Speak Up, DigiPen!

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You are the Future of Video Games!

Be proud – you are the future of video games!

If you found this, it’s because you attended my September DigiPen talk about interviewing in the game industry. Thanks, and Welcome!

This is a secret page. It’s your place to ask me about interviewing, jobs, studios – whatever freaks you out or tickles your curiosity about the game industry. Just ask below. I’ll either answer it right there – or even write an article about it!

I want to hear from you. Ask me anything.

Thanks again.
Jason

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3 comments on “Speak Up, DigiPen!
  1. Jessica says:

    How important is a degree vs a portfolio when applying for an art position? I’ve heard very polarizing opinions on that front.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Jessica, great question.

      You may have heard polarizing opinions because it’s a false dichotomy – in reality it’s not an “either/or” situation. One way to boil it down is this: Could you get a job with a great portfolio and no formal education? Most likely, yes. Could you get a job with a formal education and a weak portfolio? It would be difficult.

      Having a formal education helps. A lot. When a hiring manager sees your art degree, she can make certain assumptions. She can assume that you have follow-through. That you’re serious about your career choice. That you can take direction and work in a collaborative environment. Also, that you speak the vocabulary of a professional artist and have stretched your skills and styles in directions that you otherwise may not have tried.

      What does having an art degree not mean? It does not mean that you’re talented. The truth is that art schools (like most schools) are businesses. And it’s not great for business to flunk out every student that isn’t particularly talented. So they’ll continue to take your tuition, in exchange for teaching you and pushing you and all the other things that schools do well. But they won’t fire you for not being talented.

      The result? Every year, art schools graduate hundreds who just aren’t very good. That’s where your portfolio comes in. An art director can look at your portfolio and get a sense of whether you’re talented, prolific and have the range they’re looking for. As art director Randy Briley noted in an interview on portfolios: “Your portfolio is your gateway to success. The work itself is the most important part.”

      Arguably the best situation is when a candidate has an art degree AND a strong portfolio. Because each says different but interrelated things about the candidate. But be wary of getting yourself into a situation where you have a degree but a weak portfolio. You’ll be left with a mountain of school debt and a lot of trouble landing a job to pay it off.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      BTW Jessica, I turned your question and answer into a full article 🙂

      I’d love to link out to your portfolio as a way of saying “thanks.” Let me know if that’s cool with you.

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