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New Year, New Job: How to secure a top job in mobile in 2013

Developers reveal their top tips

New Year, New Job: How to secure a top job in mobile in 2013
Aside from going on a strict diet to lose the yuletide podge and booking your summer getaway (usually a weekend trip to Margate on PocketGamer.biz's wages), January tends to a typically uneventful month.

For some, however, the new year can trigger a moment of reflection or two.

Are you stuck in job you hate? Or, even worse, are you doing a job you love, but not getting paid enough to live on? Perhaps you should look elsewhere.

However, while the start of 2013 will see scores of those working in mobile scouring through online ads for a step up the ladder, only a small portion will ever land the position they're after. So what separates the wheat from the chaff?

What exactly are those leading mobile gaming's creative giants looking for?

'Core skills'

"Solid core skills are key," NaturalMotion's Emma McGonical told us.

"We are always looking for great artists, exceptional programmers and talented developers in all our studio locations – Oxford, London, San Francisco and Brighton at Boss Alien.

"However people skills are important too, and we are always looking for driven team players with a passion for making great Games. Being open-minded to the mobile development process is pretty key!"

Indeed, based on our sweep of mobile's biggest and brightest, the mistake many applicants make is to think an impressive CV is enough.

"We look for first class honours degrees from our graduate programmer applicants or a 2:1 with excellent software or game demos," added Jason Avent, MD of CSR Racing studio Boss Alien, which was acquired by NaturalMotion last year.

"For artists, we look for really strong traditional art skills because with intelligence, most people can learn the software packages that the job requires."

According to Avent, however, skills aren't everything. The other key trait applicants need is a "positive and supportive attitude."

"It helps if you love games and can prove a good knowledge of games and design in general."

Mobile march

On a similar note, Japanese social gaming giant GREE – which is in the process of expanding its western operations – believes that those looking for top jobs also need to express that they're fully on board with mobile gaming's march to prominence.

"[Applicants need to] move beyond their view of console gaming and really understand the mobile market," said GREE's Nick Bartlett.

"[You should] be up to date with the latest technology and have your own thoughts on where it's going."

There are, of course, more practical skills the industry's top dogs are on the lookout for.

"Companies are looking for developers who can help them with cross-platform functionality, marketing and back-end systems," added King.com's Tommy Palm.

"Digital distribution has increased the need for real-time data gathering and analyses. It's an exciting time in mobile games."

According to Fishlabs' Marc Morian, applicants need to demonstrate that they understand the key issues that impact almost all mobile developers out there, and – most importantly - offer solutions.

"Given the steadily rising costs of user-acquisition across the industry, those who can lower them and/or increase revenue from existing customers will be in ever-increasing demand," said Morian.

"Be it keen performance marketers, resourceful F2P game designers, innovative monetisation managers, or thrifty payment experts – they'll all be sought after."

Eye on analytics

Similarly, those picking up the top positions tend to have a handle on one of the industry's other great mysteries – analytics.

"We look for people who are comfortable with analytics, as that is the foundation of how we develop and operate our games," said Kabam's Yoko Nakao.

"It's how we generate revenue, a blend of art and science. We seek to improve acquisition and retention, which is important in our game design, communication, and promotional plans."

But for Jan Wilfarth of InnoGames, nothing beats the power of a good game.

"Looking for a new job in the games industry?" asked Wilfarth.

"I suggest creating your own small game and really showing us what you can do best."
You can browse the latest openings in the mobile industry via the PocketGamer.biz jobs board.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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Aiben Pasiolan
skills in free hand drawing it is acceptable? ^_^