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emark.mark20

Is marketing a practical major like computer science and buisiness?

21 posts in this topic

Hi everyone, recently, I posted a question asking if I should continue my art major or change into some other major with better job prospects, which you can read here:

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/637165-college-major-dilemma-should-i-continue-to-major-in-art-or-something-else-that-have-better-job-prospects/

After some consulting with my college's career center, I decided to minor or double major in something vocational. I am not giving up my art major because I love creating art and I have a desire to be a better artist than I am now. While I have dreams of working for the games industry one day, I simply would like to get an edge in this job market and supplementing my art major to me seems like a good choice.

The first thing that comes to mind is marketing since they go hand to hand in many ways. I read somewhere in Tom's site that if someone was a marketer and wants to get into the games industry for a career change, it would not be much of a problem. However, I am not sure if its one of those "practical majors". I would appreciate it if any of you can shed some light into this. If marketing is not likely to get me a job as buisiness or computer science, what 2nd major do you suggest?

Please note that this isn't just for applying to the video game industry, but getting a job in general. Thanks in advance.
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The world needs marketers.  It is a viable career for many people.

 

Is it something you want to do?

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In my personal opinion, it's a terrible policy to pick a career path based solely on whether or not you can get a job in that field.

 

Yes, employability is a factor, but it's hardly everything. As frob hinted at, [i]actually wanting to do the job[/i] is worth far more than just the prospects of [i]landing[/i] the job.

 

 

You can get a job as a marketer. You can even get a job in the games industry as a marketer. So what? You can get a job as a janitor for a game studio, too.

 

 

[b]What do you want to do in the games industry?[/b] If you want to make games, marketing is an utter waste of your time and educational investment. If you just want to be physically proximal to people who make games, consider that being a janitor in the building is just as effective and requires a lot less money to earn a degree. If, as a third possibility, you want to [i]market[/i] games, then this should be a no-brainer.

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If you want to make games, marketing is an utter waste of your time and educational investment.

 

Not necessarily.  Marketing could be an entry path into the game industry, from which one could become a producer or executive (decision-maker, one who can decide which games should be made). 

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" actually wanting to do the job is worth far more than just the prospects of landing the job."

 

I don't know -- I've spent my professional life wanting to be a good software engineer. In general, that's only ever led to tears because although they always say they want good software engineers, almost all employers actually want;

  • software engineers willing to do a bodge job in half the sensible time
  • engineers willing to avoid the actual useful tools or the right way of doing things for what amount to religious reasons. (Eg; here's a copy of Excel. Please implement a database system in it... because we don't want to buy a database system because it'll be too complicated)
  • engineers who are willing to put up with using substandard components "because they're already written" which is kind of like asking people to design aircraft around engines which are known not to work but have already been assembled or purchased...
  • engineers who are willing to "program down" to the level of the least skilled person the company hypothesises they might hire.[1]
  • engineers who are willing to actually lie to clients about the safety, security or correctness of software
  • Some or all of the above in combination.

 

It's dull constantly being asked to under-perform, especially when you're actually good. To be honest there are days (often many of them) when I wish I'd become a lawyer or an accountant. I'd never be brilliant at a career like that, but at least I'd only be as mediocre as people expected me to behave rather than constantly having to tone down something I enjoy being good at to a 4 or a 5 on the dial.

 

 

 

[1] You would be AMAZED at the kind of companies that do that.

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  • engineers who are willing to "program down" to the level of the least skilled person the company hypothesises they might hire.[1]

 

[1] You would be AMAZED at the kind of companies that do that.

 

To be fair, I've worked with code at the other end of the scale, and I can see why they do it. My last company had an ex-programmer who wrote some of the most complex template meta-programming I'd ever seen in production code, stuff to make Alexandrescu proud. Eventually he left to work elsewhere and nobody could understand the many levels of abstraction he'd been allowed to code in, so the code was essentially unmaintainable. I wouldn't have wanted him to program to the level of the least skilled person, but he should have had to 'program down' a bit. Part of being good is creating stuff that others can work with.

Edited by Kylotan
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The world needs marketers.  It is a viable career for many people.
 
Is it something you want to do?


Honestly, I am interested in more about the art side of things. I would like to have a side major in something practical to make myself very marketable in this job market ( not jus tthe games industry but in any industry in general). I am doing some research if it alings with my passions however and of course, I am starting with GameDev .net.

In my personal opinion, it's a terrible policy to pick a career path based solely on whether or not you can get a job in that field.
 
Yes, employability is a factor, but it's hardly everything. As frob hinted at, actually wanting to do the job is worth far more than just the prospects of landing the job.
 
 
You can get a job as a marketer. You can even get a job in the games industry as a marketer. So what? You can get a job as a janitor for a game studio, too.
 
 
What do you want to do in the games industry? If you want to make games, marketing is an utter waste of your time and educational investment. If you just want to be physically proximal to people who make games, consider that being a janitor in the building is just as effective and requires a lot less money to earn a degree. If, as a third possibility, you want to market games, then this should be a no-brainer.


I would like to make art for the games industry. Of course, it is the reason why I have a pending degree in studio art. But I think art and marketing would go hand in hand. After all, don't we want our game characters, environments, weapons, features, etc to be appealing to customers?

More research is in order here for me...

If you want to make games, marketing is an utter waste of your time and educational investment.

 
Not necessarily.  Marketing could be an entry path into the game industry, from which one could become a producer or executive (decision-maker, one who can decide which games should be made). 

This is actually one of the reasons why I am thinking of having a marketing major on the side.
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My point isn't so much that you can't get into the industry via marketing positions. My point is that you should be considering what exactly "being in the industry" means [i]to you[/i]. Tom is completely correct that you can break in via marketing and move on to production or executive-type positions, but that's not the same as being in the guts of a game creating art for it.

 

You said you want to make art for games: cool! Be more specific. Is drawing box art and advertisements the kind of thing you're interested in, or are you talking about a more classical "game art" position? They will be very different jobs, likely for very different leadership and possibly even different companies (and certainly different departments).

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You said you want to make art for games: cool! Be more specific. Is drawing box art and advertisements the kind of thing you're interested in, or are you talking about a more classical "game art" position? They will be very different jobs, likely for very different leadership and possibly even different companies (and certainly different departments).


I am more leaning towards concept art as i have been doing fanart with Sonic characters for awhile. I am also thinking of 3d modeling as an alternative.

However, I am also making advertisements, brochures, and newsletters (for made up clients and events) to get a graphic design internship, and to show off my photoshop and illustrator skills. Many employers I see have "must have experience in photoshop, illustrator, and indesign" . The above gig is to simply build a portfolio however. If I could , I would also submit my Sonic fanart as portfolio pieces but I don't think that would work. Correct me if i am wrong but I doubt they would accept fanart of existing charactersa, especially for legal reasons.
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I am more leaning towards concept art as i have been doing fanart with Sonic characters for awhile.

 

The number of concept artist positions in the industry as a whole is miniscule. You may need a dedicated concept artist, you will need lots of content creation artists.

 

So, as a good rule of thumb, if you are not so successful in another medium that a game company is licensing your IP or your name/fan-base, you will need to be a successful production artist before you can get a job as a concept artist.

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I happen to have a degree in marketing, along with 6 years of experience in the field before I switched to gamedev. Theoretical marketing (also known as a marketing degree) is actually a cheap shit. No matter how good the school that gave you the diploma is, there are just millions of people with this degree already. What counts is the actual experience.

 

In the game industry, marketing experience can help you land a job in sales or marketing. Marketing combined with art degree could help you out much more, for example in DTP, Art Direction, Webdesign - although these jobs are usually more like 90% art, 10% marketing as there is a separate marketing person anyway and what's mostly expected of you is art.

 

I just asked 4 of our producers if a marketing degree can help to land a job in game production. One said "no", two just gave me pitiful looks, not thinking the question is even worth answering and one ridiculed the concept for at least 5 minutes. The same question about marketing skills met answers ranging from "maybe" to "not really".

 

I guess it just all comes down to what you want to do in the industry. If a path of sales/marketing employee --> marketing/sales manager --> sales executive appeals to you then marketing can be a good bet. However, if you wanna go more into actual development, marketing won't be that helpful.

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Hey there! Small disclaimer: I'm just trying to give my opinion and advice and hopefully not offend you. If I do, sorry 'bout that. biggrin.png

 

In my experience, marketing is an essential part of any game development team, but a marketing degree... maybe no?

 

"Triple A" games will double their budget just in advertising but will sometimes outsource the advert work to a firm. If you want to do marketing for games, maybe look to join a good firm in a city with a strong game dev industry like Seattle? But this path probably won't get you into a studio to make games very quickly.

"Indie" games and studios tend to work on a shoe-string budget when it comes to advertising; usually having the game artist(s) double as a promo-artist(s) and everyone on the team running around the internet to show off their game. If this is where you wanna be, then do as much art work for indie teams as you can. Get stuff done and get paid! biggrin.png

 

So it really depends on where you want to be, but when it comes to a marketing or even an art degree; the degree itself just means that you understand the meaning behind what you're doing and you've been able to tough out some book learnin'. What's really important is a highly polished portfolio with creative ideas, original work, and some previously published works. You need to show you can do what your degree suggests you can do; to show that you have been able to put your education into action and that you have the skills needed. Because that's a big part of it. You need skill and knowledge. Knowledge is something anyone can get where as skill takes a boat-load of time and practice, some innate ability or leaning toward the subject, and then some more time and practice.

 

Also, avoid fan-art like a plague. When I see fan art, I think "great, this kid can copy what they see." It doesn't show skill to copy a design and if you can't show skill, then you won't get hired. When you're drawing fan-art in their original style, what does that really show potential employers? Only that you aren't creative enough to come up with your own ideas. Sure, once you get to be more recognized, you can draw your take on others characters and show them off, but if I were you, I would definitely avoid drawing in other peoples style.

 

But those are just my suggestions...

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. 

Edited by DaveTroyer
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Hmmm... Judging from the posts here, it seems like marketing may not be one of those " practical "majors at all.

Still, I don't know what other major I should take to supplement my art major. I do know I want it to be marketable enough for this economy. I may consider being a business major along with my art side of things...

Otherwise, I may just start a new post for my second question.... Thanks.
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Also, avoid fan-art like a plague. When I see fan art, I think "great, this kid can copy what they see." It doesn't show skill to copy a design and if you can't show skill, then you won't get hired. When you're drawing fan-art in their original style, what does that really show potential employers? Only that you aren't creative enough to come up with your own ideas. Sure, once you get to be more recognized, you can draw your take on others characters and show them off, but if I were you, I would definitely avoid drawing in other peoples style.


Yes I figured as much. The fan art was just for fun and for my deviantart account but I have no plans to put it in my official art
portfolio.
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Also, avoid fan-art like a plague. When I see fan art, I think "great, this kid can copy what they see." It doesn't show skill to copy a design and if you can't show skill, then you won't get hired. When you're drawing fan-art in their original style, what does that really show potential employers? Only that you aren't creative enough to come up with your own ideas. Sure, once you get to be more recognized, you can draw your take on others characters and show them off, but if I were you, I would definitely avoid drawing in other peoples style.

 

I agree. All you can achieve in drawing in someone's style is make a perfect copy or get criticized for making worse copies of someone's stuff. But if you take someone's character and draw it in your own style (like this guy for example: http://j-scott-campbell.deviantart.com ) you are producing an added value, showing your interpretation of characters. And it's still fanart, just a better one.

 

On the other hand, you would be surprised how often concept artists are required to draw something "exactly like..." There are gaming companies that would hire someone that can skillfully copy someone's style.

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Also, avoid fan-art like a plague. When I see fan art, I think "great, this kid can copy what they see." It doesn't show skill to copy a design and if you can't show skill, then you won't get hired. When you're drawing fan-art in their original style, what does that really show potential employers? Only that you aren't creative enough to come up with your own ideas. Sure, once you get to be more recognized, you can draw your take on others characters and show them off, but if I were you, I would definitely avoid drawing in other peoples style.


I agree. All you can achieve in drawing in someone's style is make a perfect copy or get criticized for making worse copies of someone's stuff. But if you take someone's character and draw it in your own style (like this guy for example: http://j-scott-campbell.deviantart.com ) you are producing an added value, showing your interpretation of characters. And it's still fanart, just a better one.

On the other hand, you would be surprised how often concept artists are required to draw something "exactly like..." There are gaming companies that would hire someone that can skillfully copy someone's style.

Interesting. my sonic fanart happens to be the current character designs but the difference is that they have clothes on and swords attached to their arms (its out of my own imagination). I am still not sure about having them on my portfolio however.

We are getting off topic here but this subject is interesting. I may post a separate topic about this.
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Hmmm... Judging from the posts here, it seems like marketing may not be one of those " practical "majors at all.

 

again that goes back to what you consider by "practical"....if you're just looking for a "backup career" then marketing might not be a bad choice...I'm a hobby game developer (having been a professional non-game developer in the past) and professionally I now manage a team of Product Managers.    My peers in Product Marketing do hire college grads with marketing degrees and honestly someone with an art background would get a leg up (and moreso in our UXD team).   And then you can look at the statistics that say the majority of CEOs in the world have a marketing background, etc, etc....    so yes marketing can be a very PRATICAL career path....

 

BUT I don't think from what I've read here that marketing enterprise software is something you want to go do.   Nor does it sound like going down (up) the management path is really what you are after right now either.

 

My advice...just follow whatever your real passion is right now...give it a go and put all you can into it.    As a college age "kid" the impacts of failure are smaller (I assume you're not married and supporting six kids :))    And the upside...(landing a carear you love) is worth it....

 

(on a side note you also mentioned a general business degree...IMO not a lot of value there, generally if someone is looking to hire a BA they want a MBA, not a BBA...I think it would be better to pick a specialization [marketing, operations, etc] unless you are thinking about going into sales)

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(on a side note you also mentioned a general business degree...IMO not a lot of value there, generally if someone is looking to hire a BA they want a MBA, not a BBA...I think it would be better to pick a specialization [marketing, operations, etc] unless you are thinking about going into sales)

This one.

 

Marketing is absolutely a practical major, especially if you are an outgoing social individual who loves talking with strangers, creating presentations, and making cold calls.

 

Business administration is absolutely a practical major, especially if you are an outgoing individual who loves working with schedules, planning, and understand terms like RP, DAU, and ARPPU, sell-through and sell-in, and such.

 

Art is absolutely a practical major, especially for those who enjoy creating and critiquing their own art, and who have invested countless hours developing their own talents at creating compelling images.

 

 

But an artistic/marketing/business administrator .... meh, not so much.

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In my personal opinion, it's a terrible policy to pick a career path based solely on whether or not you can get a job in that field.

 

Yes, employability is a factor, but it's hardly everything. As frob hinted at, actually wanting to do the job is worth far more than just the prospects of landing the job.

 

 

You can get a job as a marketer. You can even get a job in the games industry as a marketer. So what? You can get a job as a janitor for a game studio, too.

 

 

What do you want to do in the games industry? If you want to make games, marketing is an utter waste of your time and educational investment. If you just want to be physically proximal to people who make games, consider that being a janitor in the building is just as effective and requires a lot less money to earn a degree. If, as a third possibility, you want to market games, then this should be a no-brainer.

 

Sorry, going to disagree employability is an extremely important factor times have changed drastically especially for college graduates. 

Edited by tboxx
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  • engineers who are willing to "program down" to the level of the least skilled person the company hypothesises they might hire.[1]
  •  

 

[1] You would be AMAZED at the kind of companies that do that.

 

 Part of being good is creating stuff that others can work with.

Agreed.  

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Sorry, going to disagree employability is an extremely important factor times have changed drastically especially for college graduates. 


Indeed, employability is an important factor. However, i am concerned that if I try to pursue something that gives me more money but its not something I seriously want to do, I would be miserable and in an extreme case, I would be fired.

I simply would like to have a "practical" major that I would enjoy as much as my art major. Art is something I enjoy and I want to make sure that I will enjoy my second major AND it can potentially pay well as well.
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