[BetaDwarf CEO Steffen Kabbelgaard explains why students should complete a mental checklist and self-evaluation before considering a career in the video games industry.]
The game industry is one of the most demanding industries to work in. There's no education that truly prepares you for it. Production techniques are constantly updated, employments are bottlenecked as hell, working hours can be extreme, your efforts are constantly judged, you need to deliver all the time etc. and that's just to mention a few complications... (More on that: Link1, Link2, Link3, Link4)
Yet a lot of people target it as their career path.
A couple of things annoy me regarding many game career pursuers, because they don't realize what they are up against and more or less naively follow the path anyway. Thinking that if they just acquire a university degree, with some courses on game design and game prototyping, well then it's all gonna end happy. But it wont! It will end in frustration without a job.
That's a waste in so many ways, so this is one of my efforts to improve on that! I wan't people to realize what it is they are aiming for and what it takes, before they take that decision. I love being a game developer and it's been worth it so far for me. But not without consequences.
You better want it!
The future will only get harder, that's what this one is about, later I'll write some approaches I personally find relevant to increase your chances of getting a good career.
I'm from Denmark, and I will focus on that part of the game industry in this one. In Denmark a rough estimate of active game students would be 800, and each year around a 100 people with different backgrounds finish their bachelor/master with a wish of working as game developers.
The danish game industry is very small, but it includes 1 AAA studio (180+ employees) two major companies (40+ employees) and approximately 5 medium sized companies (15+ employes), and then a ton of small companies (less than 10 employees). E.g. my own company BetaDwarf would count as small, as we are two founders and zero employees even though our crew includes 10 full time developers and 5+ part time. But we aren't able to provide for those guys and the girl, i.e. they don't count as employed.
Finally a rough estimate would be that there are 600 full time game developers employed in Denmark.
You see where i'm going? Yea, a huge bottleneck. What that essentially means is that around 15 students gets employed after each year. And those persons are the absolute brightest, these are the smart ones who figured out that this bottleneck exist and that a casual career route would probably not do it for them.
To make it even worse, 5 years ago the number of active game students would be less than hundred, so competition is increasing at crazy rates. The few companies that do well, will have a ton of applicants to select from, and in the games industry, portfolios are easy to relate to and often tell a lot more than grades.
So what should you do if you're challenged by wanting to form a career in one of the toughest industries?
Well I can tell you what I do...