Artists and coders to lead thriving 2016 jobs market

But recruiter Aardvark Swift warns that there is ‘no quick fix’ for dearth of dev talent, as nearly three quarters of games firms prepare to look for new staff this year
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Studios will be desperately seeking experienced programmers and artists this year, but may struggle to find talented workers to bring on board.

A recent TIGA survey found that 72 per cent of games companies plan to expand their number of staff in 2016, with 12 per cent expecting their workforce to grow ‘a lot’. 

However, Ian Goodall, MD of games recruitment agency Aardvark Swift, tells Develop that “there simply aren’t enough good people to fill the roles out there”.

“Recruiting great coders remains a massive challenge, particularly for specialist roles like engine and physics,” he explains. “There’s a huge demand for C++ coders, as well as C++ coders that can use Unity.

“The newer areas we’re seeing demand in are for languages like JavaScript and Hadoop, as the back-end and support systems for games get larger and require more ‘non-games’ coding skills.”

Programming isn’t the only area suffering from a lack of experience.

“Finding truly talented artists is becoming equally difficult,” Goodall continues. “There are no quick fixes in the short term for many studios. It’s simply a tough, ongoing battle for the best talent.

“We’ll see a rise in VFX and technical art roles for graduate artists.”

He adds: “There will also be further growth in areas like data analysis and business information – the market is now really alive to the value of these.

“We’re seeing spikes in demand for community and customer service staff as more games move to ‘software as a service’ and ongoing release models, too.”

Goodall advises firms to invest in up-and-coming developers by recruiting graduates as a solution to the lack of experienced workers.

“By looking slightly longer-term studios can help themselves enormously,” he says. “There are some amazing code and art graduates now being produced by UK and European universities. The best grads are being snapped up by the most proactive studios.

“If you are a studio and you’re not involved with the next generation of talent, you are missing an opportunity.” 

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