What follows is a summary of what happened at Tech Ranch Austin on the morning and afternoon of Saturday, February 7, 2015. We called it Career Catalyst 2015, using the same name as an event IGDA-Austin had in February 2011 in association with the Mary-Margaret Network. That’s a long time.
The boom and bust cycle of video game projects is on roughly a 4-year cycle. Austin lost 300 jobs within the first 6 months of 2013, and 2014 was mostly a rebuilding year. Austin’s well overdue for a boom year, and 2015 had better be it.
The assumption was that local employers would benefit from a cooperatively organized and funded career fair that would be cheaper than each company running their own career fair, as is usually the case after a major layoff. But, whenever there is a prospect of “video game jobs” on the line, the majority of people who would find out would either be under-qualified or otherwise not considered viable for any of the jobs listed.
Also, because video games are software, software engineers would be the most sought-after labor division. But engineers with proven experience who don’t already have a job are strange exotic creatures who are very much in the minority of anyone interested in game development work in general, don’t socialize much and have learned (rightly) that they are well in demand and will be sought after, career fair or no career fair.
The grand vision: Anyone could walk into a room full of employers and get the very clear message: “Look at all the jobs for game devs in Austin.”
Vision realized. First, some numbers. There’s a lot to cover.