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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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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.


6149ec66-0371-41c2-b1a0-fa6a90aa9540

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

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Creative Writing Classes – Not Just For Novelists

writer

Everybody has a story to tell, whether it is an email, a business proposal or an epic novel, we are all story tellers.

We literally learn the importance of communicating at birth, and as we grow we spend our lives honing our skills, expanding our vocabularies, and effectively articulating our points of view on a daily basis. Effective communication is essential to professional success, and a good writer will gain not only the respect of his/her colleagues, but also a growing respect and appreciation of himself.

Find Writing Classes

One of the best ways to practice communication skills, and to grow overall as a person, is to invest in a creative writing class. Creative writing courses come in all shapes and sizes and often cover topics like the basics of writing, tips for developing your own writing style, overcoming writer’s block, using your imagination, and acknowledging the importance of reading other people’s work to improve your own writing. Whether you are interested in pursuing a specific topic, or you would like to improve your professional writing, there are a plethora of writing styles to chose from, including: writing for children, writing articles, writing reviews, writing novels and short stories, screenplays, poetry, family history memoirs, and so on.
Nonetheless, irrespective of why you choose to take a creative writing course, you can expect to benefit from the experience. Below are a several reasons you might want to consider a course or a workshop in your area:

CREATIVE WRITING OFFERS PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF EXPRESSION
• Putting words on paper helps those who are otherwise shy or reserved by providing an outlet to express their emotions.
• Creative writing can help people organize their thoughts and shape their experiences into powerful stories.
• Creative writing provides therapeutic benefits to people who have no other outlet. It allows them to work through emotions, or piece together a problem, in a safe and productive way.

CREATIVE WRITING PROVIDES A DIVERSION FROM THE DAILY GRIND
• Some people find a genuine comfort in returning to a time with no computers. Where instant gratification and the digital age are silenced. Writing gives people the space to turn off the background noise and be alone with their thoughts for a while.

CREATIVE WRITING HELPS IMPROVE YOUR CAREER
• Nothing is more impressive than a well-spoken confident person who is representing a company. Creative writing helps improve you improve your vocabulary and hone your writing skills so you can present yourself in a very astute and articulate way in the workforce.
• Creative writing courses help you identify the strengths and weaknesses in your writing so you can work to improve them.
• Creative writing allows you to work in groups and learn how to handle the critique of your work by others, as well as provide constructive criticism to your team.
• Creative writing can also help you explore and improve upon the art of persuasion.

CREATIVE WRITING CAN BE USED AS A SELF-HELP TOOL
• Writing can be used as a vehicle for self-discovery. Putting pen to paper can help you explore your habits and life patterns to identify where you are succeeding, and where you might want to consider change. Once you begin to open up, you will have the opportunity to get in touch with lost feelings and hidden memories which you can work through in your own way and in your own time.
• Creative writing can help you empathize more effectively. Writing allows you develop new perspective and gain insight into differing points of view. As you develop your characters, you begin to identify with them and explore different ways of thinking about things.
• Writing can help you empower yourself. Writing allows you to acquire a more developed personal voice. It enhances your self-esteem and extends your self-awareness.

CREATIVE WRITING CLASSES OFFER PEOPLE WITH A GENUINE INTEREST IN LITERATURE THE CHANCE TO SEE HOW LITERATURE ACTUALLY WORKS.
• Creative writing provides an outlet that helps people both improve their communication skills and feel the satisfaction of taking a project from start to finish.
• Creative writing classes offer writers the opportunity to hone their skills and achieve satisfaction in a job well done.

CREATIVE WRITING CAN HELP YOU LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE OR EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY
• People learning a new language can benefit from a creative writing class by learning about sentence structure and reading books and stories in a new language.
• Creative writing courses can help people learning a new language master vocabulary and the use of things like idioms and analogies that are common in every day speech.

CREATIVE WRITING HELPS YOU MEET NEW PEOPLE
• By taking a creative writing course, or attending a workshop, you will find others who enjoy writing as much as you do.
• These courses are a great way to meet people in your community, and you never know where the relationships you make in your class will take you in the future.

Whether you could use a little refresher on punctuation (like someone I know), or you just want to clock out from the daily grind for a little bit to unwind, creative writing has something to offer you. Take a look at these classes, and enjoy!

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What to do now that Serial is over

now that Serial is over

Have you been hooked on Serial? I admit that I was completely engrossed in it. There were so many fascinating aspects of the story. First and foremost the very sad and tragic murder of Hae Lee.

Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial follows one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. It follows the plot and characters wherever they take go over the course of their investigation. The audience learns along with the Serial team and is sometimes only a few days behind. Season One’s story goes like this: On January 13, 1999, Adnan Syed was a hurt and vengeful ex-boyfriend who carried out a premeditated murder. Or he was a bewildered bystander, framed for a crime he could never have committed.

If you haven’t heard the podcast yet, you might want to go and do that. But if you have finished it and are looking for something to keep the excitement going here are some classes you might be interested in:

Your Voice: a Professional Tool – I have listened to many audio books over the last few years and if there is one thing I can say improves the book, it is the reader’s voice. I found Sara Koenig’s voice, cadence, and attitude to be a big part of my enjoyment of the podcast.

Conducting a Killer Interview: Clearly, Sara interviewed many people during the 15 months she researched Serial, and as a reporter she was probably a fabulous interviewer, to begin with. But, did she get extra information out of people because of her style, her questions, or her ability to connect the dots? There is an art to conducting an interview and you can learn how to do it too.

Documentary Workshop: Perhaps you are more interested in telling a story in film than audio. You can learn the techniques of successful documentaries from long time PBS producer John de Graaf in this two-day workshop.

I don’t know about you, but I will definitely tune in for season two of Serial.

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