What jobs in gamification are out there?
One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is how to build a career in or with gamification. The industry is growing rapidly, with companies on track to spend over $2.5Bn directly on gamification products and services by 2016, with at least 5,000 jobs created as a result. But because gamification cuts across industries and functions, it’s not always immediately obvious what job title best suits a “gamifier” and what kinds of companies need your skills.
So I’ve pulled together my thoughts on the top career opportunities and jobs in gamification, based on different underlying skills/interests.We do know that demand for gamification skills is up 293%, so the opportunities are certainly there. In some cases these are new job types entirely — in others they are the roles where you should have a significant “bump” in marketability with gamification experience. Regardless of which path you choose, consider earning your certification in gamified design at GSummit in April — it will doubtlessly help bolster your marketability.
Gamification Design Consultant
If you have an interest in product and system design, with a particular emphasis on UI, UX and HCI, you might consider a career in Gamification Design Consulting. In this role, you’ll help companies apply gamification principles to their various opportunities — usually websites, mobile applications, loyalty programs etc. You will be doing both retrofitting of gamification (applying it to existing systems) as well as designing new ones from scratch. Typically, you will need to have gamification experience and credentials (e.g. reward systems, virtual economies, challenge design), and a strong ability to work with clients, think creatively and manage deadlines. Previous game design experience is generally considered a plus, but not everyone agrees. Most of these opportunities will be freelance and will require you to develop your own clients, pricing and deliverables plans. Job growth is also occurring within the gamification platform vendors — many of whom are actively hiring into their professional services arms — as well as the traditional large consultancies who are beefing up in gamification. Ultimately, if you enjoy varied challenges, aren’t afraid of developing your own clients and plans, design consulting can be lucrative and rewarding.
Gamification Project Manager
Once large gamification projects are underway, individuals are needed to manage all the moving parts until key milestones are achieved — and often beyond. This falls to a gamification project manager who — typically working with business and technical partners — ensures the whole program is delivered as specified, tested and refined. Most closely resembling a software project manager, gamified project managers will be great at task planning and management, cross-functional communications, and have a clear view of all the elements of a successful gamification project from start to finish — ideally with certification or experience. Job growth here will be with consultancies, gamification platform vendors, loyalty program operators and inside organizations that have decided to pursue gamification projects. If you enjoy getting things done and are passionate about gamification, this role might be for you.
Business Process Analyst/Engineer
Many business processes will be redesigned with gamification, and if you are a systems thinker, this role might be for you. Typically found in large organizations and major consultancies, BPM positions will increasingly demand gamification. Companies like IBM, Siemens, NTTData and SAP have made headlines for their use of gamified BPM techniques — oftentimes pivoting their strategies from cost-reduction to revenue-generating. In these roles, you’ll be responsible for looking at existing business processes and redesigning them to optimize for efficiency, quality and human factors — including the gamification of interaction, incentives and challenges. Sometimes, you’ll be working on clean-sheet projects, but mostly you’ll be deeply engaged in understanding the details of how complex human-computer systems can be made more optimal. To succeed in this area, you’ll need to be good with numbers, an expert at systems thinking (complex interdependencies in particular) and have a deep knowledge of motivation/reward/incentive research in gamification. Many of these individuals begin on the BPM side and add gamification to their skill set through training/certification. Job growth will be at the big consulting and enterprise software firms, and will be found worldwide — though cultural knowledge will be highly relevant. If you enjoy untangling complex problems, this role may be for you.
Note: the above three roles can often be found inside the Human Resources function as well – an area undergoing significant change prompted by gamification. If you are interested in applying gamification to HR, you will probably need to combine human resources experience and interest with gamified design knowledge.
If you’re thinking about doing your own startup or launching a new project inside an existing company, you probably have a vision for what the market needs — and a rough sketch of the product that can deliver it. To maximize consumer engagement, you’ll want to bake gamification in from the beginning of the project, ensuring that the key elements of the discipline are present (Feedback, Friends and Fun) and that you consider the gamified functions from day one. Critically, you’ll need to know how to design great experiences, and how to incorporate engagement into them without over-complicating the project — all while managing the time/money tradeoffs at every turn. To be successful, you need to be a visionary with an eye for key details, and an appetite for diving into different products to learn what worked and what doesn’t. These roles will generally exist in startups and in creative agencies, and if you have the stuff, gamification knowledge here will be invaluable.
Regardless of which area is most interesting to you, consider joining us at GSummit in April where experts in these fields will be presenting the latest insights about how to use gamification to transform their companies, industries and the world. You can also join one of our workshops to earn your certification in gamified design.