Friday, March 16, 2012

How Your Gaming Habit Could Earn You a Big Payday

Recently I've noticed there are a lot fewer screaming kids while I'm running my weekend errands, and I think I've figured out why: All the kids are plugged in.

Even kids who can barely walk are holding mommy's cellphone or daddy's iPad. They're playing games, intently drooling over whatever is on the screen.

While some may "tsk, tsk" at plugging kids in so early (and so often), this story I did for Gannett/USAToday at least shows that maybe the reason little Billy is fooling with an iPhone at 4-years-old is because his parents have big plans for his future....

You may not think anything about video games other than your kids play them too much.

But have you ever considered the brains behind games that make millions of dollars for the gaming companies every year? Or that games can be used for more thanCall of Duty marathon sessions in your basement?

More companies are turning to games as a way to educate and engage workers, and the future is bright for those who can use their talents to develop games. Video games are expected to earn $115 billion in 2015, and part of that growth is because of the increasing demand for mobile gaming for smartphones and tablets such as the iPad, Gartner Inc. says.

But before you submit an application to a gaming company because you (or your child) are a veteranGuitar Hero player, you need to understand that these companies are looking for the best of the best.

They need innovative, creative employees who can keep them ahead of rivals in this fast-paced industry.

Alex Churchill, chief executive of VonChurch digital entertainment recruiter, says his company has even come up with a profile for the top candidates: "A 27-year-old man called Jonathan who is so tech savvy he doesn't use email," he says.


Seems so. VonChurch is an industry leader in finding the talent that gaming companies desire most. He searches the nooks and crannies of the online world to discover candidates.

VonChurch community managers "drive down" into LinkedIn to find qualified individuals who may be well versed in technical skills or developing new applications just for the fun of it.

"I placed one candidate in Brazil and I only contacted the person through Twitter," he says. "We find out who is talking about the skills we need and where they're located."

For example, knowing Ruby on Rails is a rare and highly sought skill. Those versed in the Web application framework for the Ruby programming language can be located through Google+ groups, and a VonChurch employee starts to build a bridge to the person through online chats, Churchill says.

LinkedIn has been depleted of good candidates because every recruiter uses it, he says. He finds it more beneficial to seek gaming talent through the latest networking sites.

"We're looking for the new adapters that pick up and drop technology before others even think of it," Churchill says.

Companies are willing to pay for the right prospect. Right now, Churchill says an "average deal" for the ideal gaming candidate is about $97,000, often with stock options.

So what's the best way to get the attention of gaming and tech recruiters? Churchill advises:

• Do an internship. Even if you've graduated from college, the doors for the best jobs are not going to open at a gaming company until you've completed an internship.

Attend gamers conferences and show your portfolio to employers attending to make connections, then follow up with an internship request.

• Use your creativity. "Even if you've developed a little app for a phone in your bedroom, it gives you something to show an employer what you're capable of," he says.

Such talent often can start with a gaming company at $70,000 to $80,000 a year.

• Go social. Attend meet-ups organized with others in the gaming industry through Twitter or Facebook.

Churchill says Facebook has helped VonChurch succeed in finding the right talent. Join the latest networking sites and become familiar with what other tech-savvy folks are discussing and add to the conversations.

• Continue to hone your skills. The gaming industry moves quickly, and employers are interested in people on the cutting edge.

1 comment:

joe said...

We play this game with our 8 year old and 6 year old. Our 6 year old needs a little help sometimes, but an 8 year old can play without assistance once they learn the rules. It is not as complicated as Monopoly, and it is a fun way to learn about loans, paying bills and making investments. The game is more geared towards earning money - which the kids love. You can decide before you play how long you want the game to last.