Do You Need a College Degree to Be a Video Game Journalist?

Will lack of college degree cause major outlets to overlook me? If I have a successful channel or just high quality content will that hard work be enough to potentially carry me to get hired one day? I’ve decided to put my career focus into this channel rather than being a student again and I just want to know if this effort is worthwhile or if I’m making the wrong decision.

asked via email to gameindustryguides@gmail.com

You don’t need a college degree. It’s always possible that some people in the industry still prefer a degree and having a degree never hurts. But if you have no interest in it, are already working in the industry, and don’t feel like formal schooling will help you build the specific skills you’re looking for I don’t think it’s worth going specifically to “look good” to employers. Admittedly, I do have a B.A in English and Secondary Education and absolutely list it on applications.

Again, I’ve never been involved in the hiring process at IGN or any other media outlet but I personally wouldn’t care about a degree very much. I have no idea if the freelancers I work with or the freelancers I recommend to my team/bosses have degrees. I’ve never even considered trying to find out if they did. I’m focused on their portfolios, work ethics, and attitudes.

So Should I Not Go to College?

This is technically speculation but it’s hard to imagine you having this great resume, interview, and references and being rejected because they see you don’t have a degree. Are there some people who still like (and even prefer) to hire those with a degree? There must be.

Do I recommend going to college? As much as I love education it’s hard for me to recommend it given the amount of debt you accrue combined with the lack of value I feel my degree has given me as a games journalist. At the same time, we have no way of knowing how much my college experience may have shaped me fore the better. The last thing I want is a kid to read this and give up on college entirely while I benefit from my own degree.

For me, it boils down to this: outside of a few select professions (such as medicine, law, education, etc) you should never go to college purely to become more employable. You can’t graduate and trade in your degree for a steady job.

The old adage that says “go to school and get a good job” is a set of directions, not a formula. Since going to school doesn’t guarantee employment you need to go for reasons beyond “becoming more hireable” and be smart when taking on debt. As much as I hate still owing $46,369.27 I’m confident I can pay that off (while having something like six-figures of debt would be devastating to someone in my income bracket).

Go to college if you want to but don’t feel like you need to do it.

Working Instead of Going to School

I lean on working instead of going to school but I have no way of knowing if you’re making the “right decision” in doing so. The truth is anything can work, if you work. And even bad plans can succeed.

Work hard and if you ever do decide to go to school here’s my advice for college students and since you’re just getting started here’s my overview on building a career from the ground up.

Note: This question was emailed to me. You can ask me questions directly via social media or email questions at gameindustryguides@gmail.com (I will never share who asked). Email is preferred because it’s easier to keep track of.

Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash

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