You had more questions, we had more answers in our October AMAs, this time from former Blizzterns!
Our AMA series invites professionals from the gaming industry to discuss career development and to provide insight about different careers within the gaming industry. Topics include career paths, networking, and tips for applying and interviewing for jobs and internships.
Our second and third AMAs featured six Blizzterns from the Web and Mobile, IT, broadcast and production, 3D art, and gameplay engineering teams.
1) All experience accepted!
Many students worry they either aren’t casting a wide enough net when applying for internships or don’t have a long enough resume to land one at Blizzard. Our panelists shared their experiences with facing those decisions and obstacles.
Walter: I applied for a lot of different internships at a lot of companies even though I’ve loved Blizzard since Warcraft 2 came out. I had some experience in IT before my internship, but I was applying everywhere.
Sara: I only applied to Blizzard. I wanted to try working in production so I could use my computer science degree in a way that let me work more with people but that still involved engineers.
Andre: The first time around, I applied for any software engineering position. I was only a sophomore though, so I didn’t have any experience outside of school. I picked Blizzard because I love Starcraft.
2) Quality qualities
We asked our panelists to give their thoughts on what qualities would be highly valued by teams selecting internship candidates.
Walter: Communication is important to tackle problems, and so are conflict resolution skills. People in any position at Blizzard need to be able to find compromises.
Sara: Personality is key. I made a Nick Cage fansite with the same domain name as the portfolio I applied with, but it showed who I was and Blizzard must have liked it.
Andre: Be yourself. You can really show off your inner geek or what you love about Blizzard in your cover letter. Also, while you don’t absolutely need work experience to get an internship, you need to show you’re willing to learn and grow.
3) Stay awhile and learn!
Interns contribute to Blizzard projects throughout their entire program, but they only have so long to translate their experiences into important lessons. These former Blizzterns had plenty to say about what they learned and what you might want to think about during your own time in an internship.
Geoff: First off, imposter syndrome is real. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You got that position, so your internship employer obviously believes in you. Believe in yourself,too! Second, understand the value of networking and developing relationships with the people you work with because who knows where it will take you.
Jessica: I agree with Geoff — don't be afraid to walk around and meet people. I realized the people I worked with and looked up to were super nice and just normal people who wanted to help. Get one mentor, but make sure to meet other members on the team and learn something from everyone.
Also, don't worry about speed. Focus on making something cool and overcoming challenges overtime. You’ll get faster as you get more experienced.
4) Tell us who you are
What goes on a resume? What goes in a cover letter? When do I tell them about the time I topped the competitive ladder? It isn’t easy to prepare a good resume and write a good cover letter, but our interns have your back yet again!
Geoff: Resumes are all about your accomplishments that objectively make you a good fit, whereas the cover letter is NOT about that. That’s about demonstrating your personality and your interest in the position. It doesn't have to be as rigid as a resume and can include a story. One approach to take when filling out the body paragraphs of a cover letter is to talk about some problem you overcame. "This is a problem, this is why it was a problem, this is how I overcame it, and this is what I have learned." This can be anything from a technical problem to an interpersonal problem. This allows you to show your personality and how you think about things.
Jessica: For art cover letters, they can be really simple. My first draft was super complicated and covered everything, and I was told to scrap it all and be really basic. Because, for an art position, Blizzard really only looks at your portfolio and how well you do in the interview.
5) Is this where you wanted to be when you leveled up?
A lot of people dream of working in the video game industry, but is that true for everyone who comes to Blizzard? Our panelists had the answers.
Walter: While I wanted this to be my career, I didn't think it would actually happen. In West Virginia, there's no game design programs. I thought that breaking into this industry was more of a 15 or 20 year plan. But, I decided not to worry about that and apply anyway. The worst case scenario was Blizzard saying no. Nothing is out of reach! Even though I changed my major a lot in college, it's about the journey.
Sara: I always wanted to be in gaming. It was something I was passionate about for my entire life. It's what made me choose to study computer science at UC Irvine. Once I stepped foot on Blizzard’s campus, I knew that this was where I wanted to be.
Andre: In sixth grade, my dad found an add for the Guildhall at Southern Methodist University. He pushed me to take computer science classes in highschool and I went on to study computer science at the University of Southern California. I knew I wanted this since middle school.
6) And, some final words of wisdom
Geoff: This endeavor you embark upon will be a struggle, so make sure you understand what you are passionate about and go all in on that. Focus as much as you can on learning new things, growing as a person and a collaborator, and those skills will carry you throughout your career.
Jessica: Make sure you’re making what you love. Don't just make the art you think will get you noticed. The best art is the art you are passionate about and that you want to make.