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I graduated college with a bachelors degree in Business Administration and Digital Media. I have been working with 3D modeling for about a year now and am really interested in trying to become a game designer or a 3D designer. Through the past year, I have made a few projects using Blender and am continuing to improve my designing skills.

I am struggling to find companies that will hire me because I haven't had any experience in game design and am not fully knowledgeable about the industry. My question is how do I get my foot in the door in the gaming industry? Where should I look for a "starter job" so that I get experience and can move up to bigger companies?

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It's going to be tough without much experience and a degree in a related field. Not sure how involved your Digital Media degree would transfer over to the gaming industry. I see plenty of jobs these days that require 2 years of work experience and a degree in a related field just for an entry level position. It is certainly possible to find a job without this but will not be easy.

  • I would suggest looking at 3D modeling classes at your local community college to gain some experience. This would make getting an internship much easier.
  • You will definitely want an online portfolio if you have not made one. If you do not know how to code, you can use wordpress. This will be the most important part in selling yourself.
  • Maybe you can start working for a company with your Digital Media degree and eventually transfer departments after enough experience doing 3D modeling.
  • Internships, this would be your best bet in gaining work experience.
  • Maybe you can do some freelance work with your design skills. You can potentially sell your designs online.
  • You will also want to narrow down on what specific type of job you will want to do in the gaming industry. Whether that be character modeling, level design etc.

I would keep in mind that it costs a company a lot of money to hire new employees. It would be a risk to hire someone with little experience when it there is likely someone who is more qualified.

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With most jobs it comes down to usually three things: 1) Experience/Portfolio 2) Networking 3) Good personal skills for the interview(s)

Education falls under experience. Actual real-world experience typically beats any college degrees (and this is usually demonstrated via one's portfolio). That being said, college degrees do help in getting you past the resume filters.

If you're lacking in any of these three areas, the best solution is to work on it. If the college degree is a reasonable (i.e. economical and feasible) possibility, take it. Or work on creating a nice portfolio. If you have some contacts with folks in the industry, call them and talk with them (or even better, meet with them). Do thank them for their time. If you don't have contacts, consider hanging around forums or places where these professionals congregate and just listen. You can learn a lot. And then ask smart questions. Soon you'll build up some connections with smart talented people working in the industry. If your personal soft skills are a bit weak, go to job fairs or career building events and practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature to discuss the industry and how you'd like to be a part of it.

And one last final "magic" element - passion. If you really want to do this, let this passion shine out - not overbearing, but always there. People will note it and this can help open doors.

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To add to what's already been stated you might want look at the location you live in. Many eons ago some friends of mine were taking game design while I was taking graphic design and they where always told that if you are serious you should look into moving to California, Florida , and I want to say New York as well. This may have changed but spend some time socializing and networking on a few sites and see if there might be an upcoming or established company in your area that you could at least get your foot in the door. If you by chance do get lucky and get your foot in door don't blow it go all gun ho and be cocky but sit back chill and soak in as much as you can.

In regard to what some people say about how you must have a degree I disagree with that, but I do feel a degree in a design based atmosphere is a way to show you're committed.

I would advise looking into learning more about game design and one area of that is in the code. If I recall some use C# but it's been awhile so something better may have been decided as the norm. if you are really passionate you need practice and if you don't plan on dropping a high amount on Maya then work on it with Blender and we even have a blender.SE site. I will say this, if I were you I would work on story boarding which is big and try to come up with a few very solid animations. I knew a guy that had no degree but was passionate and learned and came up with an awesome short animation and was hired by a reputable company.

Based on the other part on you looking to get a job modeling in your area think about:

  • Lighted sign company
  • Company that sells monument signs

  • Medical company sometimes look for people

  • Landscape company

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