could be interested in working with.

How to break into game development
How to break into game development – Publish your games / Apps – Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

xii. Setup your own games company

Associated with some of the previous advices, if you are leveraging a lot in building up skills to develop your games, if you are actually developing and publishing them, then, why not trying to make a living out of it? It doesn’t have to be a full job, but some thing that will take a part of your day or night. The concepto of Moonlighting developer, is from people that works in a regular job by day, and then by night under the light of the moon, transforms into a game developer, fighting to get an opportunity of being able to fully dedicate to game development.

How to break into game development
How to break into game development – Moonlighting – Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

xii. Be persistent and don’t give up

Like much other things in life, growing your skills and getting a job in the gaming industry is not easy, quite the opposite, getting in the games industry is complex. Many studios will require a previous experience before letting anyone in, but if you are not able to work, how are you supposed to get that experience? At times, you may feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, or you may feel discouraged. We’ve all been there, but don´t quite, and keep focused in creating your high quality portfolio and gaining experience through all the possible paths that you could do, and that we have seen in the previous steps.

What do you think about these advices? Miss anyone? Why don’t you share your ideas in the comments section of this article. For more contents, check out our blog.

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