Thank you to everyone that was able to join our first ever Gaming Industry Talks event in collaboration with SFU E-Sports Association and UBC E-Sports Association held at Simon Fraser University!
The evening kicked-off with an energetic networking session amongst attendees from SFU, UBC, Langara, and local secondary schools before settling into a rousing panel discussion with 5 industry professionals about the dynamic trends in gaming and e-sports as well as career opportunities in Vancouver's vibrant gaming scene! If you were unable to attend or want to relive the fun, here are some of the highlights from the panel which included:
James Choi, Project Manager @ Goboogie Games
Rami "Inori" Charagh, Professional Gamer
Kelvin Ng, Level Designer @ Popcap Vancouver (Electronic Arts)
Anjali Vyas, Business Analyst @ Electronic Arts
Carina Kom, Game Designer and Producer @ Skybox Labs
Andrew Barnes, Former Senior Director of Operations @ Electronic Arts
GETTING YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR
Panelists agreed that the biggest challenge in pursuing a career in the gaming industry is convincing someone to take a chance on you to give you that opportunity. The biggest takeaways for students came from Rami Charagh and Carina Kom, to keep grinding and working hard at what you're passionate about, "If you do anything for 16 hours a day, you're going to get good at it", whether that be playing a game or creating, designing, and shipping a game. Andrew Barnes, James Choi and Kelvin Ng also talked about the importance of extracurriculars. James Choi spoke about co-founding the UBC E-Sports association when he saw that there was a need amongst his student community. Barnes stressed that hiring managers want to see what you've done outside of the compulsory course work you did to graduate and Ng, spoke to designers about the importance of continuing to work on and improve upon one's portfolio even after graduating from a degree or diploma program.
Every panelist extolled the virtues of making connections whether it be at industry events, university events, or community meet-ups. Barnes shared from his experience how, "...roughly 50% of positions that are filled are not hired through traditional applications or résumés. What's his advice for standing out amongst the thousands of other amazing students vying for these jobs? "Get your face in front of someone...you don't have to ask for a job but ask for advice or ask for the name of someone who you should talk to about a job...".
PANELISTS ANSWERED THE QUESTION, "WHAT'S ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE YOU STARTED IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY?"
Ng, was the first to talk about how he wished he had known the importance of standing out while still in school, "to compete, your portfolio needs to be better than everyone else's'...networking is necessary because companies don't hire based on what school (you graduate from) or what degree/diploma (you study). Vyas, having come from an economics background and with an early interest in public policy, wished she knew that a career in gaming was even an option that was available to her prompting Barnes to encourage students to pursue a career in gaming even if they aren't studying a gaming related discipline. "I was a political science major and I had to figure out how to translate that to video games - it was a hard sell but I did it and I was successful."
We hope you enjoyed Gaming Industry Talks this week and we can't wait to see you at a future event! Follow us on Facebook for announcements on upcoming events!