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Game Developers Win

Have you ever considered the brains behind games that make millions of dollars for the gaming companies every year? Or that game can be used for more than Call 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 are a veteran Guitar 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. "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? He 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.

Get the necessary training, work on open-source projects and continue developing a network with those already employed in the industry.

Source: USA Today, Anita Bruzzese, 3/15/12