I’ve been here at Blizzard Entertainment for a month and the question I’ve been asked the most since starting has been “Why did you leave tech to go into the games industry?”
First a little background:
Games have always had a huge part in my personal life. From the days of the Magnavox Odyssey through the original NES, Sega, Super NEs, N64, Playstation, Xbox…. You get the picture. Shoot, for the last few years, I even co-host a podcast about gaming. Somewhere along the way as a kid I discovered PC gaming was a thing. It was around the same time that I was building PCs in the summers between school years. I feel in love with what made computers tick, both the hardware and the software. I thought “Wouldn’t it be awesome to be the guy making this cool stuff!” Gaming and technology were my life.
I didn’t know back then I was going to be a recruiter. Heck, I didn’t even know what a recruiter was back then. At the beginning of my career, I ended up going into tech support for a few months and because I was good on the phone transitioned into sales. Gaming became my stress relief (and the way I supplemented my income on a few occasions thanks to Madden tournaments).
I always held on to the dream of making cool stuff and as a side project, I coded a CRM from scratch for my company to use. That was a blast. Here I was selling software and getting to be a coder. The longer I stayed in sales the further away from coding I got though. I’ve still got all the books sitting on my shelves with the sticky notes on the pages, but I haven’t coded for quite some time.
I was eventually recruited into recruiting. I was recruiting tech people for organizations all around the world. I found my passion and I was good at it. I decided to take a leap and start my own agency so I could focus on the companies I wanted. I recruited for interactive media and tech companies mainly. I did find a few mobile game companies that I had as clients for a bit, but nothing heavy in gaming.
Then I got a call from a buddy that was working for a large Fortune 500 company that wanted me to come on the inside and do corporate recruiting. It was still in the tech space so I thought “Yeah, sure. Why not.” All the while, gaming still being my stress relief. (In recruiting, you need stress relief.)
I’ve been in the corporate world for a few years now. I have worked for some of the coolest companies. One day, a few months ago the opportunity to work at Blizzard happened. “It’s the perfect blend of my personal and professional life,” I thought.
Guess what? It really is.
Walking in the doors at Irvine, I knew I found my industry. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore some of the places I have worked in my past, but to work in an industry that has been a huge part of my life….. Yep, that’s big.
So to answer the question, “Why did you leave tech to go into the games industry?”
The answer is simple. I didn’t leave tech to go to games. Games are in the tech space. At least that’s the case with Blizzard. We are a 25-year-old game studio with amazing tech behind us. Not a ton has changed over the years on the recruiting side of things as I’m still recruiting technical people from technical places. Even here at Blizzard.
Feel free to connect with me on Twitter where I post general nerdy topics, jobs I’m recruiting for, and career tips: @jroberts257