Getting a career in esports: What you need to know & how to get started
News - 6 Dec 2016
You don't need to be a professional gamer to land a job within esports, but what other options are available? How can someone open doors and earn a living in the industry? We outline the options.
Esports is a growing area that offers several viable career options to people, though it may not yet be common knowledge to everyone.
There is still a misconception held by some that playing video games is a waste of time and not constructive or valuable to a person's development or career. But esports actually presents job seekers with genuine opportunities.
Esports is set to generate almost $500m in global revenues in 2016, and there are more companies getting involved in this space than ever before. This means there are more jobs becoming available, both for newcomers and those already experienced within the industry.
What kind of jobs are
There are many different roles within esports - some more hands-on than others - and more non-endemic companies are opening esports divisions or adding roles that work within the space.
Here's a selection of some of the more well-known jobs in esports. Click here to visit our careers hub and see more details on each one.
- Professional player
- Journalist/content creator
- PR/Marketing executive
- Product manager
- Sales/partnerships manager
- Organisation owner/manager
- Community/social media manager
- Broadcast/production crew
- Event manager
- Other roles (statistician, lawyer, finance, support etc)
- Other gaming careers (developers, publishers, distribution etc)
How can I or my
children start a career in esports?
There are several ways to get your foot in the door. Firstly, the good news is there are more jobs in esports than ever before, which means it's easier than it was to get involved - and get paid for it.
The bad news is it usually requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and it can get pretty competitive, so you'll want to make sure it's something you're passionate about.
Here are five ways to kick-start a career in esports.
1. Work experience is
a good starting point.
Reach out to teams, organisations, tournament providers, broadcasters and other companies that sponsor or are involved in esports in some way. Try and contact a senior person or someone you want to work with in particular. The bigger the company you go for, the more likely you'll be able to book in some work experience, but going for a smaller organisation has its upsides, especially if you're looking for a more hands-on role.
Getting a valuable work experience placement involves a degree of luck, so try to contact respected companies and friendly individuals who will take the time to give you an insight into the world of esports and help you develop your skills. Try and secure a placement in a field you're interested in, but if you're not sure, we'd suggest completing two or three placements in different areas to help you decide what you want to do.
If you're on work experience and aren't being given many tasks, why not ask questions, show enthusiasm and come up with suggestions as to what you can do? Making a good impression can go a long way, you never know what contacts an employer will have or what doors could open in the future following a good work experience placement.
2. Find a niche.
Being an all-rounder has its benefits, but focusing on one area and specialising in it can go a long way.
Read up on the various job roles outlined above and try to identify an area you want to get involved in.
If you have great communication, writing and social media skills, for example, you could hone in on journalism, PR and marketing. Maybe look into each area and do some work experience to help decide what you want to go into.
You might be an expert in Counter-Strike and feel confident in your casting or analysis skills, or you might love Call of Duty and want to work for an organisation specifically within that game, for example. Identify what you're interested in and go from there.
3. Become a
There are several companies that are often on the lookout for paid-for and unpaid volunteer positions.
A good example is Multiplay, the UK-based tournament provider that hosts its Insomnia gaming festivals throughout the year.
You could volunteer as event staff, help with the running of tournaments, sit on reception, offer tech support, help the show run smoothly and assist visitors. Reach out to the likes of ESL and Gfinity to see if they have any positions available.
The benefits of volunteering include gaining valuable experience, getting involved with an event for free and having something to add to your CV. Prospective employers will likely be impressed if you have volunteered or completed work experience placements and have a glowing review from whoever you volunteered with.
4. Just do it
A great way to learn, hone your skills and improve is to just start doing whatever it is you want to get paid to do.
"Don't let your dreams, be dreams, just do it," a wise man once said (or it may have been Shia LaBeouf).
If you want to be a pro player, put the practice in and try to join a local team to start with. If you want to be a journalist, start a blog, write regularly and promote your content on social media. If you want to be a caster, get casting! Several impressive UK casters started at the National University Esports League and have built their career from there.
Consider studying a degree, becoming an apprentice or taking another further education course to specialise in a specific area, for example marketing or business studies.
Taking the initiative will gain you new contacts, open doors, improve your skills and impress prospective employers.
5. Stay on the
Once you know what you want to do and have built up some experience, sign up to job alerts online, follow the kind of companies you want to work for and check for job openings.
Some esports job sites include:
It's a good idea to just generally be on the lookout for jobs. Try and get into a routine and check once a day or once a week. It can be hard to stay motivated at this time, but if you keep on working at it and talking to people, jobs will come up.
Internships are also a good option, but be clear with the length of time you are available to work and salary expectations before applying.
Salaries can vary enormously depending on the position. Take a look at the specific job roles outlined above for specific details on each one, including potential salary info.
Image source: Gfinity Flickr