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Educational Feature: Entry-Level Video Game Designers

In the latest feature for GameCareerGuide.com, fledgling High Voltage Software designer Chad Kilgore discusses whether it’s really viable to get your first entry-level
GameCareerGuide.com, Gamasutra’s sister web site for aspiring game developers, has a new feature article that tackles the question: Can you get an entry-level job as a game designer? Some people have always believed that game companies would only want to hire experienced game developers into the design department, but given the right background and mindset, a fresh college grad really can become a game designer without first paying his or her dues in QA or some other discipline. Chad Kilgore, who was hired as an entry-level game designer by High Voltage Software, shares his own story of finding his first game design job. He was hired more or less straight out of college -- but then again, he studied a broad range of subjects and pursued game-related issues while working on his master’s, as explained in this excerpt: “[Kilgore] went to school at Iowa State University and spent six years there, completing both his undergraduate and graduate studies. He had a double major in computer science and English as an undergrad, with a minor in philosophy. The following two years he spent in the human computer interactions master’s program. While in the human computer interaction department, Kilgore helped build, and was a teaching assistance for, the game design and development course that the department then offered. Already, his academic pedigree made it sound like he was the kind of person the game industry might one day hire. Between studying English, computer science, philosophy, and human computer interactions, Kilgore had developed a unique perspective and skill set: He has a strong technological background, but also has advanced analytical thinking and writing skills. When I asked him what he thought stood out on his resume, he immediately pointed to his diverse education. ‘I think it’s because I was between disciplines and worlds.’ I asked him to explain his process of applying for jobs. ‘Unfortunately,’ he said, ‘I wasn’t being very intelligent. I was focusing too much on my thesis that I didn’t start job hunting until two weeks before graduation.’ He looked for job openings online mostly at sites such as Gamasutra.com and Creativeheads.net. ‘I was really searching the job posts, doing that a lot, but also looking at companies that I respect and admire and sending my resume directly to them.’ The hunt finally rewarded him with a few phone interviews, one with a company in California and a few others with developers in Canada.” The complete article, chockfull of Kilgore’s advice on how to land an entry-level game design job based on his own success, is available now on GameCareerGuide.com.

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