Top 20 Free, Easy Resources for Building Your Video Game Career

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The Internet is full of info about the game industry. But only a handful of resources cut through the noise to offer current, practical information to help you get a job and grow your career in games. And they’ll save you a lot of time and effort along the way.

The resources below are the cream of the crop, and come recommended by top game schools and industry professionals. And – bonus! – most of them are absolutely free. Enjoy!

Resources by Type:
Get Educated
Find A Game Job
Find Out About Game Companies
Build Your Portfolio
Learn About the Industry
Get Job Search Advice
Meet Industry Insiders (AKA Networking)

Get Educated

Lynda
www.lynda.com
Lynda.com’s Online Training Library teaches computer skills via video, in many areas including as 3D art and animation, audio, design, development, and interactive design. Their courses usually consist of several short videos so you can watch just the ones that interest you or fill in your knowledge gaps.
Price: From $25/month (Career Guide special: Get 10 free days using this link.)

Online Colleges and Universities
www.GameIndustryCareerGuide.com/online
This search engine will help you find a professional online program that fits your lifestyle. Many brick-and-mortar schools also offer online classes, degrees or certificate courses for remote students. A lot of them are high bang-for-buck since they’re hosted by professional instructors at accredited schools, and you can learn at your own pace.
Price: Free

Udemy
www.Udemy.com
I love these guys. They’ve got quick, inexpensive video courses on everything from game design, to game testing, to building mobile and PC games. They offer high-quality training videos by industry experts.
Price: Some free, some paid

How to Prepare for Your Career In Video Games
gum.co/prepare-game-career
Are you thinking about a career in video games, but don’t know where to start? This is the guide you’ve been looking for. Written by Jason W. Bay from the game industry’s leading career website, GameIndustryCareerGuide.com.
Price: $2.99 Helps fund the website you’re reading right now – thank you!

YouTube
www.youtube.com
You already know YouTube as the place for clips of awesome cats and videos for the best new bands. But you might not know that it’s also a gold mine of free training videos on just about any topic you can think of. Try searching for the name of any software package plus the word “tutorial” and be amazed at what you can learn – for free.
Price: Free

Land a Job as a Video Game Tester
http://www.gameindustrycareerguide.com/tester-book-pdf
This book will teach you the basics of game testing, and walk you through the process of applying/interviewing/accepting game tester jobs. It has everything you need to know to get a job testing games.
Price: $5.99

Find A Game Job

Game Industry Career Guide Search
http://www.gameindustrycareerguide.com/search-for-video-game-jobs
This is a quick and easy search for game jobs near your area code.
Price: Free

Gamasutra Jobs
www.gamasutra.com/jobs
Besides being a top industry news source, Gamasutra also has a killer job board. I’ve spoken with hiring managers who say they find their best entry-level hires here, so you may want to submit your resume sooner rather than later.
Price: Free

Game Job Hunter
www.gamejobhunter.com
This is a simple site that lets you search by location or job type. They have tons of job listings because they don’t charge employers for “basic” listings, so a lot of game companies post their jobs here in addition to their normal posting services.
Price: Free

Find Out About Game Companies

GlassDoor
www.glassdoor.com
GlassDoor is a site where employees anonymously provide salary data, interview questions, and the pros and cons of working at their company. I suspect that many of the company reviews are from employees who have been laid off or fired, so they can sound particularly bitter – and particularly frank. So take it with a grain of salt, but also be wary of studios that have a lot of bad feedback because there may be grains of truth.
Price: Free (registration required)

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GameDev Map
www.gamedevmap.com
GameDevMap is a living map and catalog of game development organizations. It offers an interactive map of the world where you can click on any location to see which game companies are located there. It’s great for seeing which companies are around you or nearby any other city you might be considering. It’s usually a little out of date, but it’s a good way to kick off your search for a studio to call home.
Price: Free

Moby Games
www.mobygames.com
MobyGames is a database of history, documentation, and reviews for electronic games. Their large database has company info, game info, screen shots, developer profiles, and game credits. It’s great for researching which companies have made which games, and which specific developers worked on any given project.
Price: Free

Build Your Portfolio

Behance Network
www.behance.net
Behance is an online portfolio platform for visual artists, now owned by Adobe. It also integrates with LinkedIn so you can show parts of your portfolio directly on your LinkedIn profile. It’s an extremely fast and easy interface for creating an online portfolio, and is being rapidly adopted by art schools as their preferred resource.
Price: Free for basic site (registration required), or pay for “Pro” site

Vimeo
www.vimeo.com
Vimeo is a site that lets you upload, enhance, and share your videos. It’s perfect if you’re an artist that makes video of your work (or if video IS your work), but also great for designers and programmers to showcase any realtime demo footage you want to show off to prospective employers.
Price: Free for Basic account (registration required), or pay monthly for Vimeo Plus

DeviantArt
www.deviantart.com
DeviantArt bills themselves as “The world’s largest social network of artists and art-lovers.” Their tools allow you to upload your art, create galleries, and share with whomever you want. They have a large community that could be a good way to meet like-minded art geeks, and they even offer a storefront where you could sell your art if you wanted to give that a shot.
Price: Free (registration required)

Learn About The Industry

Gamasutra
www.gamasutra.com
Gamasutra may be the oldest and most venerable game developer resource around. Their industry news, game coverage, developer blogs, and annual salary surveys are invaluable. But their most popular articles are thee monthly postmortems, which are chock full of great lessons on how – and how not – to build a game.
Price: Free

Develop Online
www.develop-online.net
Develop is a European-based website and magazine focused on the games development sector. They cover technical subjects, tips and information for all members of the industry, whether programmers, designers, producers, artists, animators, QA, audio or other. Their Develop Directory is a handy listing of studios and jobs available each month.
Price: Free

Kotaku
www.kotaku.com
This video game blog and news site is the first place game developers go when they roll into work at 10 a.m. and need their news fix. With everything from industry gossip to leaked footage of unreleased games, there’s always something for everybody.
Price: Free

Animation World Network
www.awn.com
If you’re an animator, this is your place for animation industry news, tutorials, interviews, in-depth features and even a job board. Their website may look like it was designed in 2004, but their info is always fresh and relevant.
Price: Free

Get Job Search Advice

Mary-Margaret Network
www.mary-margaret.com
Mary-Margaret Walker has quite possibly been helping people find game jobs longer than you’ve been alive. Her website has an industry job board that you might try out, but the star of the show is her blog. It’s packed with practical advice and tips on starting and growing your career in games.
Price: Free

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Game Industry Career Guide
www.GameIndustryCareerGuide.com
If you’re reading this resource guide, chances are good that you know about the folks who brought it to you! We offer articles, tips and tools to help you get a job in games. If you could use some help with your resume, portfolio, job search, or just need some inspiration, swing by for a visit and we’ll give you a hand.
Price: Free

Meet Game Industry Insiders (AKA Networking)

LinkedIn
www.linkedin.com
I’m sure you already know about LinkedIn, but are you using it? I mean, really using it? You should be, because it’s easily the #1 place that industry recruiters go to search for new talent. So get over there, upload a nice profile picture (preferably sober and fully-clothed), and fill out your profile until the progress meter is full. Trust me, it will be worth the effort.
Price: Free (registration required)

International Game Developers Association
www.igda.org
The IGDA’s sole purpose is to support game developers (and aspiring game developers!) to advance the craft and the field. They sponsor or support most of the industry conferences that take place every year, so if you’re a member then you can usually get a hefty discount on event registration. They also offer scholarships, discounted health insurance, and membership to special interest groups. They actively advocate for quality of life and diversity in the industry.
Price: Membership is $48/year, discounts for students

Game Developers Conference
www.gdconf.com
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the world’s largest and longest-running event for game industry professionals. Unlike the other big industry event, E3, this conference welcomes people who are trying to break into the industry and are seeking jobs. You’re encouraged to bring your portfolios, reels and resumes and make connections with companies, recruiters and industry insiders. And you’re bound to learn a thing or two while you’re at it: GDC has some of the best lectures, panels and workshops around.
Price: Ranges from $200 to $1,500 depending on the type of pass

Meetup.com
www.meetup.com
Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups, and it’s used heavily by game developers to organize informal industry meet-ups. If there’s one thing game developers seem to love as much as video games, it’s beer – many of the meet-ups are at local pubs. It’s a great way to relax, make some new friends and learn about the industry from people who are in the mood to talk candidly and/or dish some dirt about their past and current studios.
Price: Free

Find Schools

If you’re looking for information on a game degree or program, type your zip code below to find schools near you.

Do You Have A Favorite Resource?

Well, don’t keep it all to yourself – share it with others who could use the help. Leave us a comment below with a link to the website, and a quick note about why you like it. If it’s really good, we may even add it to the official list!

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14 comments on “Top 20 Free, Easy Resources for Building Your Video Game Career
  1. Careers Coimbatore says:

    This is really a great blog. Lot of related URLs along with clear description. Needed article.

  2. De Mr. Jason Bay, My name is Max Manansala and I have just read your article at http://www.gameindustrycareerguide.com/. Your success story of starting out as a tester has inspiried me to pursue my dream of eventually becoming a lead game designer and I was wondering if you had any advice for me on how to start in this business. I am willing to do pretty much anything to get my foot in the door in this industry. I just recently graduated high school and got back from a trip to Africa volunteering at an orphanage. Any advice to get me in the right direction would be great thank You. -Max

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Max – Welcome back! Since you’ve finished high school already, a good next step would be to attend a college or university where you could learn game design or a related degree. Not only will you learn how to design games, you’ll also build a game portfolio that you can show to employers after you graduate.

      • Prakhar Srivastava says:

        Hi Jason
        I hve gone thru ur blog & its realy awesum blog i hv ever read .
        Well, I want to start my career in gaming industry please lead me in tht way.
        As i m a graduate in technology wth specializtn in electronics & comunictn , i wrk in a telecom industry for 8 mnths n realizd tht game testing n developing is smethng i need to head with .
        Please guide me wht steps should i take to indulge in gaming industry.

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Thanks for the kind words, Prakhar. If you’re going into game testing, then you may be able to apply directly since you’ve got some technology education and have tech industry experience. Maybe you could start with one of the larger game studios or testing companies in India, depending on where you live. I know there are several in Hyderabad and in Pune – you should check Google to see if you can locate others. Good luck!

  3. donna says:

    Have a grandson who loves video games and has a talent for playing them. He’s wondering if there are companies who hire kids to play and test games for them. He is nine years old.

    Thanks

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Donna, thanks for stopping by. Your grandson wouldn’t be able to get “hired” to test games, but sometimes game studios will bring in kids to “play test” the games, especially if they’re games targeted at his age group. If there are some game companies near where you live, give them a call or contact their HR department to see if they do anything like that.

  4. Arsh says:

    What should be the age to get recruited as a game tester?

  5. Ajay says:

    I want to be a game tester because i love playing games can i make money from playing games, is it possible. Please help me, i want come in game industry. I want to do any work to game related.

  6. kewal says:

    I live in india and i am about to complete my graduation(BCA).i love gaming and want to join the industry as a game designer and audio engineer but i don’t know how to approach it which institutes are best for it and what should i do…sir can u help me out??

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