What was your first job in the gaming industry?
I started in the gaming industry creating live events inside the Matrix Online. Working with a small team of people, we ran around the game world as some of the main characters. It was ridiculously fun work. I also worked with closely with our fansites, and the community as a whole.
Did you find it difficult to get your first job given that you had no prior experience?
My background was human services, having worked at the YMCA running youth leadership programs for seven years. So even though the venues were different, the work was very similar. I desperately loved MMO gaming, so helping my new employers connect the dots between the skills I learned as a real-world community builder and doing the same work online wasn’t as difficult as it sounds.
What sort of training or education did you complete in advance of applying for your first position?
While college was important, the real learning came from my time at the YMCA. Beyond learning how to be a good human being, you also get lots of exposure to opportunity and risk in an environment where there are a lot of people wanting to help you succeed. The message here is: Work hard in school, but take advantage of all the opportunities you can to get your hands in the mix. Even if you only have time to volunteer- you’ll learn so much!
What is your job today?
Today, I’m a Producer and Community Director for an MMO in development called WildStar. One of the things I love the most about my job is the variety of things I get to do- today it might be designing a website, tomorrow it might be meeting new fans, the day after it might be a trip to another country to show off our game.
For someone interested in starting a career making games today what is the main piece of advice you would offer them?
If you are passionate about games, then you need to meet as many industry people as you can. Go to all the conferences (if you can’t afford to go, then become a volunteer!), shake all the hands, ask a lot of stupid questions, and really listen to what people have to say. Get involved online through LinkedIn and other online discussion groups, and over time you’ll get to know some really interesting people that you can depend on to give you sound advice as you continue through your career. Bonus points: Treat all the people you meet with respect. There’s a very good chance you’ll find yourself working with them at several points throughout your career.