This month we have a series of blogs from young people who are weeks away from graduating and are about to enter the world of work. In these blogs, the graduates will be discussing how university prepared them for their future careers. Our fourth blog in the series is from Eilidh Macleod, who is about to graduate from Abertay University with a degree in Game Design and Production Management. Eilidh has already started work at Outplay Entertainment.
The course I studied, Game Design & Production Management focused on preparing me for the games industry from the get go.
The modules taught throughout the course were geared towards giving us the skills necessary at getting a job in games. They tried to mimic industry culture: large open plan workspaces, encouraged team work across disciplines and actually making game prototypes for external clients and companies. We were never, at any point, given any false pretence: the gaming industry was incredibly competitive and if you wanted a job, hard work was necessary. So how did I achieve this job at Outplay Entertainment, the largest mobile games company in the UK? It really comes down to a combination of support, growth in who I am as a person and the opportunities and course content provided by Abertay.
Allow me provide some context: four years ago I entered university with truly no idea what area of game design I wanted to specialise in. I was surrounded by people that knew what area of the industry they were meant to be in and already had the basic skills to allow them to work towards that.
Then there was me, Eilidh, someone with no skills in game development, just a really determined attitude and passion. This unfortunately also resulted in a lot of self-doubt and is something I still struggle with. But thankfully, at Abertay, with this confusion and under confidence, came a lot of support and guidance. The lecturers at Abertay are incredible and inspired a confidence in me that allowed for my passion, focus and skillset in Design and Quality Assurance to develop. This truly has allowed me to develop into a person I never thought I could be four years ago, and is a massive contributing factor in me achieving employment before graduation.
Another contributing factor was Abertay recognising a common way into the incredibly competitive field of game design through Quality Assurance. Testing games is a discipline in itself and in my first year we were given a module in Quality Assurance and the skills necessary to be an effective asset to any game development project. This module allowed me to gain a summer job at a software company and it was that experience, along with all the other skills taught throughout my four years that allowed me to secure my job at Outplay Entertainment.
We had continuous exposure to the industry and the game development pipeline. The more you understand about the game development pipeline, the more valuable you are as a designer and a QA engineer. All the modules and the project briefs provided were always encouraged to be driven by our passions; that you can design and develop in your own way. In our third year, we were all put into multi discipline teams and asked to develop a game prototype for an external client. This year taught me the most about game development and allowed me to develop both personally and professionally. It gave me a multitude of experiences to discuss in interview settings and really exposed me to one of the most key factors of making a game: team work.
But in all honesty, it is difficult to pinpoint what exact aspects of my time at Abertay helped me secure my job. I haven’t quite wrapped my head round it either. On paper, I gained a lot of incredible experiences through Abertay like:
- My summer job I had testing at eeGeo which was awesome.
- Being asked to become the student ambassador for computer games which involved me going down to conferences such as EGX representing the university and gaining industry exposure and incredible contacts.
- Showcasing games I worked on at multiple exhibitions and then my final year project winning the “Totally Epic” prize from Epic Games.
All of this looks and was incredible, but believe me, none of it came easy. I worked nonstop throughout the four years and I still didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities presented. At Abertay, the opportunities are unbelievable, you just have to be brave to grab them and it definitely took me a few years to gain the confidence to start doing it.
I was so quiet and unsure before university and none of these things would have been possible if it wasn’t for Abertay and the support they provided me. The support provided lead me to develop skillsets that resulted in a boost in my confidence, and it was this confidence that lead me to bigger and better opportunities. Abertay has instilled an attitude in me to keep learning and progressing and I aim to keep developing the skillset laid out for me at University, for the rest of my career.
Other blogs in this series: