Soft skills is how one lands a decent job
I have taken 70+ interviews at this point
Time to get back after a long break. ☕
The text below tells how I figured out that hiring managers (at least in games industry) treat soft skills as more important than hard skills. Then I suggest a way to speed run the soft skills training.
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I have taken 70+ interviews at this point to launch Gamedev Camp. A big surprise for me was how gamedev studios are fine with people not having a core craft for the job.
"We can coach them with Unity or Blender or whatever is needed, but we want a person to be nice and have a passion for the kind of games that we're making" - I hear from studio heads, producers and HR people.
When I dig deeper to understand what soft skills are the key and I get the following:
Be able to understand what to do from the context and communicate about it
Save the time of senior professionals and take work instead of bringing them more work
Empathy and care in communications
I personally think it is hard to follow this list because it assumes you know what to do and can thrive in an organization of their particular culture. At the job interview, the HR and the hiring manager have assumptions about how you need to behave to fit in their org, while you have zero clues. You can be your best self and still loose the interview. 🤨
This feels unfair to me. Also, I think soft skills can be gained fast.
Lera and I thought of the best ways to speed run the soft skills training:
Working with diverse people under deadlines
Having to explain to external people what you're doing
Giving and getting feedback
So we designed our game design course with these 3 points as the core loop and the first month has a 100% focus on soft skills. But for this to work we need the group to be right, so we have to require entry exams to let only the right people in.
Then we'll split them into diverse teams and will let them figure out their own processes within our provided framework. We'll have weekly feedback sessions and game pitches, so everyone has time to shine.
We understand it may be a bit overwhelming for some, so we'll be there to help and support everyone as community leaders. We’re also looking into getting a psychotherapist or a professional agile coach available to support us and the group.
Finally, we do everything in English, a language and culture not native to most (or even all) our mentors and students (since we focus on Eastern Europe), but native to the gamedev industry.
"I need my employees to be able to communicate in English with our partners and fellow game developers from other offices. If a person comes after your course, I understand he/she is a good fit" - concluded a head of a Ukrainian games studio.
Yes, our game design course is in a language that is not native to everyone, what adds the complexity and stress to people. Yet this is a conscious and well-weighted decision that also has a community angle.
I’ll get back to in the next newsletters where I’ll also touch on the community mechanics we’re basing our cohort-based course on.
Olle, Gamedev Camp co-founder
If you want to learn a bit more about what Lera and I are doing, we have made a podcast episode about why universities are a scam.
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