Friday, 20 April 2012

Educate me for the Industry

The Games industry has developed educationally recently, there are now industry specific courses sprouting up around the country, to limited success. Having Skillset accreditation does help my courses reputation grow as one of those that has succeeded. Being such a diverse but art orientated industry, does allow a large graduate pool to siphon from. Traditionally this was the case, fine art; graphic design, computer graphics and other creative subjects were the backbone to which staff was hired. Being a relatively new subject to study had allowed graduates to be hired with transferable skills. Now however with specific courses for games developing, companies can hire already trained employees, rather than train from scratch other graduates. This has created a question does overall attributes and “soft skills” win over specific technical skills.

I think it is important to understand that soft skills are skills that can be transferred amongst job industries; these would include basic understandings of colour and light theory.  With these skills it is understood to be easier to learn new art skills because you have already understood the fundamentals. Whereas technical skills have been taught to allow you to perform very specific tasks, with the games industry this would be the mastery of a specific program. In my personal opinion it is obvious that many graduates would have a limited understanding of soft skills and would have related art attributes to be useful in a jobs position. It has already been proven from 30years of doing so, that art graduates can be trained in house to be good a specific features because they already know how the basic work.

What courses need to be aware of is that; although teaching specific skills is very useful and will give you a head start, without proper understanding of how things relate to the real world this will leave you undermined. Professionals want to see overall competence and ability. This is because the games industry is every evolving and learning the specifics of one program are likely to be counterproductive because their lifecycles are generally very short.  If you can teach the basic of game related software whilst teaching and helping students understand how to make things work and why they work. Then they will automatically be able to adjust and self criticise.

This also moves into another point that because the future is always changing it is hard for educational establishments to rewrite the course to fit this. There are an every growing number of programs and techniques to learn and by trying to teach the basics of how things function, for when you move into the industry will give you a massive benefit over other graduates. Producing pretty pictures is great, but it is useless if you don’t know how you created it and wouldn’t be able to create it in different way. Every games company has different techniques, by learning specifics you are limiting you availability and desirability to other companies.

All that courses can do is try to diversify what you learn, give you the most up to date information, programs and techniques. As long as you understand what the limits are currently and as long as you are able to learn new things quickly because of fundamental knowledge. Then as long as you have these, you have the ability to be appealing to the games industry.

Whatever games companies ask for, whether it is raw liberal arts skills or technical prowess. If you can make yourself known to be competent artist, have knowledge of up to date programs and try to make yourself stand out as the best of what you do. If you strive to learn as much as you can whilst practicing and improving your skills. Then you have given yourself the best chance to be noticed and as such employed. By given students the means to achieve their best, no matter how it is achieve, companies will notice this ability and will move than likely approve of the students graduating. A mixture of technical skills and fundamental skills are the best way to learn and to get noticed takes the added enthusiasm from those who are taught and those who teach.

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