Today is the 3rd birthday of GameIndustryCareerGuide.com, let’s celebrate!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why I started this website, and how much it’s grown
- How I’ve stayed motivated to keep writing and podcasting after 3+ years
- Who the real success story is behind this blog (hint: it’s not me!)
If you have a question you'd like to get answered on the podcast, leave a comment below or ask me anything here.
Find game schools near you
Hello and welcome to the Game Industry Career Guide Podcast. This is episode number 45. I’m Jason W. Bay from gameindustrycareerguide.com, and this is the podcast where I answer your questions about getting a job and growing your career making videos games.
Happy birthday to me
Today I have a very special episode for you because today is the three-year birthday of my video game career’s website. It was way back in 2013 that I realized there were hundreds or maybe even thousands of people out there, who wanted to get a job making games, but they didn’t know where to go to learn how. Now, at that time I was a studio head of a multi-team game studio, and I was often invited to be a guest speaker at local schools, like DigiPen Institute and the University of Washington.
The black box of game dev
Speaking at schools is how I learned that even the students who were doing video game-related degrees still thought of the game industry as a sort of black box, that was hard to see inside, and they didn’t feel confident that they really understood how it worked, or how to best prepare themselves to get a job after they graduated. So it was three years ago today that I took action. I pulled from over a decade of experience that I had, working in games and hiring people in the game industry, and I started writing in-depth blog posts about what it’s actually like inside the industry. I wrote about all the different jobs that you could possibly do making games, because most people know about game testers and game designers, but there are actually dozens of other amazing jobs and games.
I wanted to tell you all about them, to help you find the right one that might be a perfect fit for you. I wrote down all of my best tips and advice on how to build your portfolio, write a killer resume, ace your job interviews, and land your very first job as a professional game developer.
I launched that website gameindustrycareerguide.com on May 9, 2013 to massive fan-fare by millions of raving fans. That’s totally not true. There were no raving fans back then. In fact when I first launched my site, almost nobody knew about it. I had very few actual visitors, besides like my friends and my mom. Thanks, mom. When I launched, only a few dozen people read my articles in an entire month, but it was a start.
So I kept writing and I kept writing. Things didn’t really take off until six or seven months later. By January 2014, the site was actually getting quite a lot of traffic. It was up to about 8,000 visitors every month. I started getting emails and comments from readers, thanking me for my advice, sharing their struggles, and telling me about all the new topics that they wanted me to write about so that they can learn more. That initial feedback of you guys was so incredibly motivating for me. Feedback like that has encouraged me to keep working on the site ever since. Now, after three years of writing blog posts and doing interviews with game dev professionals and personally answering piles of emails and comments, the site has been read over 1.5 million times and it now serves between 40,000 and 50,000 visitors every single month, and there is no sign of slowing.
Not only that, but in June 2015, I launched this podcast to answer specific questions from you guys, my readers. Just one year later, it has now been listened to over 10,000 times.
Success is a journey
Why am I telling you all of this? I’m definitely not telling you all this just so that I can brag about it. In fact I am so humbled by the success of this little blog and podcast. I honestly never in a million years expected to be doing it for this long, or to have the chance to help so many people with their careers.
I’m telling you this because it’s you who is the real success story. You’re the one who is daring to dream about taking something you love and are deeply passionate about and turning it into a career. You’re the one who’s reading articles, listening to podcasts, reading books, reaching out to industry professionals. You’re the one taking control of your life, putting in the work, doing the research, and doing anything you can to push that dream forward and make damn sure that you turn it into a reality.
I came from a very humble family, from a tiny little town in Montana. I didn’t know anything about computers and I certainly didn’t know anything about computer programming or digital art or software development, but I did know video games. Like many of you, I have been playing video games since I was barely old enough to walk. That love of video games is what pushed me to learn more about computers, to experiment with programming, to try my hand at digital art and 3D modeling, to play with electronic music composition.
Eventually all that experimentation allowed me to get hired as a QA tester in a game studio, and from there the rest was history. Once I truly understood that making video games was a challenging and engaging full-time career, and a career that paid really well by the way, I was hooked. Fast forward 15 years and I’m still loving it. For all the ups and downs that the game industry seems to go through every few years, I still believe that there is nothing better than working side-by-side with other gamer geeks to build great games and great engines and tools to empower other game developers, to follow their own dreams.
So you guys, stick with it. Do your research and try your hand at all the different aspects of game development to see which one might be a natural fit for you.
Your career is a quest
Personally, I found out that I kind of sucked at digital art. I was really bad at it actually, but I was actually pretty good at programming. I had a lot of fun doing it, but you might be the opposite. Or, you might find that game design is your forte, or maybe you’ll discover that your super powers are in organizing and running a game team as a producer. Or, maybe that you have a natural talent in music composition or sound effect design. There are at least 30 or 40 different jobs in the game industry. So, stay curious, keep trying things, and keep following your passion until you find the one that clicks with you.
If you need somewhere to start, I’ve got a giant list of all the different video game jobs, and each one has an interview with a game dev professional who works in that career. They talk about how they got started, what kinds of skills and talents that you might need to do that job, and tons of other questions and answers that are super interesting, and they can help you decide which of those many game jobs might be the best for you. So that’s a great way to start. It’s a great place to start. Find that series of game industry career articles at gameindustrycareerguide.com/careers.
Three years and counting
There you have it. Gameindustrycareerguide.com is three years old today. Happy birthday. If you’d like to give a birthday gift, there is really only one thing on the wish list, and that is a request that you share the love by sharing the site with your friends and the world. Tweet about it or put a link on your Tumblr or share it on Facebook or mention it on Reddit. You could even just text the link to your friends. If you’ve been reading or listening for weeks or months or years and you still haven’t shared it with others, today is the day. Why not start by sharing that career series? It’s gameindustrycareerguide.com/careers. Thanks in advance for that very special birthday gift.
For more information and inspiration on getting a job and growing your career making video games, visit me at gameindustrycareerguide.com. I’m Jason W. Bay. I will see you again next week right here on the Game Industry Career Guide Podcast.