What was your first job in the gaming industry?
My first job in the industry was as a Junior Artist for a government contractor looking to get into the game industry. While the contracts kept us busy, I was more interested in our Xbox and PC game development projects. After two unreleased products, I knew it was time to move on.
Did you find it difficult to get your first job given that you had no prior experience?
Getting my first job was a difficult task. Years ago, it seemed all entry-level artist positions required at least ‘2 years experience’. Even though I had a solid portfolio, I couldn’t see anyone wanting to hire me without any real-world experience. But I took any and all internships I could get my hands on. Each one helped build my portfolio and gave me the experience I needed. Fortunately, one of those internships landed me my first gig.
What sort of training or education did you complete in advance of applying for your first position?
I studied art with a concentration in media arts. It gave me the basic skills I needed to understand how to create 3D art. But in no way did it prepare me to get my first position.
I can’t stress enough how class work alone will not get you a job. A potential employer receives a flood of applications around graduation. Think of how many students submit the same class assignment to the same employer as a portfolio piece.
What is your job today?
I’m currently a Senior Artist at BioWare Mythic.
For someone interested in starting a career making games today what is the main piece of advice you would offer them?
Don’t lock yourself in a basement playing games and occasionally adding something to your portfolio. This industry has exploded with talent in recent years. Learn and expand upon your skills. Jump on a modding team or download a free engine to build your own world. There are countless resources available online to anyone looking to make games. Lastly, get yourself onto a game development forum. Post your work and ask questions. Who knows, you might just get noticed and receive an unsolicited job offer.