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Games Development: Graduate Area of Work
Working in the games sector means working with people from a variety of disciplines, but who all share the same passion as you.
There is no denying the growth that the global gaming industry has been experiencing in the past few decades and the impact that it has on the current generation. Singapore is not exempted from this development, and the government has been very supportive of the relatively young games sector within the country.
In a move to encourage further progress, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) has collaborated with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) to launch the Games Solution Centre (GSC), a resource facility that caters to the needs of many small-medium games enterprises in Singapore, including a PlayStation Incubation Studio.
IMDA has also teamed up with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to launch a SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme.
Thanks to the country’s solid IT infrastructure, ease of communication and transportation, as well as ready talent pool, many international industry players – such as Ubisoft, Gumi Asia, Konami Singapore, and Tecmo Koei – have made Singapore their base around this region. There is no lack of homegrown companies either, such as Daylight Studios, Touch Dimensions, and LambdaMu.
The production of games is an extremely complex process and requires the expertise of people from a variety of disciplines – e.g project managers, musicians, artists and animators, as well as programmers – which can be further broken down into even more specialist roles.
IT and computing graduates will be able to find many employment opportunities here, but the sector is a competitive one and will require a lot of preparation.
Despite the generally competitive nature of the industry, the increasing number of mobile/tablet and independent game companies is presenting new entry-level positions for graduates.
As a graduate-level recruit, you usually start out as a junior programmer, working with a mentor and a team where you’re expected to pick up key skills that are necessary in the industry.
As you pick up these skills, it would be wise to keep an eye out for your preference or affinity for certain ones, which you can then develop further to help progress in your career.
Following that, you can become an authority in a speciality area, leading a team of your own. Alternatively, you could also take a lead production role if you’d prefer to oversee the whole production process instead of focusing only on one scope of the cycle.
On most days, your schedule shouldn’t be too hectic, although that may change if you have a deadline coming up, usually nearing product completion. You’ll also have the chance to work alongside a very varied crowd – animators, designers, audio engineers, programmers, etc. – as everyone strives to perfect your product for the public.
That said, some gaming companies are beginning to cease long-term, full-time recruitment, preferring contractual/project-based hires instead. You will need to keep your ears to the ground to find out about these opportunities, so networking can be very important.
Alternatively, if the time is right, you can also take advantage of the support system offered within Singapore and set up your own independent studio.
Don’t be discouraged if you want to work a technical job in this sector but lack a degree in computer science. The games sector is typically quite open to other degrees with technical skills, so candidates with physics, mathematics, and engineering backgrounds will feel welcomed.
If you’re aiming to become a developer, make sure that you have good core programming skills and an understanding of code controls hardware.
Many employers are also fond of candidates who showcase great interest in technology, with a good understanding of upcoming trends and new technology innovations.
For instance, the rise of the tablet and mobile gaming market has caused a decline in market interest in consoles, forcing developers to reconsider how they can revolutionise the gaming industry.
The introduction of innovations like the virtual reality head-mounted displays to push the boundaries of the gaming experience are also noteworthy updates that you should take note of.
Other than that, be sure to develop various soft skills as well – good interpersonal, presentation, and documentation skills will definitely stand you in good stead. Analytical skills and good business sense are also vital abilities that can help you in the long run as you will need to know how to market your products to your target market as well.
Pros and cons
Working in the gaming industry can be a tremendously exhilarating experience as you’ll be exposed to new inventions and innovations all the time.
With gaming programmers all over the world being extremely willing to experiment with the different ways to improve the gaming experience, you’re bound to be marvelled not only by the complex coding and formula, but also the quality of the animation and the scores.
Many programmers are also enthusiastic about working with a multidisciplinary team as they’ll get the chance to interact and network with people outside of their own field. This exposes you to different perspectives of viewing a product, and may lead to the creation of an even better game.
Being around people who are equally passionate about your game is an added plus too.