Aspiring developers do not require university degrees to get into the industry if they are willing to work from the bottom of the corporate ladder, says Square Enix’s Ben Bateman.
As part of our Jobs in Games special, in association with OPM, Bateman said working from the bottom could, at least for some, be a more cost effective and ‘easier’ route to success than gaining qualifications, particularly with the rising costs of further education.
Bateman said he started out in QA at a publisher three years ago, and found it a great way to familiarise himself with the inner mechanics of the games industry, and later moved on to joining development studios.
He is now working as an online content producer at Square Enix, having had stints at Sega, Realtime Worlds and Codemasters.
“When I worked at Realtime Worlds, many of the QA guys were given the chance to shadow members of the team and contribute to areas that interested them,” he said.
“Aspiring artists offered up new concepts, wannabe designers, scripted missions, and it wasn’t just limited to the development side of the business either.
“While learning on the job and getting professional feedback from a mentor was incredibly valuable, what really helped was networking. It’s not rocket science – meeting and talking to people has always been important.
"Whether it’s just going out for drinks with some of the dev team – never say no! – or helping the company out at events, networking is vital.”
He added that whilst starting at the bottom may not sound glamorous, many developers in the industry had come from similar backgrounds.
You can read Bateman’s full opinion piece on how to get into the industry on our sister-site, MCV.