With eSports quickly becoming one of the hottest industries in tech, many people are wondering how to get in on the action. We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the industry and the job search process. Career options within eSports range from the coveted role of professional gamer to supporting roles that help make professional teams’ retail and brand endeavors possible. Here’s what you need to know.
Where Are the Jobs in eSports?
While the first role that comes to mind is that of professional gamer, those jobs are limited and extremely competitive. Don’t worry though. If you’re passionate about eSports and want to chart a path in the industry, there is a much wider range of jobs and employers to consider.
Potential eSports employers include the professional teams themselves, as well as their holding companies, related marketing and sales organizations, the companies that help run thousands of competitions and conventions globally each year, and specialized event roles at major brands (think Monster Energy, Puma, and AT&T—just to name a few active in the space) to manage their portfolio of eSports sponsorships. There are also specific opportunities in hardware, software, and technology design.
Quick Tips for Getting Started
Finding a job in eSports is much like finding a role in any industry you love. But there are some smart places to start the process. Quick tips that can help you position yourself for any role include:
- Decide what type of role you’re looking for. Once you’ve determined that, polish your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. eSports companies want professionals and follow a typical recruiting process. Passion and knowledge of the sport absolutely matter, but it’s important to remember that you’re helping to build brands and businesses that compete at an elite global level.
- Know where the major players are posting opportunities. Hitmarker is a leading job board in the space. Other include Jobs in Esports and The EsportsObserver.
- Research the companies you’re interested in. Learn what organizations are active in the geographic areas, or in the parts of the business you’re interested in moving into. Not only can this help you connect with the right people, but it’s a critical part of knowing how to watch for specific job opportunities as they emerge.
- Find ways to network. This can be done online, via social media, and through other channels. It’s also smart to attend networking opportunities in person, including tournaments, conventions, and industry events. In many cases, eSports roles require a mix of a professional skillset, such as marketing, with an understanding of the field. Being visible and having a reputation with hiring managers can help you land interviews and remain competitive for jobs.
- Follow industry trends and build a body of work that shows your eSports knowledge. It’s important to be able to speak to the eSports space—and to understand how the space is evolving. One industry executive suggests creating a body of work that you can include with job applications. For example, if you’re an aspiring eSports journalist, consider developing a blog or a series of analytical pieces looking at tournaments. If you’re vying for a professional player role, you’ll want to be able to show where you’ve competed and won, as well as how you’re building a name in the space. Being active on a streaming platform like Steam or Twitch, for example, is a great way to get started.
- Keep a pulse on how opportunities are changing and evolving. The eSports industry is growing incredibly fast. VentureBeat produced this infographic that provides an analysis of eSports jobs posted in 2018, which can be a helpful starting point.
A Closer Look at Specific Opportunities
The most competitive role to land is a coveted slot as one of the professional team players. It’s important to remember that, in order to land one of these roles, much of the training and initial competition you do will be on your own. You’ll already have to be an elite player to be considered for a team role.
Becoming a professional eSports player has evolved into a space with the same complexity and level of commitment that it takes to score a spot with a big league sports team or make it to the Olympics. Be prepared to focus, to specialize, and to train for hours a day. According to a piece done by TechRadar, one professional player who specializes in Overwatch plays as much as 10 hours per day. And when he’s not training for events or preparing for competitions? You guessed it. He’s playing Overwatch. Passion is key. If you’re interested in building the skills and reputation to help you compete for this type of role, consider how to:
- Find the games you’re passionate about and develop your skills. Be prepared to practice intensely until you’re competitive against the top players on platforms like Steam and Twitch.
- Become active online and learn to play with a team. Talent scouts are active in online forums like Discord and Steam, says the professional player interviewed in TechRadar. Having an online profile is a great way to get noticed.
- Work with a coach to hone your skills or attend training. Groups like UCI eSports Camps can be a good place to start.
- Consider varsity eSports teams in college. There are even eSports scholarship opportunities you can pursue.
- Compete in local tournaments, events, and gaming conventions. This is where you can make connections and potentially attain rankings.
No sport is as technology-driven as eSports, and the field has opened up a wide variety of technology opportunities. It’s possible to find careers on the game development side, working in everything from software development to product management. More broadly, there are significant opportunities for programmers, engineers, hardware and customer support roles, applications experts, data analysts, and more. For individuals with a strong background in these areas and a love of eSports, making the leap can allow you to apply your technology skills to an area you’re passionate about.
Marketing, Sales, and Event Planning
If you’re not cut out for professional eSports as a player, you can get in on the action in a marketing role. As eSports grows in popularity, there are a number of employers hiring marketers and sales professionals who focus on eSports. Gaming companies, professional eSports organizations, and competition venues are just a few of the employers connected to the industry that hire marketing and sales talent. Digital marketing skills are in demand, with popular roles that include creating content, managing social media, running influencer programs, and managing sponsorships and retail opportunities.
The eSports industry revolves around events: tournaments, conventions, and other face-to-face and digital competitions. If you have events management experience and a passion for eSports, an event-related job could be your path into eSports. These roles are in demand from the professional eSports teams themselves, as well as the venues that host events throughout the year—not to mention an entire ecosystem of vendors, marketing agencies, and other companies offering products and services.
As professional eSports continues to rapidly grow, it represents an important opportunity for job seekers across the industry. No matter your background or your expertise, there are a variety of resources to help you get started—and find a way to play an active role in this fast-evolving space.