Friday, 28 October 2011

Getting Into Games: where to start...

So where to begin? This is a tricky question so I guess I'll start with the basics, namely core education...essentially this is one of the first things I look for when I'm checking out a CV of someone trying to break into the industry.

It's boring I know, but in my experience there is an inescapable fact that 99% of people who work in the games industry are pretty clever and have a solid education behind them...I think there's a solid link between creativity/imagination and raw IQ need the horsepower to drive the ideas and problem solving...

Not only that, but a solid education demonstrates an ability to understand and learn...this is an essential selling point for you in an interview when you're trying to land a job for which you have no need to be focusing on your potential and demonstrating how you will be successful in the role to the person interviewing you...

So between the ages of 11-16 (GCSE's in the UK) and 17-18 (A-levels in the UK) you need to be giving yourself a solid foundation in terms of core subjects such as Maths, English, Sciences (biology, physics and chemistry), and History...these are the solid foundations upon which you will build your specialist skills and boring as it may sound, get your head down at school, work hard and get some solid qualifications in proper subjects...

And by proper subjects, you know what I mean! Easy subjects that the dossers go for are fucking obvious to people checking out your CV...don't fall into the trap!

Additional subjects such as art / religious education / foreign languages / music can all have a part to play, mainly dependent on the field of development you want to get into...but make sure these are the sprinklings on top of your solid education pie and not the pastry and filling!

Beyond this point there are a multitude of options to look at...definitely topics for future blog posts to look at them in detail but the more obvious options include:

Higher core education
Vocational education
Internship/trainee schemes

But to sign this off on a positive note, if you are between 11-18 and now you're thinking that all you have ahead of you is hitting the school books then don't despair as there's additional stuff you need to be doing which is much more fun! This is the next week’s topic - 'playing games for gain'


rorofightthpowa said...

Doesn't affect me yet. I'm already in Uni studying CS, so I didn't find this helpful. BUT, it didn't apply to me, so obviously, xD.

Definitely looking forward to the next installment, and this is giving me a reason to go back and start into my portfolio again!

Out of curiosity, what would you look for in a games portfolio?

Strife said...

Well, I have to agree on this.
Since a lot of people in my country think that when you work in game industry, you got to play all day.

They didn't realize that we have to use our brain and knowledge to produce something. Knowledge IS important, but sometimes people tend to ignore it.

AngryCatBytes said...

I would agree with you on the importance of education. I feel it is often dismissed, particularly in disciplines such as art and design, where opinion is often that a good portfolio is all that is needed. Beyond the ability to understand and learn, I would say that a good education will also help to develop social skills and confidence, though this is more relevant to further education such as university. I look forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

Good job actually telling the world how it is. However, whilst I somewhat agree with your post I think that with the current state of the economy and the ever increasing availability of resources online, this is set to change somewhat.

You say a 'solid education' demonstrates an ability to understand and learn. I never made it through college (and thus uni) and that single line made me feel a bit worthless. Once I had left school, I tried 2 different colleges and got bored with both pretty quickly. Purely because I found their teachings were pretty poor. They seemed to be all about making the class numbers up and not the quality of the courses. Most of their IT/programming courses were 3-5 years behind. Also, it was a bit of a strain financially just going to college let alone even thinking about Uni. As a result I left and got a job at a supermarket and started doing development in my own time and generally self-teaching.

A couple of years on I got a job in IT Support, at a marketing company. After a few years, I moved into pure development by demonstrating my passion in coding (still no qualifications). and actually helped develop the software they used to manage over a million records (whilst still in my late teens).

From there I have grabbed every opportunity to learn as much about coding in my own time and to this day (10+ years on) I still don't actually have any *real* qualifications to back-up up what I do.

Right now I am still doing software development (for an actual IT company) and still really enjoy it. I have never worked in the games industry (would love the chance) but love to dabble in game development on various platforms (only ever released one game far :P ).

I know there are various roles within the game dev industry (designer, programmer, art, audio etc.) but in relation to the core message you are getting across in your post, are there any exceptions to the rule?

Are most companies in the GD industry about CVs or is there *something* else someone could do to raise eyebrows? I read somewhere that companies are just not willing to take risks anymore and that's why it's all about the CVs? Do you feel there is any truth to this?

Please excuse my ramblings and, most likely, amateur questions ;)

I will always push for the importance of education and do so very much with my kids and will do anything/everything I can to help them through it.

Mark Davies said...

Good stuff fella.

Inspired by this post, I wrote a post on my own blog about how to get into game design more specifically.

Enjoy :D