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The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on jobs in the game industry
Originally written: July, 2020.
Coronavirus changes in the industry
The articles/FAQs on this site were written before the Coronavirus pandemic changed the world. That does not mean the articles are wrong now. They should still be taken as originally intended, but as you read them, keep in mind that until the pandemic is over (hopefully in the year 2021), work in the game industry will mostly be conducted remotely and with social distancing. And that fact changes some aspects of some of these articles/FAQs.
Hiring in the pandemic
Video game companies are going through extremely challenging times. That doesn't mean nobody's hiring, but it does mean you need to do more research. When checking job openings on the company's site, look for indications that the posting is not out-of-date. People may be playing more games (or playing games more) while staying home, but lots of people are unable to buy new games because their finances have been hit hard by job loss due to the pandemic. Some game companies may be doing better than others, so hiring can vary. It's likely you'll find it more difficult to get an interview these days.
Interviewing in the pandemic
Hardly anybody will want to bring you in for an in-person interview while conditions are bad in the company's local area. Expect phone and Skype-type interviews from now on. Those tricky interview questions are staying with us. In the past, interviewers were looking for how well you would fit in with the other members of the team (trying to suss out conflicting personalities, conflicting work styles, to find people who would not only work well but play well together). But with the majority of people working from home, there may be less pressure to "fit in" the same way... at least while the pandemic is preventing social nearness.
Location is still important
The pandemic won't last forever. Yes, many things will change back after it's over, but there is still a LOT of value in having a company's employees located nearby. Maybe you can get distant/remote jobs while the pandemic is still on, but your job security in such jobs is far from certain. It's still best to job-hunt locally.
Working in the pandemic
For the most part, everybody's working from home. Daily scrums require you to be online at the same time as other team members. Forget to log in? Expect a text, and if your hair is a mess, grab a hat if there's no time to shower. You're your own IT person, responsible for your computing device and internet access. If your computer breaks down or your internet goes down, you gotta fix it. If you're lucky, your company has an IT person who can walk you through some of it. You'll need to deliver what you're expected to deliver, when you're expected to deliver it. Distractions at home are your problem, but your home problems become the team's problems. If you're a family man, the team's problems can become your family's problems. The delineation between your work life and your personal life just got a whole lot blurrier.
Stay safe! Stay healthy!
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© 2020 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be re-published without written permission of the author.