Live Q&A: Getting a job in the games industry

Last month the games industry celebrated the closest thing it has to an Oscars ceremony – the GAME British Academy Awards.

As you may expect, gamers’ favourites and familiar names such as Heavy Rain, Mass Effect and Call of Duty: Black Ops were the big winners. But it wasn’t just the super-experienced teams behind the games which impressed the judges…

Five students picked up the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award for their debut project Twang, a side-scrolling racing game. Now, adding a BAFTA to you CV before you’ve even started full time work is no mean feat, and the career boost it’ll provide hasn’t escaped former University of Abertay student Thomas Finlay’s attention.

He told the BBC: “I think it might [help my chances] because the people who I know who won last year are all quite successful now. They’ve all got graduate jobs, or junior jobs in the games industry.”

It is indeed a pretty impressive leg up in a competitive industry. Now, we know everybody can’t add a BAFTA-winning game to their portfolio, and that getting in is a challenge in the games industry. So, we’ve assembled a panel of experts who’ll be discussing what it takes to get your big break in a live Q&A on Tuesday 19 April.

You can keep up-to-date with our regular Q&A sessions via our newsletter.

Our panel:

Chris Kempt is MD and founder of Kempt, a digital marketing agency and specialist in advertising games. Chris is a board member for BIMA, the British Interactive Media Association.

Brian Baglow created and continues to run the games industry blog Brian also worked as the screenings director for the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, is a visiting lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University’s Screen Academy and the interactive/digital media member of the BAFTA Scotland committee. He is currently head of interactive entertainment at Revolver PR.

Kim Blake is Blitz Games Studios‘ senior events and education coordinator. Kim has worked in the UK independent game development industry for 18 years. Her current job includes liaising with higher education institutions and maintaining Blitz’s extensive careers advice site, Blitz Academy Online.

Sean Dugan is a game designer, writer and former journalist. Previously an international columnist, he now makes video games. He is currently the design director at eeGeo.

David Hodges has been working with TIGA, the trade association representing the UK’s games industry, for a number of years on a range of issues affecting the games sector. Before working with TIGA, he was employed as a parliamentary researcher focusing on culture, media and sport policy.

Saint John Walker is VFX sector manager at Skillset, the sector skills council for the creative industries.

Grant Clarke is a lecturer in Computer Games Development within the Institute of Art, Media and Computer Games at the University of Abertay Dundee. He has a fifteen year history of working in video games development where he was employed in senior programming roles across multiple platforms.

Mark Eyles is founder of Women in Games — an organisation which works to redress the gender balance in the field. He is also principal lecturer and games course leader at the University of Portsmouth, educational adviser to TIGA, games researcher for the Advanced Games Research Group and had worked in the games industry from 1981 to 2003.

Dr Kevin Chalmers is a lecturer in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University, where he acts as the programme leader for the BSc Interactive Entertainment and Games Development degree.

Brian McNicoll is one of the three founding directors of the BAFTA-award winning Dundee-based Dynamo Games. Brian started the business straight from university in June 2003.

Liam Wong is a 2D Artist at Crytek. He is new to the industry; he graduated last year and has recently finished work on Crysis 2.

Russell Kay is a visiting professor of Computer Games Technology at the University of Abertay Dundee and chief technology officer at YoYo Games.

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