When I was born into this world some 20 years ago, the internet was anything but widespread. When I was young, the internet was a thing of mystery, and it was something to use to work. Now it is a part of my daily life, in relation to work, entertainment, and communication. And as the internet has expanded and evolved, so has the world. Where previously there were limitations placed on people, there are now opportunities to compete and succeed across the globe. Where once there were physical barriers impeding travel, communication, and connection there are simply cables that prevent the need for travel, and instantly allow us to connect and communicate. And as we move forward, countries will continue to open themselves up to the rest of the world, and location, background, and wealth will matter less and less as we try to market our skills.
As I think about going out into the world after college and trying to find my “dream job” in the game development industry, I feel both encouraged and discouraged. The ideal position I want, which would involve doing creative design type work, appears to be the kind of job that can’t be easily outsourced to cheaper labor, as it involves working directly with a lot of people, and a bit of special flare that isn’t something that can be easily duplicated in mass. It isn’t necessary artistic work, like drawing or modeling, and it isn’t technical work, like coding. It falls in this in-between space, which makes it hard to train lots of people to do really well. Thus, I feel confident that, were I to obtain this job, I would have a pretty nice ride for a good while. However, reaching that point is another story.
To even think about getting one of those positions a person needs both experience and skill, both of which I am lacking at this point. To get my foot in the door, I could do smaller jobs, like doing quality assurance (QA) for a game company, but that labor is the easiest to outsource, since it’s largely simple work performed over and over to stress test and debug a game. Despite the fact that a lot of companies like to work with local testers, it is something that I have to worry about being outsourced, especially as technology keeps getting better. After QAing for a while, an entry-level position is also subject to outsourcing. Often times coding and/or artistic endeavors are outsourced to other companies to make the process cheaper and more efficient. As I try to work my way up to my “dream job” (which I don’t even really know what it would specifically be), I would have to be wary of my skills being available elsewhere for much cheaper.
Despite knowing that my earlier jobs could be subject to termination (due to outsourcing), there are a few things that help me keep a positive outlook on the situation. First, where I ultimately want to be is a position that can’t be easily replaced or outsourced. Second, there are certain qualities and skills that will help keep me relevant and competitive in the global market.
First on that list is the ability to communicate on both a personal and professional level, which is very important in all departments of game development. By honing my ability to communicate personally with peers and superiors, it becomes easier to connect with people in a work environment, and understand them as people rather than workers. This makes it easier to try to accommodate others, understand their positions, and work with them on a regular basis. On the flip side, I feel that by being able to effectively communicate professionally, as well, I am able to concisely and intelligently discuss various topics within the games industry, as well as help bring people together under a more professional setting, moving past personal issues. And the most important aspect I feel I am getting experience with at Trinity is being able to do both at the same time, and know when to use one or the other. By being able to discern which is necessary, it “optimizes” (for lack of a better term) my interactions with people by setting the environment and goal of a given interaction.
Second, I feel that being flexible is another insanely important trait when approaching any job or situation. From tolerance to scheduling to various other situations, being flexible helps other people work with you and helps you work with other people. It also makes you someone who can tackle a variety of situations without having to have specific training or much instruction.
So between the traits and skills I am learning at college, and where I want to go later in life, I feel fairly comfortable with globalization. There are certainly some troubling aspects to it, especially regarding my career early on. But if I put my mind to it, and fully develop my ability to communicate and work with people, it’s the next step on the path to a more perfect world.