Sunday, 26 May 2013

Generalist or Specialist?

Jack of all trades, master of none?

Its a question on many of the students minds right now, especially after this year. After a number of guest lectures from industry professionals and the group projects, lots of ideas and advice are being constantly thrown about on the specific roles available, specifically within the games industry.

Now is a better time than ever to start thinking about life’s next direction though, believe it or not the future is just around the corner every day, it keeps coming like a relentless, heartless, impatient bitch. Regardless of this, a few years ago I found out the hard way, that no matter how hard you work and plan for the future, sometimes it can throw something completely different at you and you find yourself all of a sudden picking your plans up out of the trash. It might not always deliver negative results though, and as most people will tell you who have experienced this, often, when one door closes another opens, and probably the best advice I could give you now is to pick up as many of the pieces as you can, take them with you through the new door, and although things might not turn out exactly as you had hoped, you might be pleasantly surprised. One of my favourite sayings is, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I'm no stranger to making the best of what life throws at you, and at the end of the day, what other option is there?

Despite this positivity I wont lie that I have many worries about what my future holds, despite feeling confident with my artistic abilities and the fact that I would be a great asset to any team, I have no doubts that aiming for, and sticking at a full time job along side my caring role at home would be a struggle. But I also have no delusions that I’m not the only person who has to deal with personal struggles, and the most important thing is never to stop trying to overcome them. Last year, a guest lecture from Mitch Small of Codemasters, really gave me a moral boost, because of one thing he said. Basically, he told us that as much as thinking about our immediate futures in the games industry, we needed to stop worrying that if we miss an opportunity now another wont come along eventually, and he assured us that life will always continue to throw new opportunities at you, I think the most important thing is that I need to be patient, what ever happens, happens. Que Sera.

At certain times this year has been hard for me. A few weeks ago a few members of the Lockwood art studios gave a guest lecture and were also offering placements and freelance work, and I felt upset as my fellow students went and collected contact information and discussing what they were going to apply for as I sat back and thought deeply about if I could really give it my all, and this led me onto asking the same questions about my future careers. Right now, I'd have to say the answer is no, but can anybody? Just because I couldn't give a job my all, doesn't mean to say I couldn't give it a lot! So again, I'll just be patient and see what the future brings.

Right now, my immediate plans are to finsih my third year of uni and hopefully come away with a decent qualification. In a way, there a little less pressure compared to some of the students who have no choice but to find a job at the end of this. I would really like to take a year out at the end of next year and really take some time to regenerate and relax, I honestly havn't stopped for four years now, and I really need to give my mind and body time to recover.

In terms of what I would like out of a career, well, unlike some I'm not setting myself incredibly high goals. I've heard many people suggest that becoming a 'T-shaped' person in terms of your abilities is the best way to go. This basically means that a person should be an expert in a specific area, but also have a more simpler, broader range of skills in many others so that any new tasks a company may need completing could easily be picked up by that person. In a way the Game Art and Design course gives us the best opportunity to do this, to me, the most important thing I've learnt from the course is that with the quick turn around of new technology and new software, the ability to pick things up quickly and use them well is crucial.

What I've really wanted to do since meeting Mitch Small is work for Codemasters in their race game devision. As mentioned, I'm confident in my artistic skills but I have no real wishes to become a concept artist, funnily enough, what I'd really like to do, despite what can be mind numbingly repetetive at times, is a general 3D artist, and with my huge passion for motorsport in general I think doing something game related and motorsport related I could really make a massive contribution as I am so passionate about both. Knowing that this is something I'd like to do also gives me an advantage, as I can now research and work more specifically towards this role without forgetting about learning new things, and maybe become a 'T-Shaped' person? 

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