A Gamer’s Primer to Optimizing the Career Meta, Part 1: Introduction

This blog is approaching its ninth anniversary this year. One of the things about it that I have been very proud of over the past several years is how this blog has helped young hopefuls land their first jobs and enter the game industry. I’ve received several private notes over the years from successful job seekers who managed to obtain employment in part thanks to the help and advice I’ve provided on these pages. In those intervening years, I myself have also changed and grown as a designer and a developer. 


I’ve [answered a lot of questions] at length about [how to obtain a job in the game industry] but, due to certain major recent personal events, it occurred to me recently that there’s an entire career meta game beyond obtaining that first job that is often very opaque to those participating in it. Because of that lack of transparency, there are a lot of factors and truths that many people haven’t considered when it comes to making career-related decisions. Worse still, much of the existing career advice  out there is over-generalized and not particularly applicable. Even a question as seemingly-simple as “When should I consider changing jobs?” can have a complex and nuanced answer. Obviously, there’s a default answer to this - you have to find a new job if/when you lose your old one - but I believe a lot of game devs (and the workers out there at large) have not considered expanding the situations when they would want to find a new job beyond that. There’s a lot of room for optimization in this area, from recognizing when to start looking to salary negotiations after you’ve received an offer. I believe a lot of you could stand to learn how to optimize your options a bit more through small and practical means.


In this series, I want to take a higher-level look beyond just finding that first job, and expanding the view towards actual career building. I am to answer the kind of questions within the career meta that a lot of younger (and even older) developers may feel uncomfortable asking, like “how do I level up from junior to senior?”, “how do I get higher pay?”, “when should I change jobs?”, and so on. A lot of the answers to these questions tend to be assumed, but the intuitive answer is often not the most efficient answer. I hope that this collection of small and practical optimizations in varying fields will have a beneficial effect on your careers’ growth, similar to how my small and practical optimizations have helped some people secure their first game dev jobs.

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