There’s a real buzz in the Irish gaming industry at the moment, according to Mark Lambe. His company, NeverMind Games, is preparing to release its first title and is among a clutch of new indigenous Irish gaming companies.
“There is massive start-up and small and medium business community going. Lots of companies are located outside Dublin and for those third-level students really interested in gaming, I suggest that they try getting into one of the companies on an internship,” he says.
While Mark is part of the growth of the games industry in Ireland, he says his career path came about largely by chance.
“When I was in school it was almost by accident, I didn’t have a clue where I wanted to go. Software engineering was something I stumbled on, but it was hard to get information. I took a chance on the games course in Carlow.”
The course introduced him not only to the skills he needed to develop games, but also to his future business partners in NeverMind Games. They went on to compete in Dare to be Digital, among fifteen teams selected from countries around the world.
“Dare is a fantastic competition. Any third level students can enter, even if they’re in their final year. It’s run over the summer for ten weeks, during which your team of five has to develop a game in industry conditions, or as close as possible. It’s a great experience and you learn all of the things that college courses might miss.”
Mark says he’d recommend the competition to any third level students, although if they produce a game, Dare owns the intellectual property rights.
The big question for a lot of students interested in gaming is whether they have to be good at Maths. Mark says he sat Ordinary Level at Leaving Certificate, and his course gave a good opportunity for people to catch up in Maths.
“I was studying honours and changed to pass a few days before the exam. I went into the course with an A2 in pass maths. There were people there who had worse maths than me. There were also people who had been out of education for a while. For Maths, and later on Physics, on the course it was assumed that you knew none of it so while there was a small amount of repetition for people who already knew Physics, the people who hadn’t done it weren’t expected to know everything.”
For more details on required subjects and points for computing courses, check out CareersPortal
He’s also helping to bring more information to students at second level about their career possibilities, through Games Fleadh and visits to schools.
“NeverMind has open days throughout the year. We break the games industry up into different careers and tell the students about the different roles: artists, programmers and audio work. At the moment when people are considering wanting to get into the industry, the path seems to be missing.”
Are you interested in a career in gaming? Find out about the gaming section of the Smart Futures competition.