Turning your gaming hobby into a career

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The global gaming market is booming and there is currently a shortage of game designers and coders so there has never been a better time to turn a passion for Nintendo and PlayStation into something more fulfilling and financially rewarding. Whether you dream of becoming a programmer and creating exciting new worlds or want to take your social video streaming talents to the next level, there are an abundance of job opportunities in the gaming industry.

Fortunately, there is no set path to forging a career in gaming. You could opt to take the traditional route at college and university or go it alone immediately and create a game using crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. However, you should consider a few things before taking the leap into the world of video games.

Making the transition – pros and cons

Transitioning your gaming hobby into a full time and well paid career can be a daunting prospect, but it is possible. If you believe it is the right time in your personal and professional life to make the leap, you love gaming, have persistence to turn a dream into a reality and the right attitude to make it work, then you have every chance of making the switch a success.

The most important question you have to ask yourself is whether you will actually enjoy turning your passion for gaming into a daily job. There will be times when it will be frustrating and difficult, and it may take the fun out of something you once dearly loved. Some other factors to consider include whether you make money while you learn, are you ready to sell yourself and your skills and could you cope with criticism and challenges?

Skills and qualifications

Earning a degree at a university isn’t a prerequisite for a job in the gaming industry but it does help. It may be best to first research the type of role you want to occupy within the industry and then work towards gaining the skills and qualifications you need to meet the job spec. However, it is entirely possible to be a self-taught gaming professional as many workers have learnt skills and gained other knowledge via online resources and by practicing at home. Programming knowledge in languages such as C++ and Java are essential for game developers.

Apply for jobs

Using a permanent technology recruitment enterprise is the best way to find a dream role in the gaming industry. You are unlikely to have a wealth of industry experience to begin with, but it is important to apply for a range of jobs anyway. The “number one skill” employers look for is the ability to debug, fix and extend existing code, according to director of game programming for Creative Kingdoms, Allison Salmon. Working at both small and large gaming companies has its benefits so don’t worry about where exactly you should start.

Build a portfolio

Establishing an online presence is a great way to highlight your skills to prospective employers. If you want to develop video games, start small and attempt to complete a finished product within a week and include the details in an online portfolio. Steadily building this personal collection can help you to get ahead and become established in the industry.

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