Growing up, you probably heard that video games would “ruin your brain.”
Today, science shows that is not the case. Many studies are proving that video games provide players with skills that can be used to land a job and navigate the modern workplace — meaning, your video game time may be training you for future work.
Whether your gaming preference is puzzle/strategy-based, tower defense games, RPGs, or something else, it is possible to channel those techniques into real-world skills that can help you land a job. In fact, more and more companies are accepting gaming experience as a foundation for job experience. But not every game will translate into the job you want.
Here’s how you can use gaming skills to help you get hired.
What Are The Best Games To Learn Skills?
In 2017, researchers found that modern video games such as Borderlands, Lara Croft, and Minecraft helped players gain valuable workplace skills. These included:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Communication skills critical to teamwork
- Adaptability to change and crisis
Different games will provide unique experiences in these and other areas. Let’s take a look at what type of games match certain job skills.
Massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), like World of Warcraft, provide several useful experiences for players. A research team from the Minnesota University of Science and Technology studied gamers to discover what job skills they acquired when playing MMORPGs. They found that tech-savvy players who had more achievements in the gaming world had a more solid foundation for real-world work success.
For example, gamers tend to quickly master communication tools and strategies for remote teamwork, an option many companies offer since the pandemic. Teamwork experience acquired in MMORPG includes collaboration, group strategy, and brainstorming. These skills help players develop communication techniques that allow them to interact, manage, or lead other colleagues.
Once considered a danger for children, today experts acknowledge that gaming can help kids be successful in academics. Today, even elementary level students have laptops or tablets to help them learn school subjects via educational games that are more engaging than traditional learning. Smartphone games can teach kids life skills like finances, cooking, and problem solving so parents might want to start thinking about getting their child their own phones.
Some of the benefits of giving a smartphone to a child include educational support as well as teaching them how to properly interact with their peers virtually. Of course, they will also learn to become tech-savvy at an early age, which will give them an employment advantage when they grow up.
For both kids and adults, games are a great way to develop and improve your logic and critical thinking skills. Some great games for Android and iPhone that build these areas of your brain include:
- Sudoku and Blendoku
- Unlock the room puzzles like EXiTS
- Logic puzzles like Flow Free
- Classic Word Games and Chess
For gamers who are talented enough to make it into competitive gaming tournaments, there are also many benefits. For example, esports benefit serious gamers and have been shown to build specific brain areas more than people who played casually. These areas help develop:
- Decision-making ability
- Analyzation skills
- Cognitive planning
- Information processing
- Fine motor movements
As you will no doubt run into competition in the workplace, understanding how to handle it is critical. Naturally, gaming tournaments require plenty of skills, such as achieving high-level results under pressure, always an attractive skill for hiring managers.
You can also find several games online that cater to actual work skills. These so-called “serious” games can teach you social change, academics, finances, and how to manage real-life events like climate change. There are even games that demonstrate how to be an Uber driver or how to run a “fake” news station.
While these won’t necessarily provide exact workplace skills to help you land a job, some serious games do come from actual workplace training. Access to those can be helpful but difficult. That said, serious gaming can be a great talking point when discussing your hobbies at a job interview.
How Hiring Managers Can View Your Gaming Skills
Robert Half Technology, a staffing company, did a survey of chief information officers (CIOs) and found 28% of them agreed that playing or developing video games makes applicants more appealing for entry-level jobs.
Here are some of the gaming skills that can make you a more attractive candidate for employers:
- As mentioned, team play increases your ability to work well with others.
- Improvement in skills such as fine motor and spatial navigation can help careers that require detailed work like surgery.
- Video games may improve mental health by helping you build intellectual resilience, reasoning, and improved perception.
- It’s even been shown that gaming may help reverse or prevent cognitive decline.
Jobs That Are Ideal For Gamers
It’s pretty obvious that game tester and professional gamer are ideal jobs for players, but those spots are difficult to find and the competition is fierce. We don’t say you shouldn’t try to achieve them if that’s your dream, but gaming can also set you up well for many other careers.
People who operate remote devices for a living, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones, have to train on video games. Thus, the reverse is true as well — your video game skills can make this an ideal job for you. Many of these careers are in the military but other applications include agriculture and surveillance.
Look for programs in computer programming and cybersecurity to pursue this field.
Graphic Design or Animation
As gaming technology gets better, your immersion in a game can improve your visual skills and your appreciation of graphic development. That can translate to a career in graphic design especially if you have any fine art skills or are fluent in design software such as Photoshop.
You can study graphic design, animation, computer science, or game design to enter this field. If you are already skilled with a sketchpad, this may be an ideal job path for you.
If you’d like to design games but not graphics, game developer is a good position. Game developers work on the story behind the game, including planning the various challenges that players must overcome, creating characters, and world-building. They must be able to write and troubleshoot code and perform research.
You can see that organizational skills and problem solving are a good fit for this career. A college degree, master’s degree, or certificate in game development or computer programming is commonly required.
If you’re a serious gamer, you’ve likely poured time and money into upgrading your computer or gaming system, including popping open the back to get it to work better or faster on your budget. That makes you a perfect applicant for a career in IT. That’s good news because jobs in information technology abound and pay well, especially today.
It’s wise to pursue a degree in computer science focusing on hardware, software, or other concentrations. However, if you already have some hands-on IT skills, you might want to seek out an entry-level position helping small companies with their computer systems to build your resume right away.
Playing video games was once considered a harmful pastime. However, with technology being such a critical component of business and industry, your experience as a long-time gamer can provide you with attributes that help you land a job. Depending on the types of games you enjoy, your skills in communication, collaboration, and more along with sharper brain functioning can help you land a career and provide you a solid grounding for work in many fields.