Wanna work in the games industry?

UK developers are desperate for new talent - but only with the right skills...

'Creating a video game' has to be one of the coolest things anyone could have on their CV.

The UK has an incredibly rich history of doing just that. From Lionhead (Fable, Black & White) to Rockstar (GTA); Codemasters (GRID, DIRT) to Sports Interactive (Football Manager) and beyond, our wee isle produces an amazing array of classic games.

We are a hotbed of creative talent - one without equal around the world. And yet, the UK games industry is in crisis.

Despite the recession, it's still a heavy recruiter. Only problem is, not enough people have got the correct skills.

Research from video games development industry body TIGA shows that 43 per cent of game developers find it difficult to fill vacancies - due to applicants not having the knowledge they need.

Whether its dud university courses or a hotchpotch of self-learned skills, the fact is that most of you lot looking for your dream job simply don't have the right keys to open the door on a flourishing career in games design.

"Vacancies for programmers, designers, managers and project managers are particularly hard to fill, reveals TIGA CEO Richard Wilson.

"However, games businesses are ameliorating the problem by adopting new recruitment methods, outsourcing work, making internal promotions and redefining job roles."


TIGA works with open learning company Train2Game to ensure that those looking to get into the games industry can pick up the right skills from home - and don't waste thousands of pounds on fancy degrees that leave graduates unemployable.

Philip Oliver, CEO of Blitz Studios - which makes titles such as Dead To Rights: Retribution - adds: "Skill shortages remain a challenge for the UK video games sector. Skill shortages effectively increase the workload on existing development staff and can restrict future business opportunities and growth.

"However, the UK games industry is making real progress in addressing the problem. TIGA and its members are creating links between developers and educational providers and so are continually improving the quality of games courses in the UK."

TIGA backs a number of computer and sciences degrees at universities - including those at Abertay in Scotland, which promises to produce many of tomorrow's Dan Housers and Peter Molyneuxs.

But if you've always dreamed of getting into the games industry - yet can't afford to drop our of work for three years, what's the answer?

Train2Game offers an Open University-style approach to learning key skills - and has already enjoyed some proven success.

Train2Game Course Director Tony Bickley explains: "Companies involved in an industry as dynamic and fast-moving as game development clearly need a steady flow of talented new recruits to ensure they can keep up with the competition.

"The results of our survey highlight the need for aspiring game developers to demonstrate a good level of knowledge and expertise in their chosen field, in order to help fill the perceived skills gap and really make an impression on potential employers."

The firm's Games Design, Games Developer and Games Artist & Animator courses are all TIGA-backed - and have won praise from various industry luminaries. Not only that, but the courses have been picked up at various universities - as a benchmark of what studios need their new intake to learn.

The University of Bedfordshire's Head of Department of Computer Science and Technology Professor Carsten Maple adds: "Our extensive evaluation of the Train2Game course content demonstrates its significant value in providing the skills and knowledge necessary to progress in the gaming industry.

"We're looking forward to welcoming applications from Train2Game graduates and we're sure that other universities will follow suit."

Anyone with an interest in the health of the UK games industry will be cheered to see universities wake up to the skills problem - and move to improve their teaching.

But for those individuals looking to learn from home, the opportunity has never been better.

The future of the UK video games industry may well reside in would-be developer's bedrooms - where they can not only get stuck into the PlayStation, but learn how to create for it, too.