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8 Careers for Video Game Enthusiasts

8 Careers for Video Game Enthusiasts

The video game industry has come a long way since the days of Pong and Duck Hunt. What was once an industry aimed almost exclusively toward children and teenagers has evolved into a multi-billion dollar entity comparable at times to the movie and television industry. The old mainstay that video gamers are just grown-ups who refuse to put away childish things has been completely obliterated by the fact that millions of successful adults across the globe consider themselves hardcore gaming fanatics. Furthermore, many children who grew up with a love of gaming ended up pursuing a career within the industry, proving nagging parents across the world wrong once more. If you have the talent, passion, and drive to dedicate your life to video games, you might find yourself working as a:

Video Game Artist

Remember when your teacher used to tell you to put away your sketchbook full of awesome cartoons and characters? Take it back out immediately. Every video game needs talented artists to bring the designer’s ideas to life by creating vivid characters and environments from scratch. Game artists also must be able to animate their creations in a life-like manner if they wish to immerse their audience in the world they’ve created. Harnessing your artistic talents to create video game characters can net you around $50,000 yearly.

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Audio Programmer

Audio engineers are responsible for recording a game’s music, sound effects, and voice overs. While this may have been a fairly simply task back in the days of the original Super Mario Bros., nowadays video games include fully orchestrated soundtracks and A-list celebrity character roles, so it’s no easy feat. Audio programmers work tirelessly to create the perfect ambiance throughout a gaming experience. Some of the most accomplished audio programmers can pull in over $100,000 yearly for their work.

Writer

Another position which used to be fairly straightforward, writing for video games has become much more complex throughout the years. Today, video game scripts can be thousands of pages long; and the lines aren’t cookie-cutter, off-the-cuff remarks, either. Writers have to create dynamic characters that react uniquely in different situations while staying true to the essence of their personality. They also are responsible for all of the documentation that comes with a game, such as instruction manuals and in-game menus. The best video game writers in the industry can earn up to a $200,000 salary if their game ends up being successful.

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Game Programmer

If you have a knack for coding, as well as a love for video games, you might do well as a gaming programmer. You’ll work to improve upon previously created engines to enhance gameplay through a variety of facets. While the artists have created the characters and their animations, you’ll be ensuring that the characters are playable and controllable. You’ll also create the artificial intelligence that makes interacting with non-playable characters as realistic as possible. If you’re able to make a designers ideas come to life through a computer screen, you could earn a salary of around $95,000.

Game Designer

Maybe you’re not an artist and you don’t have much experience with computer coding, but you’ve had an amazing idea for a video game ever since you were a child. As a designer, your job is to assemble a creative team that can handle all the specialty work and make your dream game a reality. You’ll describe the characters, the environment, and the overall purpose of the game, and guide your team as they work their magic. As I mentioned in the intro, game design is becoming increasingly complex; you’ll need a college education to get started. But you’ll quickly be reimbursed by the hefty salary you could end up earning.

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Game Producer

As a producer, you’ll put your love of video games in the spotlight. While you’ll definitely have to deal with boring office-related work like budgeting and project management, you’ll also be tasked with promoting your game to the “powers that be” within the gaming industry, as well as the most important people in the industry: the fans. Successful producers can make anywhere from $50,000 to over $100,000 depending on their experience and abilities.

Game Tester

Woo! You actually get to play the game rather than design it! Sounds great, right? Well, it’s really not all fun and games. Think back to your teenage days of working in an ice cream parlor; I bet you never chose ice cream for dessert on your time off, right? Unfortunately, being a game tester is less “having fun playing games all day” and more “inching your way around the environment, taking notes on whether or not you found a glitch in the system.” In it’s simplest terms, imagine having to “play” a level of Super Mario, jumping ten times in one spot, moving forward an inch, jumping ten more times, moving forward again…you get the idea. You won’t make much money, but at least you’ll be doing your part in the industry!

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Professional Gamer

But you definitely can make some major cash playing video games for a living. Of course, you either have to be incredibly talented or extremely entertaining to make it big. Creating Let’s Play videos has left some gamers with more money than they know what to do with. Competitive gamers can also earn hundreds of thousands of dollars through sponsored tournament winnings. So the next time your mom yells at you for all the Dorito crumbs and Mountain Dew stains on your couch cushions, show her this article to get her off your back…maybe.

Featured photo credit: rachel takes a break from playing video games with nick – _MG_3350 / sean dreilinger via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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