Gamers and IT professionals are cut from the same cloth. Both are team players. Both are tech buffs. Both grew up “wired.” The main difference? Top IT professionals hang out in the boardroom, not the bedroom.
Many famous coders, network engineers, and developers started as gamers:
- Programmer/developer and one-time software engineer John Romero. (His favorite game? “Chrono Trigger” on the SNES).
- Programmer/engineer John Carmack. (“Quake III Arena” on Windows.)
- Designer/programmer Chris Sawyer (“Transport Tycoon Deluxe” on Windows — a game he programmed!)
Gamers and IT professionals share similar personality traits. Both have a competitive streak. (You can’t play “Fortnite” without one). And the will to succeed. (Just ask programmer-turned-billionaire-businessman Tim Sweeney!)
There are obvious parallels between gamers and successful IT professionals like network engineers. If you game at home, apply those skills to a new job in the lucrative IT sector. You’ll never have to put down the controller!
Become an IT Professional and Use Your Gaming Skills
So you want to get a job in the gaming industry? This is a highly competitive field — there are 2.6 billion gamers worldwide, up from 100 million in 1995 — so you should develop new talents to improve your chances of success. One route into this sector is through IT, where you can hone many of the skills you’ve developed playing video games — enhanced coordination, spatial awareness, improved concentration, memory recall, problem-solving, multi-tasking, the list is endless.
With the right training from a professional, you can garner the skills you need to work in IT, as well as industry certifications that help you land your first job in this field. The IT sector is crying out for talented gamers like you. And you’re going to love it.
What you can expect when you work in IT:
- No day is the same. (You get to work on different projects.)
- The opportunity to transfer your gaming skills to real-world environments.
- The chance to work with similar people to you. (Many people who work in IT are gamers!)
- There are loads of opportunities for career progression.
- You earn good money! (Keep reading to find out how much.)
As you know, there are lots of job roles in IT, including coders, developers, and designers. However, network engineering roles are consistently ranked as one of the most in-demand tech jobs. Network engineers are similar to gamers in various ways. Both have excellent hand-eye coordination. Both solve complex problems. Both plan strategically. (If you’ve ever played Civilization, you know what we mean.)
Take a look at this recent job ad from video game company Ubisoft. It’s looking for a network engineer, and the company will pay big bucks to the right candidate. As a gamer, you already have many of the required skills…
- “Understanding of computer and console game networking systems and technologies”
As a gamer, you have this talent!
- “Strong communication and interpersonal skills; the ability to work as a part of a team.”
- “Self-directed, focused, and detail-oriented.”
OK, there will be stuff you might not know, such as client/server models, peer-to-peer models, and latency compensation, but you can learn all this quickly. You could become a job-ready certified network engineer in just 3 months, even if you’ve never worked in IT before. (Or never had a job before!)
How to Move From Gaming to Network Engineering
Network engineers deal with various computer network elements and, in theory, video games are similar to these components. Therefore, you can transfer many of the skills learned in gaming to IT.
When you become a network engineer, you’ll optimize networking systems and collaborate with other engineers to improve performance. You’ll also:
- Develop code.
- Maintain network performance.
- Enhance network reliability.
- Improve security.
- Look after data systems.
“Some of your other duties in the role of computer network engineer might include network modeling and analysis. This means you will have to analyze the particular networking needs of a business and determine which software and hardware solutions will suit them the best,” says Learn.org. “You will then plan out, install, and maintain those various solutions, which might include wireless adapters, routers, or network drivers.”
Do you have what it takes?
If you like to game, becoming a network engineer could provide you with a productive, profitable career. Plus, you can still play the video games you love. Some IT professionals still “game” outside of work; others play games at work.
Why You Should Work in Cybersecurity as a Gamer
With the right gaming skills and experience, you can become a network engineer (or another type of IT pro) in almost any niche. One of the most lucrative? Cybersecurity.
Gamers and cybersecurity network engineers have lots in common, so this shouldn’t be a difficult career to move into. Ninety-two percent of people in a recent study agree that gamers possess skills critical to cybersecurity, such as perseverance, logic, and an understanding of “adversaries”. Moreover, gamers are more likely to detect cybersecurity threats than traditional cybersecurity hires.
“[The majority] of cybersecurity professionals say the current generation entering the workforce that grew up playing video games are stronger candidates for cybersecurity roles,” says TechRepublic. “As cybersecurity pros struggle to keep up with evolving threats, one emerging pool of talent may help organizations stay safe: Video gamers.”
Working in cybersecurity can be rewarding. Like in popular video games, you detect threats, help innocent people, and fight against the “bad guy.” You also get the chance to work with governments and multinational corporations in the battle against cybercrime. Just like in Fortnite, you can save the world!
Cybersecurity is also lucrative for gamers. Average salaries range from $100-200,000 — well above the national average — and hit seven figures for the highest-paying jobs. Without a doubt, network engineering is one of the best-paid roles in cybersecurity. Your mission, should you choose to accept it? To set up, develop, and maintain computer networks — and keep everyone safe from the baddies.
Becoming a cybersecurity network engineer (or network security engineer) provides you with as much satisfaction as your favorite video game. You’ll be responsible for maintaining the company’s WAN, LAN, server architecture, firewalls, virtual networks, programs, and more. You’ll be the gatekeeper of the organization. The superhero of the company. The Lara Croft, Sonic the Hedgehog, or Master Chief. (Choose your character!)
You can even combine cybersecurity and gaming, and work as a cybersecurity network engineer in the gaming industry! There are loads of these jobs across the United States. (Not just Silicon Valley.) Check out these careers for video game enthusiasts:
WANTED: Network Engineer for Gamigo
Who? One of the largest gaming companies in North America
Where? Austin, TX
How much? $71-91,000 a year (estimated)
Who? Global video game company with development studios around the world
Where? San Francisco, CA
How much? $76-100,000 a year (estimated)
Who? World-famous video game brand, famous for “Medal of Honor,” “The Sims,” “Dragon Age,” and more
Where? Orlando, FL
How much? $100-140,000 a year (estimated)
(Information correct as of July 2020)
Ready to Become a Network Engineer?
Unfortunately, you can’t leap from a gamer to a professional network engineer without any additional training. Sure, being a gamer puts you at an advantage, but you still need the help of a professional.
Meet Andrew, a veteran, and father-of-four, who enrolled in NexGenT’s Zero to Engineer program. He learned life-long IT skills (and work-ready soft skills) from top network engineers who have worked at companies like Google, Cisco, and Amazon.
After he completed the program, Andrew landed a job at NASA as a network engineer, where he specialized in WAN, CAN, and LAN engineering and management for more than 5,000 nodes. Andrew negotiated two raises and doubled his salary to more than six figures a year, before landing a position at Insight Global, and then Riot Games, one of the world’s largest video game developers. He now earns $200,000 a year.
Perhaps you’re like Andrew. You want to become a network engineer (or another type of IT pro) but lack the resources and contacts. With the Zero to Engineer program, you get hands-on technical education, industry-recognized certifications, virtual mentorship, flexible learning, and career services all from the comfort of your home.
Are you a gamer? Whether you want to become an IT professional in the gaming industry or another sector, you’re almost halfway there. With a little training, you could land the job of your dreams and earn a lucrative salary.Learn About the FSNE Program To Break Into IT NOW Learn More about the Cyber Security Training Unlike Any Other