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Making the career switch from IT to video games?


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#1 BloodR0se   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:04 AM

Hi all,

I have been working in the IT industry doing mostly 2nd-3rd tier support and project coordination since 2006 but I have absolutely no passion for it and haven't really had from the get go, it just seemed like a way to make some money at the time using skills which I already had. 

The bad news is that I'm already 31 years old and I'm not much of a programmer but I have had some experience in QA/application testing and have quite heavily been involved with software release projects in the past. I would ideally like to initially move into a job in QA to get a feel for the industry with a view to possibly moving into QA management or ideally production later down the line. I do have IT certifications and am currently just over half way through a distance degree in IT and Business but I'm not really sure where to go from here. 

Could anyone offer any advice? I am currently in the UK but have worked in Canada in the past so I'm definitely not adverse to travelling for work if needed. Any help which anybody can provide will definitely be appreciated.



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#2 C0lumbo   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2345

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:34 AM

I don't think there's anything in your background or skillset that should be an obstacle to your idea of going into QA, QA management, or Production. I think your biggest problem might be that you'll likely end up taking a pay cut and worse working conditions if you make the move which might be difficult to swallow.

 

The attributes you'll need to show to prospective employers are good communication skills (both written and spoken), good organisation skills and a lot of enthusiasm and knowledge about games.

 

If you approach smaller games companies  they may even be able to create a dual role as a part-time IT guy (building machines for the rest of the team, maintaining the office network and servers, etc) and part-time QA/assistant producer. We had a guy in a role like that in my previous company (approx 20 people at the time)



#3 BloodR0se   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:22 AM

Hi, thanks for the quick reply. 

 

To be honest, the kind of role which you have described in your last paragraph there sounds perfect for me and I think my IT skills would almost definitely stretch to something like that although recently I've been more involved with project work and application support than general IT maintenance. I am MCP and CompTIA qualified to do that sort of work though. 

 

I know there will be a pay cut involved in this and probably much worse working conditions than I'm used to now, especially since I work for a University at the moment but games are where my passion is and even though I've been in IT for years I'm still listening to games industry podcasts on my commute to work each day and I tend to keep far more up to date with the games industry than I do with developments in IT. 

 

Do you know if there is any sort of course which I should be looking at so that I can learn the processes behind QA and possibly get a foot in the door or is it just a case of pounding the virtual pavement with the games companies at the moment? I have a meeting with a Game2Train rep tonight and I know they do a QA course but I'm not sure if taking on something like that would be a lot of unnecessary expense and overkill since QA isn't a particularly well paid or highly skilled role and that would probably also mean dropping out of my current Open University degree course. I've had a look around online for some jobs currently being advertised by agencies but they're looking for at least one year of experience of a junior portfolio and I'm just not sure where to start to be honest. 

 

Thanks again for all of your help. 



#4 C0lumbo   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2345

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

My (non-expert) advice would be to apply direct to as many companies as possible that are in a suitable location for you. Use something like gamedevmap to get a good list of options.

 

I'd suggest avoiding agencies because plenty of companies will be reluctant to pay agency fees, especially for entry-level positions. I also think you sound well qualified and experienced enough that you shouldn't go in for any extra training courses. If you find you're not getting anywhere, only then would I consider agencies and courses.



#5 BloodR0se   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

OK thanks, in case I do need to look at the course route, can you recommend any in particular which are either UK-based or which I can study from the UK by distance and which would ideally be internationally recognised? I'm just worried that at the moment I will either be considered wrong for a testing role because I don't have games industry experience or I won't be considered for an entry level games industry job because employers will be worried about me taking what some people may consider as a career demotion and pay cut.

 

My girlfriend is also trying to look into something similar and worked from home on a couple of freelance game localisation projects (English to Japanese) whilst we were living in Canada but since we returned to UK she has been finding it difficult to find a role in game or media localisation and is currently working in bi-lingual customer services to earn a wage. Neither of us are looking to earn tons of money straight away and are happy to start from the bottom as long as we can do something which we actually care about.  



#6 BloodR0se   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:29 AM

Sorry for the double post but can anyone recommend any information sources for creating a suitable CV?

 

I have read through the information in the Sloperama article (http://sloperama.com/advice/jobapp.htm) but I think that may apply specifically to the industry in the US and I know from working overseas myself that the formatting on these things across regions can make a lot of difference and can sometimes dictate whether or not you are considered as a viable candidate. 

 

My CV as it as at the moment is an IT CV spanning several pages due to the various technologies I've been involved with and the contracts/projects I've worked on etc so I'm not quite sure what sort of format my entry-level QA CV should take. 


Edited by BloodR0se, 08 February 2013 - 05:39 AM.





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