In December I started to plan my trip to the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco. Unluckily, it fell during one of the busiest times of the school year (Week 4 of Module 4) and was a fairly large investment, but I still decided to go because not only am I interested in games, but it’s an industry I would love to be a part of. So on March 18th, I brought my suitcase with me to school and after a full day of classes, boarded a plane and headed to San Francisco!
The conference itself was a bit overwhelming at first. Having been to Tokyo Game Show (TGS) before, I half-knew what to expect, but the scale of GDC blew me away. It took up 3 massive convention centers! On top of that, the best and brightest developers in the industry were there and here I was – a student looking for a job. I had taken the advice of my friends and the BCC and set up a few meetings in advance, but for the most part I was going to have to figure it out on the fly. As such, I took the first day slowly – spending most of my time scoping out the companies I would like to learn more about and speaking with some of the larger studios.
That night I was able to attend some of the parties and really started to feel more confident about the entire trip. As someone who isn’t the best networker in the world, it was great to know that everyone at the conference already shared something in common (hint: we enjoy video games.) I met some great people and really started to enjoy myself. It was really nice to learn from professionals in the industry. I felt like it was a good day overall, but I really wanted to hit the ground running in the morning.
The next day (and the rest of the conference) proved to be just as awesome as I had hoped. I met tons of people, learned a bunch, and managed to get into some of the larger networking parties that night. In one night, networking had turned into something that was enjoyable. I didn’t leave the conference with any job offers, but I had a bunch of leads and more than a handful of business cards.
Since coming back to Vancouver, it’s been nonstop between school and following up with everyone I met. The trip was absolutely worth it from both a learning and career development perspective. It would have been nice to enjoy some of the sunny Californian weather, but with module 4 wrapping up soon maybe it won’t be so long before I return to Cali. Only next time, I hope it’s to start my career.