The Accidental Gamer

Women who don’t consider themselves gamers might love these jobs

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Trang Ho is a Server Software Director based in Microsoft’s funky, Soho-based, Lift London Studio. She has worked with titles and franchises such as SOCOM, Ratchet & Clank, Everybody’s Golf and Little Big Planet.

Originally, Trang wanted to become a doctor. But at a friend’s suggestion, she decided to pursue a career in the gaming industry. This spontaneous decision shaped Trang’s career and brought out her passion for the industry.

Trang would love to see more women pursue a career in gaming. She’s even done her research:

“The Entertainment Software Association’s 2013 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry states that ‘45 percent of all game players are women.’ However, women make up only 12 percent of the gaming-industry workforce. It will take more women working in the gaming industry to make games appropriate for the female audience.”

Trang believes more women, even those who don’t consider themselves gamers, would love jobs in the industry. In her own words, here’s why.

What do you love most about your job?

I love working with technologies that have a visible impact on real people, people I know, like friends and family–even my mother. It’s exciting to be a part of emerging technology and consumer trends.

How do you think you benefit from being a part of the gaming industry?

It’s an incredibly creative, empowering, and influential industry to be in, especially now with the changing landscape of how people consume entertainment.

Tell us a bit about working at the Lift London Studio.

When I come into the office in the morning, it doesn’t feel like work. I look forward to spending time with people in the studio. We discuss technology, game design and player experience. The culture is open, energetic and encourages us to take on meaningful challenges.

How does Lift London differ from development centers in other organisations?

Employees at Lift London are empowered with a sense of responsibility and ownership. People in the studio have an attachment to the projects they work on and ultimately share with the public.

You recently hired a new team, Services Engineering. What is your vision for your team?

When I was hiring, diversity was very important to me, not only in terms of hiring people from different countries and backgrounds, but also from different industries. For example, two of my team members moved from the U.S. and India to join Lift London, and neither had worked at a games studio before. Another two engineers have come from different industries, such as security and banking. I look for good engineers who work well in a team and want to help each other achieve goals. They have to be self-motivated and thrive in a community of artists, designers, producers, and engineers. They wouldn’t necessarily call themselves gamers but they have empathy for people who might use our services.

What advice do you have for people looking to work in the gaming industry?

I always like to ask people: “Are you a gamer?” Most will answer: “No.” But when I follow up by asking, “Have you played Tetris, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, or puzzle games?” the answer is usually “Yes.”

A lot of people play games but don’t call themselves gamers. Why should we? We do many things like drive, eat, and read but we don’t identify ourselves as drivers, food critics or readers. With touch devices such as smart phones and tablets, the opportunity to play games is more accessible and as a result we are seeing the rise of the accidental gamer–we’re making games for people who don’t call themselves gamers.

My point is, you don’t need to be a gamer to work within the industry. If you are passionate, innovative, collaborative, honest and curious, it is most likely that you will succeed at Microsoft.

Her final advice: Consider a career in games.

At Lift London, we make a conscious effort to have our teams reflect the diversity of the players we strive to entertain.  How? By looking outside the industry. We need to encourage and attract women who do not already work in games. So if you haven’t considered a career in gaming until now, why not give it a try?  You never know, you may end up loving it, just like I did.

Do some research into Microsoft’s development centers. You will be surprised how many opportunities we have available across the whole of Europe—and around the world.

Made in Europe: Where to find hot jobs.

See what’s happening at the Microsoft Design page on Facebook.

 

Inside JobsBlog:

Meet Sally Huang, who also loves her career in gaming at Microsoft, and says working here is just like a startup.

Two of our summer interns consider themselves “good girls gone geek.” Here’s why.

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