February 20, 2024

4 min

Video Game Industry

Juan Jimenez

Marketing Manager

How to Set Up an Internship Program

The remarkable rise of the video game industry over the past two decades is causing more and more people to consider working in it. The fastest-growing sector in the entertainment industry is attracting more and more capital and job security for those who choose to take this path.

These conditions have naturally caused a significant educational infrastructure to rise around the desire to become a video game developer. Several universities and colleges now offer diplomas and degrees in video game creation and related software; meanwhile, online schools and learning websites have followed suit with courses and specializations you can undertake at home.

However, the transition from the classroom to the office can still be cumbersome. The market can be very competitive for some vacancies, and the lack of sufficient internship programs and fast-track courses in the video games business makes finding a first opportunity in it confusing for many people.

Fortunately, during our career as aspiring partners, we have worked with several studios that have spearheaded the gaming partnership wave. In this article, we'll talk about all the things necessary for you to organize and launch a successful internship program at your company.

Establish clear goals, processes, and leadership around the program.


Before setting up an internship program, the vital first step for your studio's decision-makers is determining what they want to open it for in the first place. Do they want to do it to support an educational institution through their networks? Do they want to do it to create a pool of future talent and support your human resources team? Is the initiative part of an inclusion and diversity program within your company?

The answers to these questions will determine how you will structure your internship program. And so will the staff you will need to hire or assign to support your internship program.

Ideally, the studio should employ an internship coordinator fully dedicated to the project. This leader should implement the internship program, supervise its support employees, and clarify the interns' questions and requirements during the interview and selection process.

Depending on the studio size and auditions around the project, this coordinator may require hiring a specialist from scratch. If increasing your company's diversity and inclusion rates and enhancing your studio's corporate culture is the objective, choosing an expert in the matter is paramount.

Most of these programs, however, are usually led either by one of the C-level employees, the Head of human Resources, or the Director of Talent & Culture. It is a matter of allocating their direct responsibilities to the company with the time they need to devote themselves to the project.

Once the internship coordinator is in place, it is up to the company's decision-makers to choose the mentors who will guide and inspire the interns in their positions. This choice also depends on the objectives of the internship program and which areas of the firm they will be working for. Nevertheless, it is generally not recommended that area managers be mentors themselves. 

Being fresh admissions to the company, interns will go through peak emotions and tension thanks to the rush of competition with their peers; therefore, junior or mid-level employees with whom they can most identify often are the right choice.

It is also possible for a lead to take on this responsibility as long as they have the time and space to do so and are in constant communication with the project manager.

Finally, all studio staff must be 100% geared up and prepared in advance to accept and take on interns as part of the studio and be willing to share their responsibilities and workload with them. Ultimately, as long as the internship period is active, interns are and should be seen as an employee of the studio with the same duties and goals as everyone else.

Be a magnet for the best interns in the market.


Once the studio has assigned oversight responsibilities for the internship program and defined its primary goals, it is time for the hard work: luring the human capital that will be part of the program.

Although the initial conditions this may vary from country to country and depending on the size of the studio and its capacity to take on internships, generally speaking, the program coordinator should build bridges with:


- Universities and colleges offer technology and game development diplomas.

- Code bootcamps.

- Gaming-specialised press and websites.

- Non-profit organisations and associations that support the video games industry.


These alliances should be in place for several reasons. The most obvious one: the vast majority of your internship program's target audience will be related to these organizations and institutions in one way or another. Therefore, this is where the program's official presentation and its respective marketing and awareness-raising campaign will be most successful.

Moreover, establishing close collaboration with NGOs and advocacy and outreach associations will allow youto finely tune the legal, organisational and human details behind your program. Finding minority or underrepresented groups and communities, establishing dialogues with these communities, and moderating your internships to make them more inclusive is much easier when you rely on experts and volunteers in the field.

This advice should also touch on a fundamental issue: internship payment. A paid internship will attract much more attention than an unpaid, voluntary one, and most national and regional labour laws in all countries are moving towards making this entry into the workforce a mandatory paid one.

The internship payment figures depend on several factors:


- Legal frameworks, such as the country’s minimum wage and the allocation of internship work hours

- Auxiliary arrangements for interns, e.g. relocation and housing expenses, transportation, and food coverage

- The position or division of the study to which interns apply and the internship duration


These aspects, of course, make budgeting and planning beforehand vital to the success of the internship program. The studio’s decision-makers should consequently ensure that its budget is healthy enough to accommodate the needs of as many interns as they have decided to nurture and invite in the first place.

Another substantial thing to take into consideration is how internship applications will work.

Imparting and disseminating your studio's corporate culture from the moment you contact your future interns and invite them to apply to your program is essential. Making interns feel safe, included, and accounted for means highlighting everything that makes your studio a great place to learn, grow, and train as a game developer.

It is also essential to include relevant data, such as starting and ending dates, precise job descriptions, and how a potential intern’s journey will look from beginning to end. Finally, you should consider how to filter applications if the numbers are higher than anticipated: will you ask for cover letters? Will you test candidates based on their compatibility with your corporate values?

A successful internship means everyone wins.


Once the interns are officially assigned, the internship program is well on its way to success. Indeed, if the planning and previous screening were sound, you will have new, fresh, and eager-to-learn minds within your company.

The next step is identifying and taking advantage of learning opportunities that can continually educate and train these interns. Internships are often open to QA testers and producers as roles that cut across the entire video game production chain; however, internships for art and programming positions are also seeing significantgrowth, especially with studios that deal directly with boot camps and art institutions.

As a general rule, an internship programme should ensure that its interns are ready to take on a work placement role, and this is just as true in the games industry. However, what happens when the internship program ends?

The answer to this question will depend strictly on the goals set at the beginning.

If the program aims to recruit new talent for the studio, it should consider future vacancies for each. It should also provide the interns with all the information and practice necessary to transition to permanent employment.

If, on the other hand, the studio’s fully staffed or cannot onboard new talent, interns should leave the internship program with all the necessary documentation and support to be recommended to other studios or to make the next steps in their career as smooth as possible.

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