Using your degree skills in this sector
Job roles and responsibilities
There are a wide variety of roles and opportunities for graduate from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and non-STEM degrees within the sector.
Arts students might find opportunities around the design or creative aspects of the industry such as animation. Experience with design packages is often useful and you will need a portfolio, often online, which demonstrates your work.
You may also see writing and digital roles advertised within the industry. Some examples of relevant job titles could include Narrative Coordinator, Guides Writer and Community Manager. For all of these roles, being able to demonstrate an interest in the gaming industry would be paramount.
For programming and development roles, a degree in computer science or related subject, or substantial programming experience is useful.
You are likely to need a demo so that you can showcase your work, and knowledge of languages such as C++ is useful. A demo consists of a small number of work examples to demonstrate some project work or coding that you have completed. These examples should include some games if possible, and employers are keen to see some practical experience, even if this has not been within a formal work environment.
For descriptions of roles, the skills required and real-life case studies for jobs including animator, assistant producer, audio engineer and games designer, visit:
Creative Skillset - job roles and case studies
Other opportunities exist in producing or project managing productions, as well as more general head office functions for larger companies, such as marketing, HR or finance. It is estimated that the UK games industry spent £107m on marketing during Christmas 2014!
Further study options
Although not essential, having a relevant masters qualification may be helpful and can demonstrate specific development knowledge for the gaming sector.
Make sure you investigate that the course meets your requirements and also consider whether there is opportunity to develop business and industry links through the course, or to complete industry-related projects.
Skills, work experience and networking
Demonstrating your skills and qualities
The gaming industry is a competitive sector to get into, particular with the larger studios.
You must certainly have an enthusiasm for the industry, shown through work experience, shadowing or your own projects, as well as strong technical ability
You will need to be self-motivated while also able to work with other professionals in a team setting. Creativity and problem-solving abilities are key, as well as communication skills and the ability to meet deadlines. Ahead of project launch dates, the hours are often very long so flexibility is also important.
Graduate entry level roles
For many applicants, a good entry-level role is as a games tester. This involves playing games over and over again to identify problems or bugs. It will also be useful for you to gain work experience within the sector before applying, and developing a network of useful contacts through these opportunities along with events or projects is recommended.
There are number of recruitment agencies working in the gaming sector, for example Aardvark Swift. They will work on behalf of a number of studios, recruiting graduates and experienced candidates to a wide range of opportunities.
Games Jobs DirectGamesIndustry.biz
Internships and work experience
More games developers are offering internships, work experience or year-long placement opportunites to students. These may be advertised, but often only on their own websites, so it might be worth taking a proactive approach to locating opportunities by networking.
You might also be able to find opportunities using a speculative CV and covering letter, even if companies are not recruiting at the moment they may keep your CV on file.
East Midlands Indies offers a local networking opportunity for independent games developers.
Tech Nottingham also organise events and information evenings which students and recent graduates are welcome to attend.