Networking in the Field of Game Design
Many individuals forget about the power of networking when it comes to their careers. Like many career paths, networking is one of the best ways for new game designers to break into the field and launch their careers. Game designers need to learn about the art of networking early and brush up on it often throughout their careers.
For this reason, it is often suggested to take courses in public speaking and personal communications as a part of any design degree program. Networking is a way new designers can make contacts with employees of several different companies, and a way for established designers to market themselves and their products.
Here are the most common ways game designers can network with others in the design and gaming industry:
There are plenty of opportunities to network with other game designers and developers online. Technology is giving people the opportunity to be connected to others - and new designers should seize the opportunities. There are online communities, message boards, and forums created by, and for, game designers. Find very active communities and begin networking with other designers, as early in your career as possible. It is also important to maintain the connections you make.
New game designers can also use social networking mediums to grow their connections and meet even more designers. Social networking differs from other online networking in that it is focused more on making long-term connections, and less on "question and answer" type forums. Game designers can connect not only with other designers, but also with consumers in order to learn more about the design audience. In return, consumers offer enthusiasm toward the gaming industry, and In turn offer virtually free marketing and exposure.
Conventions, commonly referred to as "cons" are held all across the country. These conventions celebrate the gaming industry, as well as various industries that feed into or bleed over into the gaming industry. Attending conventions will not only give new game designers the opportunity to see the latest games, but it enables them to meet other developers and designers. This type of networking is priceless, even for seasoned game designers. Establishing new contacts within the industry can boost designers' careers by getting their name out there to others who may way to do business only with those whom they meet in person.
Game Design Professional Organizations
There are excellent organizations that are devoted to game design, and professional groups are a great place to connect with other designers. These groups give new designers the opportunity to network with other game designers, develop real conversations, and throw around ideas of value. This is a great starting point for designers who want to focus on networking only with other professionals, for whatever reason. New designers are also more likely to find experienced designers for mentoring if needed. Two great organizations that game designers should consider are Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and International Game Developers Association (IGDA).
Despite what designers may think, networking is not an outdated concept used only by salespeople. Game designers will find real value in expanding their professional and social circle when they keep the focus on their work.
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