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How to Get a Job in the Games Industry

by Johnny Kilhefner

There are several doors leading into the video game industry, and the careers there differ by skill and specialty. Video games are made by the dedication and hard work of a number of people, with influenc by the journalists who critically analyze them. Some positions, such as internships, are more easily attained than others, and a college education may be required, but the most important quality to have is a passion for games.

Internship

Apply for an internship at a video game company or publication. Many companies take on college interns through unpaid internships. These positions must provide students with an educational environment, as dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Interns should not perform menial tasks, but should do things that teach them the business and give them an environment to network and gain valuable contacts in the industry.

Tester

If you have a love for video games, an eye for detail and the ability to think critically, then you can be a video game tester. Testing is an entry-level position. When searching online for these jobs, don't use the search term "video game tester." Instead, search on "quality assurance tester." The former is an overly used phrase that ends with murky results at best. Game testers spend time with a single game for the duration of production, looking for game-breaking bugs and other problems that need to be patched before the game "goes gold," or into development.

Programmer

Programming is a highly technical position that requires fluency in a number of computer programming languages. The most common is the C++ programming language. Most programming hopefuls take computer science degrees in college. When applying for a job, it's good to have programming experience as well, so working on small projects with developers is a good idea.

Video Game Journalist

Becoming a video game journalist doesn't have a clear-cut path. Many start as bloggers, working their way to more respected publications by freelancing, with or without a degree in English or journalism. Others get the degree first, start blogging, then go on to a position as a staff writer for a games publication. The only sure way to become a games journalist, however, is good writing. If you can write well and have a passion for video games, then you can become a games journalist with the right amount of effort and perseverance.

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

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