February 20, 2024

4 min


Juan Jimenez

Marketing Manager

How to get a job at a video game company in 2023

Gaming is one of the most exciting sectors in the tech industry, and for a good reason. With more than 3 billion players worldwide and projected revenue of $221.40Bn by 2023, game development has never been as thrilling a career path to pick as now.

The industry moving towards hybrid or fully remote jobs — forced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the paradigm changes it brought — also makes this more accessible than ever, with the number of global development teams rising.

Nevertheless, the question remains for many people: how to make it big in the video game industry? What's the best way to get that first gig in a studio and grow as a game developer?

Well, we're not going to lie to you: gaming making it into the mainstream means it has become a more competitive sector than ever. The vast number of available departments and career development paths also means you should be either highly adaptable or become a specialist in an especially desired position.

Fortunately, we can cover most of these questions for you!

Getting a video game gig: the basics

Networking and community are paramount when trying to break into any industry, and video games are no exception. Fortunately, these four ways will let you gain visibility and make strategic contacts in no time.

Gaming job boards and discussion forums are always fantastic first choices to grow your contact grid. They not only provide you with comprehensive knowledge of the field, but they also can supply a platform where you can upload your prototypes or early animation/art for video games.

Plus, depending on the forum's success or community size, company recruiters, producers or game designers will visit these boards frequently: either looking to share their input or searching for potential hires.

For similar reasons, entering into game jams and industry events is a perfect way to increase your reach and show the world your talents and skill. As the pandemic lockdown starts to recede and events become more ubiquitous again, this is a terrific way to build connections and even get access to entry-level jobs or internships in your desired area.

Of course, if you feel this is too much for you, you can always pick the Eric Barone route. Designing a new game from scratch and putting it on early access-friendly platforms such as Steam or Itch.io can give you a head-start in attracting those juicy first gigs in the industry.

There's also a more traditional way of joining the industry: earning a relevant college degree in video game development, game art, or game design. A growing number of universities and learning institutions worldwide are adding video game studies to their fast-track and course offerings, making it easier to get a certificate or diploma in this area.

As some of these courses are sponsored by gaming associations and studios, this is a highly beneficial way to get seen and lure contract jobs and internships easier.

Bear in mind, however, that this doesn't need to be exclusive to gaming-specific careers. As game development is probably one of the most resource-demanding and complex tasks in the tech industry, you would be surprised to see how many allegedly tangential degrees could land you a position in a video game studio. Graphic design, marketing, PR, and writing are becoming instrumental to the success of any given gaming project by now.

The next level: securing your first full-time gaming job

The usual entry point for full-time jobs in the video game industry is a quality assurance role, or QA for short. These positions not only offer the advantage of being fully remote in most cases — as you only would require an early access code or downloadable alpha version — but only require two things:

Passion about the gaming company you are applying to, and a critical mindset about how a game should look, feel, and work.

But the main reason QA jobs are the best starter job in the gaming industry is more strategic. There are few — if any — assignments so integral to the experience of game development than QA. Your testing process reaches out to the work of producers, designers, programmers, and even artists, and your feedback will show you firsthand what works and what doesn't when creating a game from scratch.

Specialised jobs — particularly in the art/visual/design spectrum — might require a different strategy. As these jobs usually ask for a portfolio or body of work in their application processes, we can't understate how relevant it is to devise a proper sample of your talents before applying for such roles.

Luckily, there have never been more ways to showcase your work than this decade. Portfolio review sites and artist-related social networks such as Artstation, 80.lv, CGSociety and ZBrushCentral are fantastic ways to put your work online, with some offering you plenty of customisation options to make your portfolio stand out from the rest.

Nevertheless, it's crucial to tailor your portfolio to the role's requirements. Jobs which demand stylised art will probably not be thrilled to see your hyper realistic character designs, and a position as an asset creator would love to see these fully realised, rigged, and functional if the game needs it. Put your relevant strengths to the job at hand, first and foremost!

This fact also rings true for game designers and engineers. Job offers for these positions often solicit to see vertical slices, simple game loops, or code samples to better gauge your suitability for the project at hand. From what we've seen, the most effective solution to these petitions is a personal website that can offer a lot of documentation and great storytelling about any particular challenges you confronted in the past.

Similarly, game engineers can also make use of programming and engineering-oriented communities, such as GitHub, Unity, IndieDB, and Python forums, or even social networks like the r/gamedev subreddit or Discord servers, to showcase their work.

When in doubt, you can always ask your recruiter!

There's always a straightforward option to things, and getting a job at a video game company is not the exception to the rule. Gaming-focused recruitment agencies have been around for some time — like we won't know! — and have become incredibly effective in getting the best profiles and linking you to the best opportunities in the marketplace.

Most of these agencies' websites have their own job boards for you to seek and test your mettle. Be aware that desperation and getting carried away are not good friends with the recruitment process: you shouldn't apply to every single offer out there, not even in an agency. Be honest and straightforward about your talents and current level, and pick only the jobs you know you're qualified to join.

Some agencies also offer CV or portfolio reviews from time to time, which could be tremendously helpful in ironing out your profile and getting you even better leads. Also, as gaming recruitment agency representatives are often seen at industry events and conventions, assisting such venues is doubly recommended.


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Page title - How to get a job at a video game company in 2023 | Haptic Recruit

Meta description - How to get a job at a video game company in 2023. Gaming is one of the most exciting sectors in the tech industry. We explore how you can get into the gaming industry.

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