Roles in game development include: engineers, producers, designers, artists, testers, composers, musicians, localizers, marketers, community managers, customer support, IT technicians, legal counselors, business administrators, accountants, facility managers, HR Reps, Recruiters, etc. All these people come together to build an experience that the masses can enjoy.
The most job notable openings in the Games Industry come from AAA studios and publishers. But indie and support studios also have plenty of positions to fill as well.
Large AAA and support studios are mainly focused on finding specialized talent to satisfy the business and development needs for a big budget title. Smaller indie and support studios, are looking for talented individuals, employees often act in a more generalized capacity and fulfill multiple roles. Even though you might see companies use the same job title for their job listings, the duties and requirements for the job may vary from studio to studio.
Recently, more and more studios are starting to operate remotely and globally. So it is entirely feasible for developers to work from home and collaborate online, thanks to all of the tasking and collaboration services available today.
If you want a more self-employeed career, then it's totally feasible to make a living through contract work or commissions. It's very common for artists to freelance at either a part-time or full-time capacity.
Game studios are interested in hiring talented professionals to make a commercial product. The development team’s goal is to make a game that is fun and enjoyable. The business team’s goal is to reach as many customers as possible and to turn a profit from game sales, downloadable content, and/or merchandising. Games often take years to make, so there is always risk when bringing on new people mid-development.
Making games is a business, so studios want to minimize risk while maximizing productivity and potential profit. Therefore, a majority of the vacancies in industry are for mid-level and senior-level positions, with far fewer openings for internships or junior-level positions. Studios expect you to be specialized and already have the skills necessary to do the work that needs to be done. They will not hire someone that cannot prove they are competent for a role.
More and more people are studying game development through higher education or as a hobby. Therefore, competition is very high for internships or junior-level openings. For example, the acceptance rate for an internship at Blizzard Entertainment is less than 1%, so you have to make sure your application standout from the rest.
If you currently do not have skills to fulfill a development or business role, then you can work in entry level roles. These include game testing, customer service, IT desktop support, and various facility roles.
There is only one way to get experience, and that is by using your free time to develop your skills.
The Video Game Industry is an Entertainment Industry and you need to show that you have experience. Document your skills and accomplishments through your resume and portfolio.
The most straight-forward method of applying is to apply to job opening that is listed on a company's career page. If you are interested at working at a particular studio, but do not see a job opening for a position you would be interested in, then contact an individual at the studio or apply to the general job application. Making a personal connection with a recruiter or developer through email or Linkedin, may increase your chances of your application getting reveiwed.
Don't be afraid if you do not meet every single requirement in the description of a job listing. The list of requirements in a job listing is a recruiter's "Unicorn List", all the things the perfect candidate would have. But if you meet at least 50% of the listed requirements on the job description and you feel confident in your abilities, go ahead and apply. Companies still expect to train and onboard new staff, so itis more important that an applicant has the ability to learn.
At the Game Developers Conference (GDC), studios will actively be recruiting and interviewing candidates on the spot. You will want to come prepared and put your best foot forward. Be sure to come prepared with digital and physical copies of your resume, cover letter, and portfolio.
If you have an established network, contact your colleagues in the industry. People are always willing to help others in the Games Industry find a job, especially during times of mass layoffs at a studio. Don't be afraid to reach out to friends and associates to find your next opprotunity.
Recruiters will toss out any job application that doesn’t have a genuine cover letter and a portfolio of your past works.
Recruiters are looking for the right person for the job and who puts in the effort to make a personal connection. Make sure your resume, cover letter, and portfolio line up with or touch on the requirements of a job posting. Describe your abilities, talk about your personal experiences, and showcase how your skills would be a good fit for the job. Portray yourself as the solution to their problem.
Your Resume is a synopsis of your achievements through your work experience, skills, and education. Your name and contact info should be at the top of the resume. You may present an optional summary or objective section detailing who you are, what you've done, and why you are applying to the job. Work experience and education should be listed in reverse chronological order. The skills section can include hard skills, soft skills, or both. You can describe your skills by listing out accomplishments or graphical aids depicting your skill level. Education and academic achievements are usually placed at the bottom of the resume. You should keep your resume up to date as you make new accomplishments and advance your career.
Cover letters should be clear, concise, and to the point, written specifically to address the description and requirements in the job listing. Explain how you are qualified for the role and describe any past achievements that proves your qualifications. Describe your apptitude on related skills based on work you are currently doing. Make it clear that you have the skills for the job and can solve problems the studio might be facing. Show interest in the studio by noting the experiences you had from playing their games.
Tailor your portfolio to showcase your best work for the position that you are applying to. Do not show all of your work, and do not show work that is irrelevant to the position. Your portfolio is only as strong as its weakest piece.
Interviews should be a conversation between you and the interviewers. Make sure to ask questions to show you are interested in learning more about the job, the company, and your potential coworkers.
Attend local gatherings or mixers. Local gatherings are a great way to meet both hobbiests and professionals in your area. It's also a good way to start building your network if you aren't a professional in the industry yet.
Attend conferences with industry professionals, such as GDC. Get to know someone first, then talk business when the opportunity arises. Networking at professional conventions can greatly improve your likelihood to get a business or career opprotunity.
With the advent of social platforms, more and more people are establishing their digital networks on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Discord. Feel free to reach out to individuals on social media for advice, and join Discord servers to interact with other hobbyists or professionals in a more casual environment.
Main developers of a video game. Development may be entirely in-house, or some combination of in-house and outsource.
Provides legal, financial, and marketing support to studios. Expectation is that the studios abide by a production and release schedule.
Company that focuses exclusively on providing one or more services. Most commonly for Art Assets, Cinematic Trailers, Quality Assurance, and Localization. Some studios also offer general or specialized game development services.
There are many departments in the games industry than just game programming and art. But, there are plenty of other roles within a game studio that most people might not be aware of. Or, people might need more insight into what are the roles available within a certain discipline.
Accounting / Finances
Recruiting / Talent Acquisition
IT / DevOps
Art / Animation
Audio / Music
Programming / Engineering
Production / Directing
Supply / Logistics / Retail