When most people think about gaming, they probably think about men. But they probably don't picture rad ladies like Claudia Schindela, who happens to be the Global Head of Gaming at Spreadshirt, developing amazing merch for the fashion and gaming worlds. She works with teams around the globe to create this badass merch. Amazing, right?
Growing up fascinated by the ever-changing technology and economics worlds, she decided to pursue her love of gaming in this unique way.
So gamer ladies, it's time to rejoice. We hopped on a call to hear her tips on how and why you should make those gamer dreams a reality. Time to feel inspired.
Yes—hobbies can become careers.
Who says you have to separate work and play? Pursuing a career you love (especially in gaming!) is totally what you make of it, and even if you didn't study a particular field, you aren't stuck. Schindela says that a genuine interest and willingness to learn will go a long way. "I have a BA in International Business and a specialization European management, so that's not really tech-y," she says, "but the spark was always there for me. I have a natural interest in anything tech related: from computer science to communities or new social movements benefiting from the freedom of information."
Not studying anything gaming-related? No worries. You still have a shot at landing your dream gig.
Disregard the stereotypes.
Stereotypes of people working in tech fields usually include the picturesque geeky IT guy in glasses and few, if any, women. Well, take that image out of your head. Women most definitely have a face and a place in this field—and it's a massively important one, at that.
"Some promising young female talent can be held back with outdated stereotypes and false images like the nerdy IT guy or the lonely scientist in a sticky room without a window," Schindela says. "Perhaps the biggest misconception about working in tech is that it is all about solo contributions best performed stuck behind a screen. However, an incredibly valuable skill set that is missing in many tech teams is communication, and many females are strong in this area. Technology demands [that] great communication is embraced [so that it can] take root. A tech team must define and describe consumer need, be able to visualize the solution to the business owners, and translate that back into code and visuals. This is the core piece for tech product or project success."
Okay, who's feeling inspired?
Having a collaborative spirit is key.
If you picture a tech or gaming-based career as a stuffy office job—think again. Tech and gaming fields are totally collaborative, and Schindela says she spends her days brainstorming to find new and better ways to do things. How cool is that?
"Every day is packed with meetings and workshops on business topics, tech topics, and, of course, some creative parts. It's a lot of getting together with the team to talk about what we are doing next and how we can improve," Schindela says. "It's a great mix of working with a team, but at the same time, also working with clients and business partners."
If you have an early interest, go with it!
Since tech can be looked upon as a largely male field, young women appear to shy away from the gaming field. According to the National Science Foundation's 2016 Science and Engineering Indicators report, which compares statistics between 1993 and 2013, women still only constituted 29% of workers in Science and Engineering occupations in 2013, even though they accounted for half of the college-educated workforce overall. However, don't let those numbers hold you back. If you enjoy it, go for it! Gaining exposure earlier on and falling head over heels in love with tech will only prepare you for a super cool career going forward.
"Early exposure is the key to attracting female talent via education by getting immersed with technology and science even at very young ages—such as fun preschool activities," Schindela says. "This knowledge base is crucial to developing the next generation for both genders. We all know that the role of smart devices and robots will continue to grow and greatly shape and impact our lifestyle and society."
And as with any career, stay curious.
That's right—once you're in the workforce, you're going to have to keep learning to keep up with changes, especially in the field of gaming.
"I think the best advice is to be and stay curious," Schindela says. "Curiosity is the drive to improve yourself. Even if you're not a programmer, you need to understand that technology is changing. You need to stay curious, you need to stay informed, and I think it's important to not get afraid if the topic is kind of complex."
Her final bit of advice? "Don't give up. Don't be afraid. Stay curious, and it's the best you can do."
What excites you most about building a career around an interest in gaming?