It’s a common thing to hear, whether you’re starting your career or already established: network. While portfolio building, finding work and learning more about development are all important factors, networking should also be a priority. The reality is that everyone in the industry is qualified to be there. Who you know might set you apart from the 50 other people applying for the same position.
You Never Know When Someone Is Going To Become Useful
Anything can happen during development, especially in an independent setting, like people quitting and joining other projects. Knowing someone can save you the painful process of vetting new candidates for the position. Furthermore, if you find yourself out of work for whatever reason, knowing the right people might lead to better opportunities and less time out of work. Truly, knowing someone can save you from a tough situation.
You’d Be Surprised At Who You Know Through Others
Every hear the saying “the world is a napkin?” Apparently, you know everyone through just 4 people. It holds true, especially in game development. Think of everyone you work with and consider who they follow on Twitter, or who they’ve worked with beforehand. That’s a lot of people that you know through others.
The more people you know, the more direct connections you form and the more people you know through them. This can lead to work opportunities, friendships, genuine advice from industry leaders, exposure, and marketing opportunities for your games.
Careers Aren’t Just Based On Skill, They’re Built On Connections
Going back to the beginning of the article for a second, everyone in the industry is skilled in some way, if not multiple ways. Everyone has a portfolio and looks to share their creativity with others. That means you’re not very special when compared to other developers. It’s for the most part, an even playing-field.
This means you have to stand out from the pack, and establishing connections might be the ticket. What you know is important, but to build a career, you have to know the right people too. You can’t work in an industry that you know absolutely no one in.
While actual work might be your focus, it’s also important to balance that out with a little social interaction from time to time. Attending conferences, following people on social media, reaching out to others for some sound advice, or joining things like IGDA, are all great starting points. Networking is highly important — just as important as your portfolio itself.
Many people use the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” to imply that life is a “rigged game” of sorts. As if all of the bets were decided ahead of time and certain people are just predetermined to be a success. However, what most people don’t realize is that you also have the opportunity of knowing those people. Sometimes it can honestly be as simple as walking up and going “Hello!” Meeting people and making friends is not hard- it just requires a bit of courage and a willingness to accept rejection.
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