HOW DO I GET A JOB?
Cliff asked me to do a little research for his students. The question they asked was how to go about finding the people and companies that are out there developing game apps, and the big question, how to get hired?
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of organization to this field, probably because it is still rather new. It’s made up of garage developers from all over the world, small startups, established app developing companies, and major game companies that are looking to break in and dominate the game app market.
The good news is that it’s the wild, wild, west and anyone has the potential to succeed. The bad news is that it’s the wild, wild, west and there are no rules or set institutional paths to success.
It is going to require a lot of old fashioned digital leg work (boy that sounds weird) to succeed at getting a job.
Here is how I approached the problem.
First I googled ‘hottest game apps.’
That resulted in a list of articles by established resources on the topic.
I picked an article by ‘techradar’ (http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/60-best-free-iphone-games-on-the-planet-669893) that listed the 90 hottest apps out right now. The date on the article is listed as March 03, 2015, but some comments are over a year old so I’m assuming that it’s a post that is regularly updated. Check dates so that you don’t waste your time on old information.
Then I went down the list of games and, if it didn’t say who made it, I googled the game name and tracked down the maker that way.
I then went to the developer’s website, found out where they were located and if they had openings. The first places to go on the website are the “About” or “Contact Us” tabs, but depending on the way the site is designed you might have to hunt a bit. If you don’t immediately see them, scroll to the bottom of the page. The nav bar there usually has something. Or, look for a sitemap link.
Practically every site I went to said that they were hiring.
If you want to find out if it’s a good company to work for, that will require more digital legwork.
The first thing I would do is google, ‘(Insert company name) complaints’, or something similar, and see what comes up.
There are established business research companies like ‘Hoovers.com’ that will give detailed company histories, but the company usually has to be an established firm. A lot of the game developers haven’t been around for a while.
You might also want to do the following.
If you want “face time” with a company and you want the best bang for your buck I would suggest trying to find out the conventions and events that these companies go to. Get the one closest to where you live and start from there. That way you can bring a portfolio and pitch yourself to a concentration of companies at one time. It’s just like going to Comic Con or Wonder Con. If they don’t look at your portfolio there, they will at least tell you who to contact and how.
Here is a quick list of sites to check out where the next Con or Event might be:
This should be your first stop, it’s the website with the most up-to-date listings and the largest number of them. Plus, it’s easy to sort by region and find conventions close to you. Anybody can submit a convention to be listed here, so you get a lot of smaller conventions along with the larger ones.
Here you can find a very simple list of a select group of awesome conventions. They’re listed pretty far out in advance, but it’s never too early to start planning your future stops. They also list other kinds of conventions like anime, sci-fi, and horror.
You’ll find fewer conventions here, but quite a lot of conferences. If you’re involved in the development or business aspects of gaming, you’ll want to check those out — but everyone else can stick to the conventions. It’s a meager but high quality list.
Convention Scene is a website that not only lists conventions, but also lots of signings from famous game and comic designers.
They have an extensive list sorted by region as well as a Wikipedia page for each convention to help qickly learn what you need to know.
The sites listed above are great for the more popular conventions. But smaller, up-and-coming conventions are great for local shmoozing. Do a quick Google search for gaming conventions in your city (or the nearest large city to you) and see what comes up.
Finally, you might want to GET INVOLVED
Many conventions look for employees or volunteers to help organize and set up the whole event, and if you have a particular talent or expertise, you may want to try and host a panel yourself.
Don’t overlook this last idea. When attending events you meet hundreds of people, each with their own experiences and knowledge base; knowledge that you don’t have! You never know exactly who you might meet and what doors they might be able to open for you. Take a chance and get as involved as you can in these conventions, and you’ll be surprised how it might pay off for you later.
There you have it. Good luck and, if you do find a job, share the knowledge of how you did it with us. Let us know here so that others can benefit from your worldly experiences.