As the esports industry matures, so do the amount of people involved in the space. Recently, we’ve seen Universities offering programs in esports and looking to get attention of a hot new space. Some examples have been Durham College, UC Irvine and Staffordshire University in London.
Staffordshire has gotten some bad press recently with their latest tweet claiming that “Soon, working in esports will require a university degree”. While I disagree with that statement and it’s wording, I’m not going to discount an individuals application solely off a degree. In esports, relevant experience is probably the number on driving factor for esports jobs along with passion. If you’re not passionate it’s going to really show in esports. For example, If I wanted to get into esports project management I’d look into getting involved with an organization for real world experience. Ultimately, If I had to make a decision on hiring it would depend on a ton of factors and not solely on a degree. However, there are some things that Universities can do to put the students best interests at heart (and tweeting the below unfortunately is not one of them).
Check out Kennigit’s article on this as well.
Rather than be a blanket program I’d like to see Universities attempt some of the following changes instead.
Advice for Univerity esports programs
- Offer modules or electives that allow students to specialize into specific areas of interest. For example, UC Irvine seems to be doing a great job with their esports management program. It looks like it’s an addon to their existing curriculum and they have some top notch advisors in program as well. The program looks short and succinct.
- Have relevant industry professionals who can advice on real world experience is key.
- Having a coop program or bridge is even better to gain real world experience for students
- Offer esports classes that tie into traditional programs. For example, project management in esports for general Bcomm degrees that also tie into regular project management specializations. If I’m hiring for a esports project management role, I’d rather someone be strong in project management with an interest in esports rather than general esports with some interest in project management
- Reach out to as many esports industry professionals that can help guide some of the questions you may have
- Offer incentives for students to come. Scholarships, allow them to go to other areas of the school to get dual degrees etc.
Advice for students
- If you’re going to go down the esports academic route, always look into what programs are offering. Meet the university staff, ask to sit in on some lectures if possible and make an informed decision.
- Not getting a degree in esports isn’t going to hurt your chances at employment – Look for accredited programs at other schools and volunteer or get an entry level position somewhere in esports during your programs. This will be impactful as well.
- Keep networking! The industry is quite accessible, just put yourself out there and ask someone for a coffee. The worst they can say is no
- Esports is still in its infancy, don’t rush it.
- Ask former students, ask if there is an alumni program for your particular program etc.
- Rather than go into an esports program right away, look into joining a regular college / university program and make your own esports club to get some experience. There are always teams and other roles needed
- There are many paths into the world of esports. You just need to choose one and go through it.
If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to reach out. What do you think? Are esports programs in Universities the future or are they a waste of time?