Breaking into the video game industry can be hard, especially in a position as specific as Sound Engineer. Jobs in the gaming industry are not as plentiful as other fields and they also tend to be more precarious, as more companies hire freelancers for individual projects than full-time salaried employees. If you are willing to take on that risk and are passionate about gaming, then this has the potential to be a very rewarding career for you!
Start with an Internship
A natural place to start when trying to break into any industry is to get an internship.
Not every studio will have an official internship program, but most are open to the idea of a part-time, temporary, and inexpensive (or free!) worker that could help them finish their game. You do not have to have extensive experience to get an internship, so this is a great way to start your career and gain some valuable experience and connections in the industry.
Get a College Degree
In addition to getting an internship, a good starting point in your career is a college degree in a relevant field. If your goal is to be a sound engineer, then a natural choice would be an audio engineering program, but as long as your degree is relevant to the position you are hoping to land once you finish school. Most positions that state they require a Bachelor’s Degree do not specify which field your degree must be in.
Getting a formal education will give you a solid foundation for when you go out to look for your first real job, as you will have the knowledge necessary to succeed in your desired role.
Build a Network
When trying to break into a difficult industry like the gaming industry, connections are everything! Work hard to connect with a wide variety of people in your industry and make a positive impression on these people. As you are searching for an internship or your first job, leverage these connections, as you never know who will have an opportunity for you or will be able to connect you to the person who will give you your first job!
This network can be developed anywhere and you should continue developing your network throughout your career. When you are first starting out, make sure you get contact information from professors you were close with, your internship supervisors, and anyone else you connected with on a professional level.
Develop a Portfolio
When you are searching for your first job, you may feel like you are caught in an inescapable loop: in order to get a job, you need experience, but in order to gain experience, you need a job. Get yourself out of this rut! If you cannot find anyone who will give you something to work on, get some equipment or software and start creating things for yourself. Work on independent projects and create a portfolio that you can present to people when you are applying for jobs or going in for interviews. Having a portfolio gives potential employers an idea of what you are capable of and shows them that you already have a little bit of experience and technical knowledge, which is crucial in any job.