How to land a job as a junior game developer without prior work gamedev experience?
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What jobs does the video game industry offer?
Before actively starting your career in game dev, it is important to know what job options are. Discover your cup of tea based on your skills and development interests.
There are plenty of possible game developer careers in the industry, focused on three major areas:
Each area and job type offers a variety of roles with a specific focus on the game production life cycle.
Now click on each link to learn about roles and their purpose in the game development process. It will help you better understand what career you could pursue in the game industry. And give you a general understanding of the game production processes. Future interviewers will like that 😉
Tips on how to start in game development?
(Pick at least some of them, k?)
Once you know the path (role) you want to take, start to sharpen your skills and gather knowledge on this relevant area. There are several options for you:
Tip #1 junior game developer jobs hunt: Game Dev colleges / online courses
- If there’s a University in your neighborhood with a dedicated game development curriculum, you have your answer. You can enroll in a University program and boost up your knowledge and skills for your future career. But it’s not a must.
- There are also online courses that you can follow that cover relevant topics for game development. Oh, and subscribe to GDC’s youtube channel. You’ll thank me later 😉
- Read some books. If you’re into game design – we have a cool selection of game design books for you to read.
You might also want to check some of the top game design colleges here.
But if you’re wondering if a degree is a must in art positions –you might dive into this piece as well.
Having an academic background in game development might help you kickstart your career in the game industry. However, it is not a must, and neither is it the only way to improve your skills.
Tip #2 junior game developer jobs hunt: Personal Projects
The best way (and the real one) to sharpen your skills is to practice, practice, practice. (Did I mention “practice”?) All this academic knowledge, unfortunately, means nothing without testing it in the field.
Whether talking about programming, art, gameplay, or level design, developing personal projects will help you gather more knowledge and grow your skills. In addition, you can find and watch youtube tutorials on different subjects of interest, depending on the area you are developing (programming, art, design). Those will guide you each time you feel you get stuck.
Try to build up your own portfolio with personal projects. Whether you try to code a small game or create a character, it is always good to show your personal works when applying for your junior game dev job.
If you’re an artist, you might want to check how to build a kick-ass portfolio here. Use our tips, and you’ll gain a few points in the eyes of the hiring manager you’ll be talking with.
Tip #3 junior game developer jobs hunt: Start building your personal brand and network, my dude/dudette
The internet is filled with social channels, groups, and forums for game developers. Sign up on these groups and channels and put your communication skills to work. Build your game dev network and keep yourself up to speed with the news on the industry.
This is also a great way to receive feedback on your personal projects that will help you improve. Don’t be afraid to share your work on these sites and ask for help from the more experienced developers. You’ll receive some really good tips.
Besides the online world of game development, you can also participate in Game Dev Conferences. It’s a great way to keep yourself up to speed with this super-evolving industry and to build up your network. Check out how to network during game industry conferences here.
Tip #4 junior game developer jobs hunt: Game jams are the droids you’re looking for
GameJams are hackathons for game developers. You compete with other game dev enthusiasts and create a promising game prototype on a theme given and within a specified period (usually between 24h and 72h).
Sure, you will get some hours of sleep deprivation, eat a lot of junk food and energy drinks, but you’ll also have lots of fun and the chance to work in a team and create a game. Not to mention a game company might notice you and your team if the prototype you build has potential.
There are some examples of game dev professionals that land themselves a job as junior game developers based on their performance in GameJams.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can Game Jam like a boss, check our article about it here. Cause ofc we have written that for you 😉
Main Quest: Landing your first junior game developer job
Now that you have tried on your own to develop your skills and increase your knowledge about the industry. (Even built up a portfolio and expanded your game dev network) it is time to get that sweet game dev job.
First things first, make sure you make an outstanding CV. List up everything relevant for the job you are applying for (including your personal projects, portfolio, active GitHub link, and Game Jams participation, yes, even if you were not the winner).
If you don’t know how to nail this CV topic:
(You can also message us and ask for guidance. We’ll try to help you out! DM us on our social media).
Once your resume and portfolio are ready, you can start your hunt for your junior game dev job.
How can you prepare yourself for your junior gamedev job search?
- Learn about your future employer – do your research. Learn about their culture, about projects they’re working on
- Read the job description carefully and apply only if you think you are a good match (there is no point in programmers applying for 3D artist jobs or vice versa)
- Read the guidelines thoroughly, and don’t send more than it was asked of you (if the company didn’t request a cover letter, don’t include one).
- Tailor your portfolio according to the company you are applying for. Imagine you are a junior artist applying for a studio that makes casual mobile games with a cartoony art style. Make sure you showcase artworks that match this style in your portfolio. You can even exclude the ones that are not relevant for the games they are making. Remember, less is more in some cases.
Good entry-level roles in the game industry that you should target while searching for a job
Apply for internships and entry-level/junior positions open at gaming companies. Expect there will be a lot of competition, especially if you only apply for big gaming companies.
We recommend you also take into consideration smaller or indie developers looking for new colleagues. There is even a benefit for starting your career in a smaller company. Usually, such companies don’t have a very complex structure with lots of specialized jobs defined.
This means someone at the beginning of their career, such as you, gets to handle tasks in multiple areas of their field (ex., An artist gets to do environment art, character art, props, and maybe even UI).
Gaming companies are indeed picky when it comes to job requirements. Usually, the bigger the company, the higher the standards. But, fret not, as this also means that you can rest assured that once you land that job, you’ll have plenty to learn and a lot of room to develop your future game dev career.
Don’t forget that you can also count on the help of a recruiter at any step of the way.
They (yeah, we too) are your best friends regarding tips in obtaining a job, here is why.
Reach out to us if you have any questions or need someone to guide you regarding your junior game development job. We’re here to make sure that you’ll have the best start in this awesome industry.
And there you have it, a complete guide filled with tips that will help you get your first job in the game dev industry.
Oh, one more thing, if this worked (as we know it does) and you’re about to have your first interview, then we have something for you that will help you prepare for it. Read our article on killing it during your gamedev job interview. Don’t need to thank us. Just land this job! 😉