Before becoming a software engineer, I was a gamer. The first PlayStation console was my initial introduction into interactive software packaged in a CD (compact disc for those that don’t know). Gaming got me interested in computers and technology. It got me interested in how things were built and ultimately led me to learning to code and getting my first role as a web developer.
Video gaames are a great stress reliever and they're fun. They can be beautiful in their design, they can help you learn to think creatively, and to find ways through seemingly impossible situations.
Here’s a few things that I have learnt from gaming...
Level up together
In many games you are given the opportunity to play as more than just one character. Despite their role in the game, you are required to ‘level up’ in order to progress. This is a great lesson in life and work. If you want to move into something new, if you want to improve your work, if you want to progress your career, you need to identify the things that you will need in that next level.
Personal projects have given me freedom to explore other areas and technologies too. This month I started a course to build a game using the incredibly impressive Unreal Engine. I’m excited to use what I learn, and how it can enrich what I do at Kyan.
Build confidence and teamwork
In some games you join a team, working together on challenges, quests and more. It makes the game more fun, collaborative and gives an overall sense of camaraderie. I am a quiet person and prefer listening to talking, but what I’ve found in being part of these teams is that I need to speak up to help the team, and by speaking up I’ve gained confidence in using my voice.
With gaming I get to help other people, coach them through a particular task they’re stuck with and help build that togetherness that makes us all work better. This could be through voice or text chat.
The same happens at work. If I want to help the team I need to speak up when I have an idea or if I’ve spotted a potential issue with a piece of work. I have come a long way and am not as quiet as I once was. I love helping other people at work, whether that’s if someone has a question about how to do something or doing a code review to make sure that the final work is as good as it can be.
Find ways to grow
Flipping it around, being a software engineer also helps me when I game. This year I built a small app to store and search key information for a raid, a group activity with multiple challenges. It means that I can concentrate on other aspects of the game rather than memorise information.
I could talk about how building an app in my free time will help me in my day job. However, the thing that I have learnt is that by building systems that alleviate one task, I can concentrate on other tasks. It’s sort of like how high performing people dress the same each day so they have one less decision to make and can use their brain on other work. This app means that my brain can focus on the more difficult aspects of the game.
At Kyan, we build stuff to streamline our work. We create ways to automate repetitive and time consuming processes using things like APIs. It both speeds up the work and allows us to focus on other aspects of development that require more brain power.
So next time you sit down to game, or someone you know is lost in a game, have a think about some of the great things you or they might be learning that can help in other areas of their life.
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