Making your first steps in the games industry can be challenging. For every superstar game developer managing to catch a big break straight out of university, there are hundreds of others who don’t. Many graduates have the skills, ideas and ambition to succeed in the games industry, but struggle when they encounter barriers such as a lack of experience and even their own preconceptions of industry life.
The best people to help with this are those who have already made that journey, learned the lessons and are able to pass on their knowledge and insight to the next generation. With the Grads In Games initiative, we’re providing a platform for that to happen.
To increase the employability of the next generation of games developers, Aardvark Swift is building an expansive hub of guidance and education with Grads In Games. A key component is our massive annual Get In The Game careers tour. Each year we travel across the UK to deliver employability talks in 64 universities, bringing along representatives from leading UK studios to meet the students and share their own advice and experiences. We’re bringing employability and careers advice to those who need it, and giving students the chance to learn from top studio representatives.
The initiative has already gained significant attention from UK students, and direct support from across the games industry, including from Microsoft UK, Unity, Sumo Digital, Boss Alien and Exient. The level of direct input from industry partners has enabled us to provide direct, relevant guidance for students and graduates from the studios themselves. It is an invaluable resource and an opportunity for games academia to have access to a knowledge base that is largely unavailable to them.
The aim of Grads In Games is to increase the employability of UK games-focused graduates. Topics covered range from CV and portfolio advice, shared experiences and advice from professional developers, all the way through to opportunities for internships and entry-level jobs at UK studios.
Showcasing their talents in competitions such as Search For A Star is a fantastic way of increasing employability. Getting the best grads in front of top studios, challenging their abilities and giving them feedback directly from professional games developers. Throughout the competition – and the wider Grads In Games campaign – everyone is given the encouragement and guidance needed to help them break into the games industry.
It's not just about the students either. Progress through the competition, strengths, faults and studio comments are reported directly back to the university course leaders. So it’s great that we’ve opened up more lines of communication between the industry and academia – again something that has been lacking over previous years.
Over the coming months, we’ll be expanding the site to provide guidance on individual job roles, including the qualifications needed, how to prepare for industry life, and how to get noticed.
Grads In Games can be found at www.GradsInGames.com , with an ever-increasing host of resources alongside information on the Search For A Star competition and the Get In The Game tour.