The last two decades have seen unprecedented growth for the gaming industry and it is estimated that there are more than 30 million gamers in the UK – and nearly 3 billion worldwide.
But what does this have to do with programming?
At Aquarium, we recognise that gaming has transferable skills that can be useful for jobs in development, which is why we are on the lookout for candidates who know their XBOX One from their SEGA Mega Drive.
Certain types of video games, such as role-playing or strategy games, have been linked to boosting a player’s problem-solving skills.
All games require some level of ‘working out’ how to play, but these types rely on quick decision-making and solution-finding to progress to the next level. Problem-solving is arguably the most important attribute needed for programming. The job not only involves building programs, but also debugging existing programs – both of which call on the ability to identify problems, think up solutions and implement those solutions.
This is why we’re always searching for problem-solvers and have come to learn that some of the best also have a passion for video games.
While having a good memory is not essential to being a good programmer, it is certainly beneficial. A 2015 study from the University of California showed that gamers are better than non-gamers when it comes to memory-based tasks. 3D video games deliver the most benefit, compared to 2D games you might play on a phone or tablet. 3D games are not only more complicated and detailed, but also have key spatial elements. This can work wonders for the hippocampus (that part of the brain responsible for learning and memory) and is particularly useful for programmers and developers.
From first-person RPGs to old-school beat ’em ups, video games often require players to do multiple things at once. This can involve watching numerous parts of the screen, pressing different button combinations or communicating with a team.
Multitasking plays an increasingly important role in the job of a programmer, as they will often be expected to switch between tasks and projects according to the company’s needs. While we appreciate that multitasking can sometimes be counter-productive, developers will understand that it is common to have more than one project on the go at any one time – and this is something that a background in gaming can certainly help with.
As counter-intuitive as it might sound, gaming really can boost your communication skills. A study by the University of Glasgow showed that multiplayer games, or games that require some level of collaboration, can help improve communication skills such as listening and talking. They can also help people adapt more capably to social situations. While you may think of programming as a somewhat solitary vocation, large projects will need teamwork. Not being able to communicate effectively can result in bottlenecks, delays and bugs. Communication is key to project success and multiplayer gaming has been shown to sharpen this crucial development skill.
We have always had a soft spot for gamers and appreciate the skills they can bring to a career in programming. Are you a programmer or developer with a passion for gaming? Then visit our careers page – you might just be what we are looking for.