This article was sponsored by the Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia.
I would bet almost every video game lover has considered a career in the industry at some point. Whether it’s the level of the industry in their hometown or just not having the right skills, most tend to write off the idea entirely.
Whatever the case, there are many ways to get into the industry and not all of them require lengthy training or coding skills.
The way I see it, there are two lines of thought here.
Look at the obvious
Making video games is an art and if you want to run with the artists you need to have the right skills. The good news is that there are so many ways to learn these skills.
The first question to ask is what aspect of video game production do you want to be involved in? If you are good at math and enjoy coding logic, the programming side of development is exactly your ally. On the other hand, you may be more interested in game strategy, environmental design, or character design. Or maybe you want to learn a little bit of everything. Go wild.
The Australian game development industry is definitely growing. Do I have to remind you of the insanely successful Untitled Goose Game or Crossy Road?
Once you have the skills you need, they can be used even if they are only in your bedroom. There’s no way to sugar coat it – the industry is very competitive, so putting a leg up is a great way to put a leg up, even if it’s your own creations. By taking the courses offered by Billy Blue, you can take part in work-integrated learning like internships or live letters, immerse yourself in the industry, and learn how to develop games on massive platforms like PlayStation.
In fact, internships or networks built while in college are often the way Billy Blue graduates get their break.
You can also check out resources like the GDC vault and learn from local veterans how they work and how they solve real-world problems.
Look outside of the obvious
The video game industry is a fucking giant, valued at nearly $ 159 billion worldwide. Something this size not only runs from studios that make games, but has many, many moving parts that require all kinds of people, skills, and expertise.
There’s marketing, project management, music composing, sound design, public relations, and other areas that fit both in and outside of the gaming industry. Hell, Unreal Engine 4 was used to create The Mandalorian Series that is a great example of games that go beyond gaming.
I say there is a high chance that you already have some skills that one way or another could bring you to the industry. And if your main goal is to get into the creative side of things, get your foot in the door, and learn the industry in a gaming-related role while you study, this is not a bad way to get things going bring to.
To use myself as an example, I always wanted to do something with video games, but because the industry was much smaller when I left high school and almost didn’t exist in Australia, I decided against it. I worked in a number of average IT jobs and eventually decided I wanted to do something that was relevant to my passions – games and music. I didn’t really have the skills to make games and my band would never “make it” so I decided to start writing. That way I could write about my two passions.
After a year of freelance work while still working full time, I had built a portfolio that allowed me to completely change my career and eventually end up where I wanted to be – writing about the things I love. Hell, I was even lucky enough to make a couple of trips to E3 which was a real bucket list item for me.
What I mean to say is that there is a job in the industry for anyone who wants it. All you have to do is figure out what you can do and how to use it to get there. And if you need to educate yourself, no sweat. There are tons of ways to acquire the skills you need to work in the middle of the industry, whether it’s game-specific programming or design.
And then of course you make a living streaming or pro, which is much easier said than done these days. I would say start this as a hobby and see how you go about it before you make any plans to quit your job.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can do almost anything you want to do, you just have to want it bad enough to take the steps.