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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Gaming Career Resources: Advice from Industry Insiders

Resources for those interested in a career in Game Development.

On Getting Your First Job

Here are some recommendations for finding and getting your first job in the industry:

Look on both general and industry-specific job boards - Monster, Career Builder, HotJobs, as well as GamaSutra job boards.

Go to company webpages - Even if people are not hiring, you can go ahead and apply anyway.

Go to industry conferences - Many conferences have recruiting stations; Don't forget resumes and portfolio information.

Ignore the "must have experience” line in job postings - Apply anyway, it doesn't hurt!

Network - Getting your name out and building solid relationships within the industry is often the best way into the company.
Dress formally for interviews - Even if the studio says “casual.” It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. 

Monitor your online persona - Take down drunken Facebook pictures. Search yourself on Google, see what potential employers would see.

On Portfolios

Go minimal. Use best pieces, and upload right away. Make sure your name and phone number is on everything.

Have an online portfolio. Try to make it as easy and straightforward as possible and targeted to your skill set. Be aware of what the game company has done/is doing.

Portfolios for writers: It is better to have a bunch of smaller things that show versatility than one larger piece. Dialogue writing is crucial.

Show flexibility. Show that you can do, and have an interest in, different fields. Programmers float around between responsibilities while artists are more likely to specialize.

Show the PROCESS. Documenting growth can be an important component in a portfolio— it is not just about the end product

Show that you think like a designer. Expressing gameplay concerns and thoughts about gamer experience matter more than the details.

Highlight group experience. It helps to be able to show what you are able to do in a small group in a pre-professional situation, not just in school.

Helpful Skills

Here are some skills that you should concentrate on learning while in school:

  • Public Speaking
  • Fundamentals of 3D Design 
  • Mathematics
  • Problem Solving
  • Planning, time management, organization, structure, oversight  
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Lighting, use of space/negative space 
  • Studio skills
  • How to critique a work of art
  • Spacial Thinking
  • Linear algebra
  • Program engineering that is not language specific
  • How to recreate interactions in writing (e.g. play writing, dialogue etc)