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Supplement education with game developer communities for greater success

Vector laptop with open screen on desk front view
Vector laptop with open screen on desk front view
iStock / Getty Images Plus / Andrey Suslov

Dr. Jakin Vela

Executive Director, IGDA

Game education programmes not only impart essential skills but also foster innovation and build a thriving talent pool.

Education plays a pivotal role in shaping vibrant and sustainable industries, and the games industry is no exception. It drives initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion while engaging emerging talent. 

Diversifying the industry through education 

Diversity is crucial in the games industry, enriching storytelling and broadening the appeal of games — building inclusive development teams that are more representative of the global population. A staggering 90% of game developers, according to the IGDA 2021 Developer Satisfaction Survey, emphasise the importance of diversity. However, the industry grapples with the underrepresentation of women, people of colour, and LGBTQIA+ developers, especially in leadership roles. Even when diversity initiatives succeed, systemic issues persist — leading to higher attrition rates among marginalised communities. 

Expanding educational opportunities for developers from all backgrounds can bolster diversity efforts. By making game development education more accessible and inclusive, we can amplify diverse voices and enhance retention rates. Educational pathways — both formal (degrees and certificates) and informal (community-based or platform-specific learning) — can support the growth of new, junior and mid-career professionals. 

Diversity is crucial in the games industry, enriching
storytelling and broadening the appeal of games.

Education as a gateway to the industry 

The games industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, with increasing demand for new content. Fortunately, democratising game development has opened up pathways for aspiring professionals. New gaming platforms, game engines and educational programmes have lowered the barriers to entry. Education remains one of the most popular routes to enter the industry. 

Colleges and universities worldwide continuously update their game education programmes to align with industry changes. These programmes nurture essential skills like teamwork, critical thinking and time management, alongside technical expertise. They also emphasise relationship-based skills like networking, public speaking and leadership. 

However, formal education is just one avenue. Community-driven and nonprofit programmes cater to diverse demographics — upskilling learners and offering immersive experiences. These programmes focus on specific areas, such as Unity or Unreal certifications, technical skills for roles like Quality Assurance Tester and hands-on apprenticeships. 

Additionally, platforms like Roblox, YAHAHA and Unreal Editor for Fortnite provide accessible options for rapid game creation. Platforms like these tend to offer extensive training and documentation materials, making game development accessible to all. 

Education and community 

Games education has evolved significantly in the past two decades, offering opportunities for individuals at all career stages. This broad gateway into games holds great potential for diversity and inclusion initiatives. As a global industry, it’s imperative that access to game development tools and resources continue to expand. 

Organisations like the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) complement educational efforts with resources, networking, workshops and global communities. Exploring diverse educational options and engaging with industry communities like the IGDA can shape a more vibrant, diverse and talented games industry. Together, we can chart a future where the games industry thrives like never before. 

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