Career in Games #1: How to enter the game industry

At Mobidictum Career in Games, we discussed many issues related to the industry. Elif Karaata from MagicLab shared her tips and experience for those who want to enter the game industry.
elif karaata magiclab
Elif Karaata from the MagicLab team shares her suggestions with those who want to enter the game industry.

As Mobidictum, we held our Career in Games event on November 11th! In our event, we hosted precious names and discussed many issues related to the game industry. Elif Karaata was our second guest at the event, where we had many valuable guests.

Elif Karaata is a veteran who has accomplished successful works in the game industry for more than 15 years. In addition to being a game designer, he also has experience in animation and programming. Karaata, who is equipped with the multidisciplinary structure brought about by being a game designer, has various duties in the fields of production and administrative organization in her portfolio. The experienced name is currently continuing her successful career in MagicLab’s Event and Communication Manager position.

Karaata, who has experience in various fields of the game industry as well as her own business, shared her golden tips for those who will enter the game industry at our event.

Get to know

What should you know? In her presentation, our speaker gives some recommendations with the title of “Get to Know”. The subheadings on the subject are as follows:

  • Get to Know the Game
  • Get to Know the Platforms
  • Get to Know the Industry
  • Get to Know the Roles

Get to Know the Game

Elif Karaata recommends that you should get to know the game first. Participation in the growing game industry is also increasing. However, Elif Karaata gives the following advice to people who want to join the industry but do not know much about the concept of games:

“You don’t necessarily have to be a hardcore gamer to be involved anywhere in a game development process. You don’t have to know all the games down to the last detail, but you must know the concept of the game. Even if you are already a player, look at other games and platforms as well. If you don’t have time to play, watch it. But if you set a goal of playing every game, you may not have time to improve yourself in other areas.”

Get to Know the Platforms

Another recommendation of our speaker is to get to know the platforms. It will be helpful to know which platforms have games, where games are being developed, where more games are being published. Regarding the subject, Karaata makes the following statements:

“Your target may be a single platform, but being familiar with other platforms can enrich your perspective and the roadmap you will draw for yourself.”

Various platforms can mean various games and opportunities. To follow these opportunities and take more consistent steps, you should keep your knowledge of platforms wide.

Get to Know the Industry

The game industry is growing very fast. So much so that this growth can happen much earlier than the forecasts and predicted dates that have already been made. According to the information given by Karaata, this situation is quite normal for the game industry:

“We talk a lot about the industry: Yes, it is growing very fast, opportunities are expanding, the industry is moving to a different level, its speed is always increasing, it seems like the foreseen targets are coming sooner. This has always been the case. Crisis periods, which we sometimes follow sadly, are always developing the game industry further, and we are now the locomotive of the entertainment industry.”

Karaata states that it may be beneficial for their own future for those who want to enter the industry to know what is talked about in the game industry, the numerical data of the industry, its scope, and similar issues.

Get to Know the Roles

If you haven’t been in the game industry before, you’ll likely encounter a wide variety of roles and titles, to begin with. You may need to recognize these roles in order to position yourself in the industry and establish healthier communications. Elif Karaata expresses her recommendations on this matter as follows:

“Recognize the roles. It may not be possible to familiarize yourself with every role before entering the job fully. What I mean here is to know the details of the roles. Even the definition of each role may differ according to the companies. So don’t get nervous here. You may not know the definition of every role. But I think it is a pleasant method to get to know, at least familiar with. Also, by recognizing the roles, maybe you can open new avenues for yourself.”

Stating that recognizing the roles will contribute to your communication in the industry, Karaata says that recognizing these roles can also positively affect the decisions you will make in your professional life. By exploring a new role, perhaps you can say: “Yes, that’s what I want to do”.

You should communicate

Being able to communicate well is an essential skill in the game industry and many other business areas. Stating that they attach great importance to communication in their recruitment processes, our speaker gives a clue that the key to a successful career can be solid communication:

“It is always important for us to be able to establish healthy communication. We put this as the top priority in our team and also in the new friends who will join us. If we can communicate effectively, the day we spend will be more enjoyable, it will definitely be reflected in the work we do. We are doing a creative job. We should be able to communicate in a pleasant way. It is very important to be able to communicate not only in good times but also when you are most troubled and when you are facing the most.”

The ability to communicate healthily can positively affect your whole life. In terms of the game industry, people with expertise in different disciplines work together as a team. It’s natural for each team and member to have their own unique ideas and expressions. Healthy communication is essential to convey these differences and to continue working together efficiently. Pointing out that communication is not just about words, Karaata explains:

“When I say communication, I do not only mean talking or writing an article. In fact, I’m talking about things like being able to recognize our emotions a little bit more, conduct them and feel the emotions of other people. Because we are human and we don’t just sit and do a technical job. We are trying to create an enjoyable design product together. We bring technology and art together.”

Our speaker states that making a game is, in a sense, “making the player feel something.” She also says that there should be no communication problem on the developer’s side for this.

Ask question

Stating that one of the areas where communication can be used is to ask questions, she comments on the subject as follows:

“Call out, don’t hesitate to call out to learn something, to get information about something. What I mean is, the job application process is difficult, but your communications may be insufficient when you apply automatically and quickly. Unlike companies that employ thousands of people, our industry has an advantage. Use this advantage and remember that the people around you are human too.”

Team structures in the game industry are indeed smaller in scale compared to other industries. Sometimes even the most significant game developer studios operate with double-digit employee numbers. Many other dev teams are expressed in single digits. This can sometimes be an advantage for those who want to enter the industry because you have the chance to communicate with the whole team one-on-one. Saying that it is essential to ask questions at this point, Karaata continues:

“Keep in touch with the industry. Ask questions and call out. I think someone will definitely answer.”

The range of questions that can be asked is also quite wide. Especially in the recruitment processes, instead of soulless, automated applications, attitudes that directly address the person in front of you will be your advantage. Asking questions will also help you clear your doubts and provide extra valuable information.

Get experience

The subject of experience always appears as a question mark and sometimes an obstacle, especially for those new to the industry Companies sometimes want some experience, even for interns. Elif Karaata has golden recommendations on this subject:

“We are in a lane where you can gain other experiences instead of company experiences. Definitely join the Global Game Jam. It offers you a platform where you will gain different experiences and gain something. You will not suddenly learn to develop great games there. The experience you will gain there is vision. This is the most important experience.”

In addition, our speaker, who recommends you to attend other events, states that such experiences are significant for the industry. These experiences can be vital to getting the job you want. As Mobidictum, we contribute to this knowledge and experience sharing pool by organizing events specific to the game industry.

You must evolve and develop

The game industry is an environment that is constantly evolving and developing by its nature. For this reason, those who want to take part in the industry need to keep up with this nature. The products, experiences, and achievements in your portfolio are essential factors determining your place in the industry. On the subject of the portfolio, which is very important, Elif Karaata makes the following statements:

“The portfolio is, of course, the place to showcase your best work and suitability for the job. Portfolios are the places where companies make first impressions about you. Don’t think that this is just a showcase where you will showcase your products. This is also a space where you can showcase your communication and creativity. You can also consider this as an advantage. If you have no previous experience, create your own projects for your portfolio.”

Stating that preparing a portfolio can help you in many ways, our speaker says that how you prepare the portfolio is also essential. More creatively crafted portfolios can be an advantage. Composing a strong and creative portfolio will perhaps be the first step of your career in the industry.

You should apply

Elif Karaata reminds that the negative answers to be received in job applications are also a part of the process and advises that this should not be taken personally and should never be hopeless:

“The application process is a difficult one, but apply. Apply constantly. It is a perfect time to enter the industry.”

Stating that we went through a very productive process to enter the industry, Karaata recommends that you leave the negative things aside, focus on the issues you can improve yourself, and continue your search in the industry.

Elif Karaata explained how those who want to enter the industry should apply, what should be considered during the application process, and many details about the job application process in the next session. Stay tuned to our Career in Games article series to learn about the details of Elif Karaata’s presentation on “Making a difference when applying,” in which she gave valuable advice.

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