SO, YOU WANT TO BE A GAMES DEVELOPER…REALLY?

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A GAMES DEVELOPER…REALLY?

Remember that time you and The Stranger beat each other to a pulp in God of War 4? How about those three years of life that went missing because of World of Warcraft or What’s that, you say? You’re too cool for that shill and would rather spend your weekends battling it out with your friends on Apex Legends. Hey, don’t knock Fortnite. I mean, come on. Their characters can dance.

Here’s the deal. You’ve grown up immersed in the gaming worlds of creative geniuses, and you want to create games just like them one day. That’s as lofty a goal as any, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t want to do any of that. Or at the very least, I’m here to tell you that things aren’t always as they seem.

Sure, games are great fun, but do you know what a compiler is? How about the differences between object-oriented programming and functional programming? Can you write if statements in C++ or read a SQL statement? Did you know that Java and JavaScript have nothing to do with each other? Do you even want to know?

When it comes to choosing a career in any industry, that’s a key question: Do I want to know?

Give yourself some breathing space to work out if that careers you’ve always dreamed of is what it’s cracked up to be. It’s amazing what a touch of introspection can do when mixed with a dash of research. If you think about it, and you’re still interested, then break it down a little further. Get more granular

If you got the statement joke in the first paragraph, for example, then maybe you do enjoy data and the idea of writing code…and more power to you. However, if the aesthetics of computer games—how they look and sound—appeal to you more, chances are you’ll be interested in a more creative focus.

If you enjoy a good story-based RPG, perhaps you’d be more interested in becoming a writer. Or if you love how games look, you might find fulfilment in animation and graphics. Do those epic scores and sound FX hit you hard in the feels? Then check out music or sound engineering.

If you don’t know anyone in those industries, look them up, or ask your mentor/teacher to put you in touch with someone they know. Ask people in the industry you’re considering what they love and hate about their jobs. We have to be willing to take the good with the bad, after all, and no job is perfect, and knowing what those are before investing swathes of time and money certainly helps. Never underestimate the value of getting it from the horse’s mouth.

I don’t mean to sound preachy, but I wish someone was more direct with me before I got into IT. Computer games may have been different when I was growing up, but I loved them too, and that fuelled my desire to work in the IT industry. Fast forward 20 years and I’ve spent most of my adult life in web development and technical consulting. Only later did I realise that my true passion lay in creative writing. Now I write novels, screenplays, and content for table-top RPGs.

In short, make sure that thing you want to do really IS the thing you want to do. Don’t spend decades looking for your passion while doing something you don’t really enjoy because…well, you know…bills.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Life is way too short. While you’re still young, set aside time to pick out your path then go at it like it’s nobody’s business. Your future self will thank you.

Top Tip: If you reached the end of this and still want to program games, head on over to www.W3Schools.com and learn some basic to intermediate SQL.

It’s really easy to follow and will look really impressive on your CV or college application. It’ll give you an advantage over competition too because everyone thinks about what coding languages they want to learn, but very few consider the data side, and data is the future.

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