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Career Roadmap – Interested in the Video Game Industry?

illustration-1736462_960_720We talk a lot at Connect2Classes about how so many things are changing when it comes to preparing for a career. With so many classes, workshops and online classes available, people now have more options than ever when it comes to developing their careers. For one thing, traditional college, or at least 4-year degrees, are becoming less important in some industries. What really matters is what you can do, which can be demonstrated via a portfolio of work. If you’re a developer, it’s working apps or games, or even code samples. If you’re a designer or artist, having a strong portfolio of game art is the way to get you noticed. There are other options, as well, like project management, writing, and customer service. You can even start your own business or game studio, or work as a free agent.

If you’re into games to any degree, then a career in the games industry might be for you. In this article we will look at the roles available in the game industry, as well as some of the skills you might consider developing if one of these career paths is of interest to you. If you’d like to know how much you could expect to make in any of these careers, check out the Game Developer Salary Survey 2013.

One thing to know is that people in the game industry tend to work very hard. and hours can be long, especially during ‘crunch’ time (when a title is about to launch). Still, game companies can be very fun places to work, especially if you enjoy spending time around other gamers in a highly creative setting.

Game Production

Executive Producers might be responsible for a portfolio of games, and create budgets and launch strategies. An MBA or degree in business administration or management is helpful, and a wide array of experience in the games industry is mandatory.
Producers are typically limited to one game and are responsible for project management, scheduling and budget. They guide the overall course of game development and make sure all the pieces come together adequately. Courses or certificates in project management or game production are nice to have, but not always required.

Game Research

Market Research is where it all begins, by looking at the overall landscape, understanding competitors, and defining audiences for a game. It might also include making recommendations about launch strategy and may even affect the concept and design of a game. Market researchers typically have degrees in business, statistics or social science.
Player Research is related to the experience of game play and might involve game usability testing or play-testing. Most player researchers have advanced degrees in psychology or the social sciences and may be experts in human factors research.
Data Science is an emerging area related to data collected on players and game play. Data scientists analyze collected data and make predictions about future player behavior or help development teams with predictive models to accelerate game play. Most data scientists have backgrounds in computer science and are skilled with databases, algorithms and machine learning.

Game Design

hare-643353_960_720Game Designers are central to any game project and responsible for designing the overall story and game play elements. They maintain game design documentation and ensure that other elements (art, sound, writing, etc.) are cohesive. There are many professional programs available that focus on this area.
Mechanics or System Designers are focused on specific game mechanics, which can vary according to the genre of the game.
Level designers are responsible for designing specific tasks, missions or quests, and design both obstacle and reward systems to accompany them.

Game Art

Concept Artists are responsible for conceptualizing the game’s story, settings and characters. A background in fine art is typical, but there are also programs available that focus on video game art.
Character Design and Modeling (or Animation) is the field focused on developing characters and character detail and illustrating them in 2D or modeling them for 3D.
Level Designers on art teams are responsible for implementing the overall look and feel of a game into individual levels.
UI Design is responsible for the overall user interface including the HUD (heads-up display) and other status mechanisms.

Game Music and Sound Effects

Audio Producers and Managers are responsible for all audio content in a game, and may manage various people. A background in sound recording is useful, or a certificate in sound design for games.
Composers write original music for games, much like film or tv composers write scores.
Sound Designers are focused on all of the ambient sound in a game, and work to uphold the game’s vision through sound.

Game Storytelling and Writing

Narrative Designers are responsible for the overall story and for ensuring that the narrative plays out through all the various elements of the game. Any sort of creative writing background is useful here, and experience with games, in particular, is mandatory. Education in game design theory and game mechanics is also helpful.
Writers are typically given projects to work on, like writing content for quests, or character dialogue.

minecraft-1017449_640Game and Systems Development

Game/Systems Architects are responsible for overall technical design of a world and may recommend or develop a game engine, as well. A background in computer science is typical for this role, and specific education in game development is also useful.
Game Developers and Programmers are typically assigned to some aspect(s) of the game and may work on one or several components for a length of time.

Game Testing

Quality Assurance positions are not terribly well paid, but they are frequently entry level. You’ll be playing games to find glitches or bugs, or even issues with usability.

Game Talent

Character Models are used as a basis for concept art or 3D models. A standard modeling portfolio is just about all you will need, though games-specific experience is also appreciated.
Voiceover Actors supply the voices for characters. Any voiceover experience could be relevant, but you will need a demo reel and will have to audition.
Motion Capture Actors are agile and disciplined people who take direction readily.

mario-1557974_960_720Marketing and Advertising

Marketing roles in game companies can cover a lot of territory, from strategic planning to communications, event/trade show planning, marketing and advertising campaigns, and social media. If you have experience in other digital-related fields it’s possible to parlay that experience for the games industry, especially if you’re an avid gamer yourself.

Customer Support

Customer Support roles are some of the most important, and some of them are entry level positions.

Community Managers monitor and moderate social media, forum posts, knowledge bases and other locations where game information is shared. They help resolve disputes and often provide input on the player point-of-view to development teams.

Educate Yourself

It’s never been easier to educate yourself for a career in the games industry. Playing a lot of games is helpful, of course, but there are also many classes and workshops that will help you learn specifics. If you’re really serious, consider a degree or certificate from a school that specializes in game design and development.

 

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Preparing For The Jobs of the Future

With technology advancing so rapidly, we know that the next 10-20 years will be full of changes to how people work. This means changes, as well, in how people educate themselves and how they find work. For one thing, the rapid advancement in technology will reach exponential proportions and along with it, the changes needed in the workforce.

Increasing automation is also looming on the horizon, but what it means is that some types of jobs will wane. Over the long term, technological innovation creates more new jobs than are lost through obsolescence. And some industries will continue to thrive, including healthcare and retail.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum reported that humanity would be out 7 million jobs by 2020 due to automation—with admin and office jobs taking the brunt of the blow. – Monster.com

We are also coming upon a new era of human potential, with robotics, human augmentation, space travel, virtual reality, holography, self-driving cars, and sustainability/permaculture innovations creating entirely new industries. It’s the stuff of our futuristic dreams, and you can be involved.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. – Alan Kay

A lot of new career choices are also emerging, some of which would have seemed inconceivable just a couple of decades ago. So, how best to prepare for this shifting career terrain? For one thing, becoming a lifelong learner keeps you current, and that keeps you competitive.

With the world moving as fast as it is, we need to become a society of people who are always learning new things. – Julie Friedman Steele, World Future Society

The Career and Business Crystal Ball

Consider that many of today’s jobs barely existed 10-20 years ago, but are now commonplace and lucrative:

  • ipad-605420_960_720Mobile and tablet application developers
    Game designers and developers
  • Social media coordinators and managers
  • Web content developers
  • Big data miners and scientists
  • Personalization and automation specialists
  • Robotics and nano-technology scientists
  • User experience researchers and designers
  • Digital artists, animators, and illustrators
  • 3D printing manufacturers
  • Health, wellness and life extension practitioners
  • Life and career coaching
  • Renewable energy jobs

162 Jobs in the Future…

Free Agents

smartphone-1733892_960_720Free agent culture thrives in the film, media, and music industries and is beginning to spill over into the other creative and tech industries. With many freelance marketplaces available, professionals can gravitate towards project-based work. It’s not for everyone, but if flexibility and novelty drive you, becoming a free agent can be a great lifestyle choice. It also means that if you have several unique skillsets, you can work on projects in a variety of roles.

Free agents are:

  • Project managers
  • Graphic designers and illustrators
  • Digital and traditional artists
  • Film and video crews
  • Bloggers and podcasters
  • Photographers
  • Musicians
  • Web and application developers
  • Writers and journalists
  • Teachers and instructional designers
  • Speakers and coaches
  • Special needs and occupational therapists

Entrepreneurs and Small Business

teens-629046_960_720Becoming an entrepreneur has never been easier, given the technology, fund-raising, and marketing tools now widely available. Even if you are just in the idea or prototype phase, crowd-funding your endeavor is a real possibility. How do you know if your idea will appeal to modern consumers? Novelty, life enrichment, efficiency, and convenience are major drivers.

  • Technology start-ups – cloud-based services, wearables, virtual reality, pervasive/ubiquitous computing, and artificial intelligence.
  • Food-based businesses – artisanal food products, food delivery services, special diets, and health & wellness.
  • 3D printing – buildings, household items, organs, and even food!
  • Robotics and artificial intelligence – robots for manufacturing, caretaking, and dangerous jobs. AI and machine learning for better prediction and personalization.
  • Renewable energy and sustainability – solar, wind, and green building practices.
  • Urban, hydroponic, and vertical farming.
  • Cannabis businesses – growing, distribution, equipment, and edibles.
  • Online sellers – handmade items or small manufacturers selling through sites like Amazon and Etsy.
  • Lifelong learning providers – for in person and online learning.
  • Bio-medical devices – health and wellness monitoring and tracking, body augmentation.
  • Space exploration, mining, and tourism.
  • Citizen journalism, social activism, and education.

Jobs of the Future

blog2How do you prepare for jobs that don’t exist yet? With more exciting developments on the horizon, the jobs of the future will spring out of today’s innovations in bio-tech, climate adaptation, personal care, and a wide array of technological innovations. Future jobs will require more complex and specialized skills; things that robots and automation aren’t great for.

It’s going to take a long time for robots to be good at soft skills, like social and emotional intelligence and cross-cultural competency. – Fast Company

 

 

Essential Skills for Future Careers:

  • Digital and social media literacy
  • Adaptability and agility
  • Knowing how to learn
  • Networking and collaboration with others
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Managing chaos
  • Simplifying and minimizing complexity
  • Entrepreneurial and creative thinking
  • Mentorship and coaching
  • Anticipating customer needs

Enter your interests and receive $10 off your first class!

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Want to learn how to do something life-changing?
Check out thousands of upcoming classes on Connect2Classes.

 

 

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Why Making Things Helps Us Thrive

We can all use more things in our life that make us feel happy and fulfilled. There has been a cultural renaissance these last few years as we learn more about what really motivates people. It’s something we nearly lost in our manufacturing-heavy culture: the pleasure associated with making things and sharing one’s creations with others. This is also a business opportunity, so read on if you are intrigued by the idea of turning your passion into an enterprise.

This is a revolution. If you can imagine it, you can make it. And that’s new to the world. – Mark Hatch, CEO, Maker Media

Your Brain on Creativity

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Why does making and sharing things feel so good? It begins with creativity, one of those things that spurs us on to ever greater accomplishments. There is nothing quite like creative experiences to throttle our brains into happier brain chemistry by putting us into the flow states associated with positive psychology. And creative thinking also has benefits in other parts of our lives: it improves problem-solving, big picture and design thinking, as well as collaboration with others.

It doesn’t matter whether you are into art, crafts, DIY, or tinkering, your brain loves to create and rewards you for doing so. The process of creating and sharing your creations releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant in your brain. Dopamine is the brain chemical associated with reward and the pleasurable sensations that come from it. It’s like we are wired to create. But legions of artists, crafters, do-it-yourselfers and makers could tell you that!

There’s survey evidence to support crafting’s dopamine effect. In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”

The positive effect of creative activities is well-documented in the scientific literature. Creativity and the novel experiences associated with it keep the brain agile and also motivate us. Things as simple as coloring or doodling encourage this effect, but the most benefit comes from ongoing creative pursuits:

Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging. – CNN

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

The following talk by British educator Sir Ken Robinson is one of the most popular TED Talks of all time. He argues that creativity is more important than literacy and that traditional schooling kills creativity. This is especially true now that home economics, woodshop, arts, and music are disappearing from schools. Less young people are learning how to cook, sew, and build via formal education, although classes, camps and after-school activities are filling the gap. Robinson says that our innate drive to create and to embrace trial and error are not valued in an educational system that tries to minimize failure. Creativity also tends to be multi-disciplinary, which is not widely embraced in our siloed educational systems.

DIY & Maker Culture

A major trend the last decade or so has been a shift towards people becoming more and more creative and leveraging that creativity to explore new interests or even launch new businesses. We’re creating handmade and one-of-a-kind items that stand out in the world of mass manufacturing. Some of us are launching businesses on sites like Etsy, an extravaganza of novel items launched from creative brains (which boasts 25 million shoppers). This has been fueled, as well, by the recession economy that has turned so many people into entrepreneurs:

In a world of mass-produced products, modern technology has made it easier than ever for a single individual to create and distribute items that are customizable and unique without having middlemen like manufacturers. This growing shift will continue to affect the economy and will likely have big implications on large retailers. It is a special time in history that will have a transformative impact on our future. – Huffington Post

You might have heard about the Maker movement, a grassroots movement based on the emergence of consumer-level tools for design and manufacturing. It’s reported that 135 million Americans are makers, which is nearly half the population. The maker manifesto calls for making, sharing, giving, and learning. It’s making a difference. MakerFaires are popping up everywhere, and there are other maker-inspired communities and events, as well:

Craft nights are replacing book clubs. Libraries and museums are being turned into “Makerspaces,” physical locations where people can come together to make. The sale of sewing kits in Walmart stores has recently gone up 30 percent. And just last year, someone created Christmas cookies using a 3D printer. – Huffington Post

This has become a major economic phenomenon because of a perfect storm of conditions:

  • Access to increasingly sophisticated tools to create, like 3-D printers.
  • The ability to find inspiration online.
  • Crowdfunding to make your idea reality.
  • Online marketplaces and social channels to get feedback and distribute creations.
  • Inexpensive and effective tools for branding, marketing, and promotion.
  • Learning opportunities provided by other creators.

Boosting Your Creativity and Learning DIY Skills

Albert Einstein said that creativity is intelligence having fun. At Connect2Classes, we are committed to helping our learners explore their creative potential. Creative businesses can be some of the most fulfilling, as well as being lucrative in a world of people looking for unique and one-of-a-kind items. We’d love to hear about how your creative endeavors affect your life – please comment!

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Want to learn how to do something life-changing?
Check out thousands of upcoming classes on Connect2Classes.

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Embrace Social! Update Your Skills in Digital & Social Media Marketing

embrace social media and update your skills

Digital and social media are an important part of any marketer’s toolkit, but it does tend to be a bit confusing for the uninitiated. In reality, however, it isn’t that much different from traditional marketing. The goals are the same (raise awareness, convert potential customers, promote advocacy and word-of-mouth sharing), and social interactions online offer some great benefits and allow you to scale your marketing efforts beyond your current capacity. It’s also about being where your target markets are and social media offers great ways to connect with customers as they explore their interests. Facebook alone has 1.6 BILLION users so it is a huge opportunity to augment your marketing efforts.

we are social Source: SmartInsights

A few important reasons to take digital and social media marketing seriously, especially if your customers are avid Internet users:

Raise Awareness and Keep Your Brand Top of Mind

Building and maintaining awareness of your brand, products and services is a constant challenge. By having a robust presence on social media, you can promote your brand and offerings and make sure they are available where your potential customers already are. Read about the most popular social networks worldwide.

Demonstrate Credibility

Social media is a great way to establish your credibility in a space. You also demonstrate knowledge and credibility by connecting with and promoting others in your space. This means following influencers and commenting on or sharing their content. ‘Stand on the shoulders of giants’ is a good way to think about it. You can align your messaging and content with popular activity in the social sphere.

Real-time Engagement

Your digital marketing and social media efforts keep you involving customers and allow you to respond to questions or comments in real-time. Your customers can be huge advocates for you and will happily share your content across social media if you involve them.

Share Knowledge

Internet users tend to gravitate towards content that has value, meaning old marketing messages don’t work nearly as well as sharing tangible knowledge about things people care about. Social media can also be a great vehicle for customer service, if you make a point to respond quickly to customer questions and feedback. The more you respond, the more customers will gravitate towards those channels.

Penetrate Your Target Markets

Social media preferences tend to vary quite a lot by age and gender, and some social media sites (like LinkedIn) are centered around professional connections. You can also schedule content to be published and use hashtags and boards on many of the services to keep your messages aligned with broader trends.

Respond In Real-time

A major area of value for the wired generations is the ability to conduct business in real-time. Social media is a great way to ensure your availability whenever someone has a question or feedback. You can also take it a step further by being available on chat networks (like Snapchat or Facebook Messenger) as well.

Be More Efficient (and Save Money)

Social media marketing is so important because it allows you to scale your efforts significantly and reaches a much larger audience. There are some great tools that allow you to post across multiple channels and set up automation so your voice is being heard even when you aren’t available. These are all really low-cost ways of getting your message out there.

Some Questions You Might Have

  • How can you align your digital strategy with your offline marketing efforts?
  • Which social media channels are best for engaging with your target audience?
  • What engagement and writing styles work best?
  • How often should you be posting to your blog or sending email?
  • Would social ads be a good investment for you?
  • How can you measure your success?

If you’re intrigued by these suggestions check out our social media and digital marketing classes or consider the following upcoming classes:

Online Courses

  • Digital Marketing Suite
    How to market your business on the Internet.
  • LinkedIn 101
    Use this business-oriented channel to boost your career or business.
  • Achieving Top Search Engine Positions
    All about SEO and how to achieve great results.

Quick 1-day Classes

  • Digital Marketing Bootcamp
    How to tie your digital and offline campaigns together. An all day class on Oct. 21st.
  • Visual Design and User Experience for Email
    Email can be one of your most important digital marketing channels. Learn how on Nov. 9th.
  • Social Media Advertising
    Learn how to make paid advertising work for you with this class Oct. 22nd.
  • Blogging 101
    How to create a successful blog and make money doing it. Oct 20th.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Non-Profits
    Get a real look under the hood with free classes beginning Oct 19th.

In-depth Courses

  • 10-Week Digital Marketing Intensive
    A great place to start if you are wondering how digital marketing and social media can improve your business. Begins Oct 8th, Nov. 5th or Dec. 13th.
  • Site Audit Workshop
    This 6-week course will teach you the fundamentals of site analytics and improvement. Begins Oct. 20th.

What students say about our life-changing professional courses:

I attended the Web Development Immersive course. It changed my life. Within 1 1/2 months of graduation, I was offered a great job at a company that’s considered one of the top 5 to work for in the Pacific NW. Starting next week I’ll be a Software Engineer making more than twice what I made in my previous career, and I enjoy the work much more.


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Want to learn how to do something life-changing?
Check out thousands of upcoming classes on Connect2Classes.

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Starting a New Business? Need Some Help?

Thinking about starting a business

Are you thinking about starting a new business? You’ve got your idea in place and you’re ready to take the plunge. What next? Getting started is, as they say, the hardest part. There are numerous details that need to be carefully mapped out. Decisions must sometimes be made quickly and with confidence. At times, even the best ideas fall short due to lack of planning.

Find Small Business Classes

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit but maybe not all the business skills you need, have no fear — there’s a class for that! Any self-made millionaire will be the first to say, you don’t need an MBA from Harvard Business School to succeed. That’s very true. You do, however, need a basic understanding of how things work in today’s economic climate. The Seattle area has many resources for people who are looking to break into the small business market. This spirit of this community is very progressive – we all should be taking full advantage of the informative classes and workshops readily available to us.

For nearly 50 years SCORE has provided classes, workshops and mentoring, to people interested in starting a small business. Seattle has its own chapter of SCORE and they have become an instrumental resource to our community. We’re thrilled to feature Seattle SCORE’s class offerings here at C2C.

If you’ve decided to make the commitment to be a small business owner you’ll need a solid business plan. The ‘Building a Business Plan’ workshop is a full day packed with meaningful, interactive instruction. The instructors have more than 20 years of experience in creating innovative plans for success.

If you’re ready to take the leap, we applaud you! Taking a class can inspire your entrepreneurial spirit and boost your confidence. You’ll be put in touch with fellow entrepreneurs who are embarking on their dreams too! Being connected with people who are in a cycle of learning, just like you! Set your goals, reach for your dreams and fuel your passions.

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Could your Sales and Marketing Skills Use a Boost?

Small Business Marketing

Being a small business owner has many challenges. It can start out with a great idea and loads of excitement, only to have it fizzle out within a year. Sales drop and confidence starts to fade. Many small businesses fail due to declining sales. Marketing and sales strategy is a skill that is learned; for most of us it doesn’t come naturally. If you’re not careful you could miss the mark completely and waste money, valuable time and effort on an approach that is not fruitful.

Sales and Marketing Classes

The game has changed in the world of sales. Old school sales tactics are entirely too transparent for today’s informed consumer. Creating an inspired approach is how customers respond. What inspires you when you see a new product or service? There’s been a tangible shift in how to reach your customers, are you ready for it?

Wouldn’t it be great to spend your marketing dollars with confidence? Gaining a better understanding of your target market will allow you to create plans for success. It’s a whole new world out there and it’s changing every day. The only way to stay current is to reach out for knowledge. Taking classes in the fields of sales and marketing is the key to gaining new perspectives that keep your ideas fresh and relevant.

Did you know – you have on average – 3 seconds to connect with your audience? What can you do to stand out?

  • Are your marketing communications effective?
  • Can you craft persuasive, action-oriented marketing messages?
  • Is your message outdated?
  • Could you use some guidance navigating today’s consumer market?

If you’re answering yes to these questions it’s time to brush up on your marketing skills. We all need a tune-up on our skill set at times. Many of the classes offered on C2C are one day workshops. Wouldn’t it be great to set aside a day to focus on the core of your business? Take a look here at the classes that can help you answer all of these questions and more!

Connect2Classes has sales and marketing workshops that will help you achieve more success and fuel your passion! Have a look at classes in Writing Effective Copy, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Blogging, Branding and Communications.

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