(Above: James Schall from Sega speaking at the Ukie Careers Bar at Rezzed 2014)
I’ve been visiting many of our Ukie Student institutes recently, talking about the benefits of membership and the opportunities that we encourage students to pursue. I often share my top tips for landing that dream job in games, and engaging with the industry is at the top of the list. What better way to engage with an industry you want to work in, than to attend industry events?
There’s a plethora of events out there – EGX, Rezzed, Insomnia, PLAY Expo, Game City, MCM Comic Con, Game Bridge, Develop Brighton, just to name a few. There’ll be local meet-ups, festivals, game jams, networking drinks and closer to you (or if not, start your own!), plus huge nationwide events that attract consumers from across the country. All are fantastic experiences for games students, so here’s why you should attend as many events as you can.
1. Networking opportunities
Often, landing a job in games is about who you know, and how you met them. Attending events is a great way to meet new people, create connections, and get on someone’s radar. Making key contacts is a key part of any industry, and networking is a brilliant way of showing a potential employer that you’re outgoing, interested and passionate about games. Plus, it’s much easier to talk to someone about your portfolio in person and demonstrate your enthusiasm and talent, than sending prospective emails to a generic email on a company website.
Tip – get some business cards made with a link to your website/blog/portfolio, Twitter account, and an email address. Give these out to everyone you meet – don’t be shy! - and make sure you get a card back. Follow up with them a few days later, saying it was nice to meet them, and link them to your work.
2. Industry experience
Employers will want to see an active interest in the industry from applicants, especially attending industry events. Playing and making games all day is great for showing a passion for the games themselves, but attending shows like EGX or volunteering at your local games festival will demonstrate a genuine passion for the industry.
Tip – as well as checking out the latest AAA games, make sure you head to the indie sections and speak to the developers. Discover that next hidden gem, as well as meet people who could give valuable advice and tips. Interviewers might ask you about your latest favourite game, and sharing your love for a relatively unknown game will help you stand out from the crowd.
(Above: Ukie Student Conference 2015)
3. Learn something new
All events have the potential to expand your horizons, and develop new skills. See if there are developer sessions, panels or careers talks at your next event – the Ukie Careers Bar is a perfect start, as we’ll have professionals from all areas of the industry giving careers advice, as well as keynote speakers.
4. Get inspired
Exploring the indie section, listening to speakers, or networking with developers are all excellent motivators for pursuing a career path in games. You’ll be exposed to so many things that you’d never even thought of. Trying new games might help you come up with your next big creation, which you can add to your portfolio or use in your current university projects. It might even inspire you to pursue an alternative career path into games, such as community management, marketing or PR, which you might not have considered yet.
Upcoming Ukie Student events:
March 3rd - An Afternoon With Media Molecule
April 4-5 - Ukie Student Game Jam
April 7-9 - Ukie Careers Bar @ Rezzed
August - Gamescom (Part of the Ukie Student Sponsorship Programme)
TBC - Ukie Student Conference