So we’ve run through the technical skills that are fairly standard for anyone in one of these four roles.
But technical skills are only half the story!
All games developers also need excellent professional skills.
Professional skills are the interpersonal skills used to facilitate successful development both inside and between teams. We’ve listed a few professional skills you may need when working in games development:
- Team-working and collaboration
- Creative problem-solving
- Willingness to learn
- Communication skills including verbal and written communication
- Analysis and decision-making
- Listening skills
- Conflict resolution and mediation
- Negotiation, persuasion and influencing
- Self-prioritisation and planning
- Emotional intelligence
One way of looking at professional skills is to see the difference between the task you might have to perform, and the way you go about performing them. Professional skills include working with others, negotiating a development schedule, analysing a problem before solving it, listening to your colleagues’ requirements, being open to learning new technical skills, taking on board feedback and so on.
This might all be encompassed by the term emotional intelligence, which can be pivotal in making workplace relationships work. It’s the ability to empathise with other people, to predict how others might respond to particular scenarios, to respect their opinions and agendas, and be aware of how you are reacting to a situation as it happens.
You might be wondering why these interpersonal skills are so prominent in the course. This is because games studios are fundamentally collaborative work environments and studios have again and again emphasised that they are looking for people who can work alongside others. Our experts all agree that technical skills can be taught to new staff after they start, but someone that can demonstrate good professional skills before they begin may have a better chance of success in an application, even if their technical skills are less developed. As Claire Boissiere, veteran producer, says: “the best candidates have both”.
If you’ve looked down this list and are thinking ‘I’m in trouble!’, then don’t worry. You can develop professional skills too! Almost everyone has to work on these throughout their careers and most of them are learned through repeated practice.
Can you share any ideas or suggestions that help shed light on how to develop interpersonal skills?