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While it’s the professional gamers themselves that always receive all the kudos and praise for their eSports tournament victories, in reality, it’s the people working the jobs behind scenes that are responsible for bringing the event to life. Regardless if it’s designing stage lighting for the players or provisioning the data network that will broadcast the live stream, there are many possibilities available to you if you want to get a job in eSports.
In this article we will help you find an eSports job by providing some tips that you shouldn’t overlook. Here are the 10 best tips to land a career in eSports:
- Take yourself seriously
- Research the job you want
- Build your skillset
- Move to a tech city
- Work for free
- Start side hustles
- Network with a real person
- Start an organized eSports league
- Know the industry
- Start gaming and create VODS
How Can I Get A Job In eSports?
For decades gamers have been told that their passion was nothing more than a hobby, and video games couldn’t possibly be a viable or sustainable career path. Well, the laughter is not as loud as it used to be, as we are witnessing individual eSports stars such as Ninja, or all females eSports teams like Team Dignitas, becoming cultural icons. We are seeing live streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube are continually breaking new eSports tournament viewership records year after year.
In case you need more proof, that gaming and eSports can be a viable career path; the world is witnessing enormous prize pools for tournament-style games like Epic’s Fortnite, reaching over $100 Million with no signs of slowing down. Current and former professional athletes and even professional franchises themselves are making significant investments into their own eSports teams. Mega media sports networks such as ESPN are already televising tournament matches. Make no mistake about it, the industry eSports has arrived, and is poised to explode into the mainstream.
1) Take yourself seriously
Having the right mindset
We often find that often the most significant transition that many eSports career hopefuls have is taking themselves and their goals seriously. The truth is, you may not find motivation, support, and enthusiasm from the people around you when you tell them about your dreams and ambitions, particularly if you tell them you are going into the professional gaming industry. But forget em! You have everything it takes to be successful in the eSports industry as long as you take yourself seriously first and foremost. We have seen many people get shamed out of a career in eSports merely because they were afraid that the people around them wouldn’t understand or be critical of their decision. Always remember that not many people believed in airplanes until they saw the first one fly over their heads! Don’t be afraid to fly!
Another aspect of taking yourself seriously is treating yourself as a professional. Many people want to get a job in eSports because they still envision it as “just” video games. In general, we find that people who treat career goals with casual intent, tend to get wildly unexpected results. The top professional gamers have an elite work ethic that could put many professional athletes to shame! If you don’t believe so check out our article on 8 steps to becoming an eSports gamer.
Regardless of what career in eSports you are considering, the most critical decision you can make is to become a student of the profession and observe people actually in the field. Watch online videos, research blog posts, or volunteer at live eSports events to get a feel for the level of professionalism that is required. Once the people around you see that you are taking your profession seriously and pursuing your dreams, the doubters will likely become believers over time.
2) Research the job you want
The great philosopher Confucius once said that “when it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Although Confucious died in 479 BC, his words will hold true on your eSports career journey, and that is why it makes sense that the #2 tip is first to research the job you want. Just like any other goal, you want to make sure you have a clear vision of what success will look like in the end. You will need to ask yourself what is the job title or field you ultimately want to pursue.
Although eSports itself is an exciting industry, the jobs that are needed to produce the events, build in the business relationships with advertisers, or manage the actual eSports teams themselves will all require someone who is qualified, or willing to learn the job on the fly. With just a simple search using the term “eSports,” we have seen a ton of different job titles for eSports on popular online job boards such as Indeed.com. We will break down the types of job titles we have seen by experience level:
- eSports High School League Coach
- eSports Coordinator
- eSports Intern
- Content Strategy Manager
- Gaming Support Specialist
- Manager, eSports Partnerships
- Graphic Designer, eSports
- eSports Vendor Manager, Contracts
- Manager, Team Payroll
- Video Analyst
- eSports Business Development Sr. Manager
- Director, eSports
- Director of Finance
- Sr. Director, Plater Support
- Senior Game Designer
One significant advantage for you is that if you don’t know precisely the type of job you want, you are in luck because many of the companies hiring for eSports jobs don’t exactly have that completely figured out either! Like any other young and growing industry, hiring managers for eSports companies are still in the process of determining the exact types and quantities of roles that will be required to support industry growth.
Often, you will see companies hiring a ton of IT developers or other technology-related professions because those skills are often easier to identify an immediate need and quantify the skills gaps in the organization. However, we have seen a growing demand for jobs such as marketing, as more and more eSports organizations are looking to create content to distribute on the internet. If working in a tech or marketing job isn’t your thing, continue to research different career fields and also get a feel for different roles and imagine if you could see yourself in that position.
3) Build your skillset
E-Learning, degrees, and certifications
Now that you have identified your dream job or career path, it’s time to start learning more about the skills required to execute the job responsibilities. It should come as no surprise that landing that dream eSports job is going to come with some work. With the rapid growth in popularity in eSports, more and more people will begin to see the opportunities to get closer and closer to the action! Due to this, you want to make sure that you keep your skills sharpened as the job market becomes more competitive, which is why building your skillset comes in as the #3 tip. The great news is that with so many e-learning options available to you today now is easier than ever to pick a place to start learning.
For example, let’s say you want to learn how to create the data networks that some professional eSports teams use at their practice facility when training, and also when competing against rival teams while live on-stage in front of crowds of thousands! You will probably need to start with some beginner Network Engineering courses on sites like Lynda.com or Udemy.com to learn about traditional networking gear such as routers, switches, fiber optics, and more.
Or, for example, let’s say you wanted to learn how to manage an eSports team, you could take some beginning level management courses or even project management courses. Both of these will help instill in you the fundamentals of managing people or projects, which will ultimately be valuable if you start leading your own eSports team one day.
Depending on the type of job you identified in step #9, you may also want to consider getting a degree or certification to validate you have the skills to pay the bills! Although degrees and diplomas get most of the widespread recognition, don’t for one second underestimate the power and impact of college or vocational school certificate programs. Think about all the aspects of a live eSports tournament broadcast. If you were to watch closely, you could probably quickly identify at least ten different types of jobs that would need to be done for the live show to take place. And, these aren’t just technical jobs either!
Ever wonder who is responsible for marketing the event on social media or the person responsible for setting the artwork and decor in the background of the stage? With some work and dedication that a person could just as easily be you! If you are interested in learning more about e-learning opportunities check out Lynda.com.
4) Move to a tech city
The journey begins
Now, this may or may not be an absolute hard requirement for getting a job in eSports, because there are MANY opportunities for remote workers, particularly in the areas of digital content creation. However, from what we have seen, the cities that offer the most job opportunities for hands-on experience within eSports are typically larger cities with a mature or growing tech scene. Due to this, moving to a tech city is the #4 tip on our list. But, this makes sense since many of the top eSports teams are based out of larger cities, at least in the United States, and each of those cities has a growing or booming tech scene. For example, one of the most popular eSports leagues is the Overwatch League which is composed of two divisions: the Atlantic Division and the Pacific Division. The Atlantic Division and Pacific Division are comprised of teams based out of the following cities:
- Boston Uprising – Boston, MA
- Florida Mayhem – Florida (represents the entire state)
- Houston Outlaws – Houston, TX
- New York Excelsior – New York City, NY
- Philadelphia Fusion – Philadelphia, PA
- London Spitfire, London
- Dallas Fuel – Dallas, TX
- Los Angeles Gladiators – Los Angeles, CA
- Los Angeles Valiant – Los Angeles, CA
- San Francisco Shock – San Francisco, CA
- Seoul Dynasty – Seoul, South Korea
- Shanghai Dragons, Shanghai, China
As you can see, the representation of teams from the Overwatch league comes almost exclusively from larger cities and also have a growing or booming tech scene. If you wanted to get a job working with one of the hottest eSports leagues, you would most likely increase your chances of landing that dream job if you lived near one of these major cities.
As eSports continues to grow, we expect that as more leagues and teams rise to prominence, the industry will begin to expand its footprint in more cities around the world. However, like with many other sectors, when a few organizations start to have success in a particular area or city, then other organizations will begin to flock to the same regions in hopes of replicating success (i.e. think Silicon Valley).
So if you are thinking about making a move to follow your eSports dreams, we would recommend taking a look at tech cities!
5) Get an internship or volunteer
Jump off the deep end
Now that you are in the right mental state, researched your career and skillset, packed up and moved, now you just need to get your foot in the door with an eSports team or organization! Sounds pretty easy right? Would you like the good news or the bad news first? Ok, excellent good news first it is then!
The good news is that right now there are growing demands from eSports organizations around the world to have people who can assist with various aspects of running the organization. However, the bad news is that some of these positions may require multiple years of experience within the eSports field. But, don’t fret because many of these companies are on the constant search for people looking at internships! Because internships can be the key to opening the right doors in eSports, it has landed at #5 on our list
Internships, although they may not pay exceptionally well in all cases, are a great way to get your foot in the door and get some experience under your belt. Internships are a great option even for those people who have many years of experience with a specific skill, simply because eSports is a young industry and there is still much that is being learned every day.
If you can’t find the right type of internship that piques your interest, just try good old-fashioned volunteering! Send an email introducing yourself, or better yet stop by a local eSports organization’s office, and ask if they are looking for volunteers for any other upcoming events. Not many organizations are actively seeking to turn down having volunteers assist with their events, so if you present yourself professionally and are enthusiastic, there’s a good chance that an opportunity will present itself to you sooner than later.
6) Start freelancer eSports projects (side hustles)
Every Day You Should Be Hustling
There aren’t many ways better to gain hands-on experience within an industry, or with a skillset, then selling your own freelance services. Whether your gift is audio and video editing for eSports live replays, or creating eSports logos and marketing content, or providing eSports consultations to novice gamers, you have an expertise that someone, somewhere, is willing to pay money for. That is why the #6 best tip is starting a side hustle.
Many people tend to make the colossal mistake of thinking that their knowledge and background have no value to the billions of people around the world. The truth is that you have gifts, ideas, creativity, inventions, experiences, and perspective that literally no one else can offer. Period. As you begin your eSports journey and are looking to gain experience in the field, make it a priority to take the talents you already possess and use it to create value in the eSports industry by selling your services!
Ultimately, who cares if you have 10, 100, or 1000 clients. If you are struggling to attract clients, then create a portfolio of works that are ready to showcase before the client arrives. The point is that you are building confidence and gaining expertise in a particular niche of eSports that gives you a rich portfolio of work to show prospective employers.
How can I sell my eSports services?
There are many great online resources to start promoting your talents and skills. Ideally, it is recommended that you choose a platform that you have researched and believe can give you the most exposure to potential clients. We would suggest that you find platforms that offer great value to customers and ideally have less competition in your service of choice.
Two excellent online freelancer platforms that we found are SEO Clerks and Envato studio. Both of these platforms give sellers the opportunity to market their services online and could be a good landing spot for you to show off your portfolio!
7) Network with a real person
It should come as no surprise, but the world is still run on the premise that “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Online networking in forums, community spaces, blogs, and YouTube channels are indeed a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and make connections with people that you otherwise might not have. But, there is still no better way to build deep personal relationships with others than our #7 best tip of networking with a live, breathing person.
The problem with online networking is that its often difficult to set yourself apart from the crowd, and truly highlight to a hiring manager or influencers in the eSports industry, that you have a significant value to offer their organization.
Think about it, hiring managers and influencers in the industry probably see hundreds of social media messages and emails every day from people looking to “network.” As you can imagine, over time it begins to be almost impossible to distinguish between one gamer tag and another, or one username from the next.
It is vital that if you are serious about landing a job a dream job in the eSports industry, you may need to step out from behind the keyboard an interact with real people and establish great relationships. Whether that’s merely attending a local networking event for gaming and eSports fans, some of the best insights and information you will ever receive will often come from in-person conversations with people who share the same passions as you for eSports!
Think about it, if you were the person doing the hiring for an eSports gig you would probably be more likely to favor someone you have personally met, over a resume in a pile. Never underestimate the power of personal relationships.
8) Start an organized eSports league
How can I start my own eSports league?
Showing that you have experience organizing your own eSports league is one of the best ways to show potential eSports organizations that you really mean business. That is why starting an organized Sports league ranks #8 on our list. Regardless if it’s hosting events for a small local club, or a citywide association, or a school-affiliated organization, there are a ton of different opportunities to start building a grassroots eSports league to call your own! The key here is to really try and go all out to make it as legit and professional as possible!
There is just too much to cover in this section so we have decided to dedicate an entire article to showing you step by step how to start an eSports league. Click here to read the full article!
9) Know the eSports industry
It is always important to know the industry in which you are looking to get into, and eSports is no exception. Hiring managers are looking for people who aren’t just knowledgeable about the position they are applying, but also specific knowledge surrounding the eco-system of eSports. This may include you having in-depth knowledge of top players, team strategies, media broadcasting, the rising popularity of certain eSports video games, and much more. Due to this, knowing the eSports industry lands as the #9 best tip on our list.
When you are able to go into the weeds with details regarding the industry, chances are you will be able to effectively show your passion and understanding for eSports as an industry, and make yourself a more attractive hire to any eSports organization.
Keep in mind that when hiring managers are going through interviews, they are likely looking for candidates who are committed to the industry over the long-run, as opposed to those candidates who are just riding the wave of eSports viral popularity. Some tips to make yourself more knowledgeable about eSports is to completely envelope yourself in the culture.
Start watching live streams on Twitch and YouTube eSports tournaments on a regular basis. You can even benefit from getting to know some of the most popular eSports commentators and social media influencers. The point is, you want to be prepared to have an in-depth and confident conversation about the industry. So before you decide to go into that job interview, make sure you know eSports inside and out!
10) Start gaming and create VOD’s
Last, but certainly not least, the best tip for how to get a job in eSports is to…start gaming and creating VOD’s. VOD’s are Videos on Demand which are videos (either live or recorded) of a player’s gaming session. The popularity of VOD’s has exploded in recent years which is why it lands as the #10 tip for landing a job in eSports. VOD’s are giving rise to some of the most famous and charismatic current Twitch and YouTube personalities. There are two main reasons why gaming and creating VOD’s will help you land that dream job in eSports:
Whether your in-game demeanor is cursing like a sailor, or being as polite as a church mouse, showcasing your personality during some of the most stressful and exciting moments and give a prospective eSports organization a lot of insight into your gaming style. The fact is, eSports as an industry is being heavily influenced by full-time streaming personalities, as they attract literally millions of daily and weekly views.
But, don’t be too afraid if your gaming persona isn’t exactly PG-13. The language used by many of today’s most popular eSports full-time streamer’s wouldn’t be smiled upon by most of our grandparents, and most eSports organizations are well aware that VOD’s and strong in-game personalities are largely shaping the culture of competitive gaming. Now, it is not recommended to be too extreme, just make sure that showcasing your VOD’s will give the prospective eSports organization more information about you, that they otherwise might not have known.
One of the best things about social media and live streaming is that allows individual gamers the ability to build their own brand. No longer are the days where only large media organizations can pick and choose whom to make stars, and whom to hold back. Most eSports organizations are in a competitive race to build their brands among new eSports fans and create a loyal following as soon as possible.
If you already have established your own brand, and have a base of fans that are passionate about your work, most eSports organizations will be jumping at the opportunity to bring you aboard. The reason is that if you have already established a strong rapport with your fan base, chances are you will also become a brand ambassador for the eSports organization itself, which could be viewed as highly favorable and make you a stand out candidate.
If you don’t currently have VOD’s or a fan base to showcase right now don’t be discouraged. This is always something you can continue to work towards in your spare time, and definitely is not a disqualifier for being able to impress an eSports organization.
You should now pat yourself on the back, and hopefully, you now feel more confident to go out and get a job in eSports. Keep in mind that all of the elements of this list of best tips on how to get a job in eSports do not necessarily need to happen in the order above. You may find that you need to subtract steps or add additional steps to reach your goals.
Just like the eSports industry itself, you will find that your journey will take both expected and unexpected turns, so be always be prepared to pivot from time to time, in order to keep moving forward.
One of the most exciting aspects of getting a job in eSports right is that you are boarding a brand new train that has endless routes in terms of where it can go. The explosive growth of the industry will without a doubt create more and more opportunities for you to land a dream job in the industry. Which is why the time is now to start really thinking about how you want to move forward.
Remember, the road to anything worth having in life will always require a mix of hard work, strategy, patience, and the willingness to put yourself out there. Getting your dream job in eSports will require the same. If you stay consistent, a long fulfilling career could be a lot closer than you think!