For as long as playing video games has been a feature of growing up, there have been adults deriding it as a waste of time and talent. In truth, gaming can be a way to develop the skills and mindset that make workers an ideal fit for tech careers. Far from being slackers living in their parents’ basement, gamers are very likely to be the engineer or programmers working in the office next door. It’s not just gaming companies that seek out gamers to fill their ranks—organizations beyond the video game industry are waking up to the possibilities.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, app developer, and software consultant Ciandress Jackson is enlisting kids’ love of gaming to show them the possibilities in STEM fields. [i] For example, the Federal Aviation Administration is recruiting gamers to work as air traffic controllers, among other positions, because the job uses many of the same skills gamers develop when they play. In a recent workshop hosted by Jackson’s The Be Great Foundation, kids were able to watch a flying drone’s perspective through a virtual reality headset as they learned about career opportunities in tech.
Early familiarity with and love of technology is a great gateway into learning more about science, engineering, and software. But what other qualities does gaming develop that make gamers great hires?
It isn’t a reach to say that the qualities and skills gamers develop as they play have applications in the real world. To successfully play the increasingly complex games on today’s consoles and computers, gamers need to employ techniques and attitudes that can be transferred to the workplace, to everyone’s benefit. Need some examples?
Problem-solving: Making it through a console or PC game often involves solving many different types of puzzles and challenges to make progress. Gamers need to react fast and think flexibly. They also need to be able to plan ahead and try a new approach if their first one doesn’t work.
Persistence: A gamer who gets their character killed in a battle or fails a riddle isn’t likely to chuck their controller aside and give up. They’ll restart from the last save point and try again…and again…and again until they get it right. They also know that it takes hard work to level up a character, so they’ll put in the effort to get to where they want to be.
Hand-eye coordination: Action games such as shooters and sports games require quick reflexes and high-level coordination to advance past the novice level. Even basic video games require the coordination of hand and eye movements.
Attention to detail: In a game, noticing a piece of evidence or vital supplies in your environment, or the adversary that just came into range, can be the difference between advancing or getting to do the last bit all over again. Skilled gamers can take in the details of their surroundings quickly, observing and keeping track of important information.
Teamwork: Yes, really. Sure, the lone gamer is a popular stereotype, but a large number of console and PC games are played online with groups from small to massive, and gamers communicate over text, voice, or video chat as they play. Keeping their teams on target requires planning, coordination, and leadership.
Who wouldn’t want an engineer with the persistence and problem-solving ability to work their way through a complex design problem? Or technical specialists with the attention to detail and hand-eye coordination necessary to work on delicate components? Or a manager with the planning skills and team-building abilities to keep a project on time and on a budget?
Video gamers aren’t just tomorrow’s great tech hires—you can be sure that some of them are already making an impact in your field. As a boutique technical search firm, Integress can help you find multitalented engineering and tech candidates who fit your company’s needs and culture. To find out more about how we can help your company find and recruit the right person, contact us here.