In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Ed Magnin, chair of the Game & Simulation Program at DeVry University's Dallas-Metro campus, gives a run down
of basic advice about game careers, including topics such as what it takes, career options and trades, and breaking in.
In his introduction, Magnin says that "because I'd like a job in the game industry" isn't enough to convince most potential employers that you're right for the company -- the most essential trait is showing a clear passion for games:
“Making games isn't for everyone. It requires a certain kind of person. You need to be:
* someone that is a self-starter,
* someone that doesn't need to be told every minute what to do,
* someone that can look at a job and figure out for yourself all of the subtasks you need to do,
* someone who figures out how to solve a problem
* someone who figures out where to go to find the solution.
* someone that likes to keep learning. Whatever platforms you learn to program now, you'll need to learn newer ones later on. If you are still doing Xbox, PS2 or Game Cube games, this year you'll need to switch to Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii.
* someone that sets goals and accomplishes them. Our industry has little patience for people who don't finish what they start.
The game industry is also looking for people that are passionate about games. Possibly because of the long hours many of us put in, we assume that only someone with the same passion would bother to put in the extra time it takes to get it right. My brother runs marathons, which is probably a good analogy. It is not enough to run 26 miles; you still have another 385 yards to go.
Passion is something you can't fake. I had a friend whose son with a PhD in math needed a job, so he asked me if a game company could use someone with his background. "Absolutely! Does he like games?" "No." "Then tell him not to waste his time applying." One of the most important questions almost all game companies ask in their interview is "Which games do you like and why?" If they think you're faking it, they ask you "Which games did you play in the last week and how many minutes did you spend playing each?" Once you've named a game or two, they'll ask you how far you got, or which level you liked best. Of course, it would be nice if you also were excited about their company. "Why do you want to work for us?" "Because I'd like a job in the game industry" doesn't explain why you've selected them from all of the other companies out there to you could have sent your resume to. ”
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature on the subject
, with more from Magnin on breaking into the industry, including his bottom line - 'the money is good but there's lots of hard work' (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).