We recently had the chance to speak to Amy Campbell, the winner of the Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship. A fantastic opportunity for one lucky person to get their foot in the door and a career within the gaming industry in Australia.

What’s unfortunate for many out there who would benefit from the same opportunity — there was only one epprenticeship on offer.

Rest easy however as I have the next best thing for you.

I had the chance to ask Ben Williams, the Gaming Business Development Manager at Lenovo ANZ about both the Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship and his tips for those seeking to get into the gaming industry.

Ben has some solid advice and his top three tips for taking your first steps towards the career you want are rock-solid advice.

Read on for the full interview with Ben Williams.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, Ben. Could you explain what your main focus at Lenovo is?

Lenovo has placed a huge focus on PC Gaming over the past couple of years, having introduced the Legion brand back in 2017. The brand not only recognised the rise of esports in Australia and around the world but believe in the passion and power of the gaming community from the casual gamer through to the professional gamer and wanted to be part of that community. 

As Lenovo’s ANZ Gaming Business Development Manager, my role is to help drive the growth of Lenovo Legion through engagement with publishers, influencers and partners. Beyond this, my main focus is to listen to the gamers, integrate their feedback and help anticipate their needs as that is what drives Lenovo Legion’s innovations. 

As a brand, we are committed to connecting like-minded gamers and enriching the gaming community through investing in gaming tournaments, esports, gaming conventions and partnerships that give back to the community.

What does it mean to you to be able to offer a huge opportunity like the Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship to Amy Campbell? 

The Lenovo Legion brand aims to put ‘gamers-first’ whether it be through the innovation of new products by consulting with over 700 gamers to ensure the products we introduce meet the high-quality standard gamers want, or by supporting grassroots gaming across Australia and the Asia Pacific.  

This initiative not only allowed us to stick to our DNA of putting gamers first by helping kick-start one lucky gamer’s career but also connected us with over hundreds of applicants across the gaming community. The passionate gamers we have met virtually was overwhelming and was a great opportunity for Lenovo and myself to see the talented gamers coming through the ranks. 

Amy however not only demonstrated an interest in a career in the industry by pursuing freelance writing gigs for gaming publications, but has continually sought to expand her knowledge of the industry through education. We feel lucky Amy applied for the Epprenticeship as we think she will thrive with the diverse lessons and mentorship offered through the Epprenticeship and pursue a career once her time with us comes to an end. 

Overall, I am excited to be part of Amy’s journey to success and am grateful our initiative can assist in developing the dream career she has already been chasing.

image credit: Lenovo ANZ

image credit: Lenovo ANZ

The numbers provided in the Lenovo research stated that 6 in 10 players would like to pursue a career in gaming, but only 19% knew what the first step to take would be. What do you think the three top tips are for starting a path towards a career in gaming? 

With the Epprenticeship we really wanted to highlight both the breadth of careers available in the industry, but also the variety of ways one can break into it. We wanted to show this by telling the personal stories of those who are currently thriving in the industry.

While there are plenty of useful tips still to come – and we want to save the big lessons that will come from the mentors themselves, here are my three-pointers.

  • First Tip: Do Your Research

A good first step for anyone considering a career in the industry would be to take a step back and really do your research to understand what’s available. 

Many are aware that the big streamers are making a living by playing their favourite games to an audience, but less are aware of the less glamourous – or even just less publicised – roles in the industry.

There are plenty of resources available for those looking to dive a little deeper, from gaming publications, to well-known industry figures, discussion forums and campaigns put out by brands and industry organisations (like Lenovo or SMG Studio). 

Following these sources and spending some time thinking about what they offer, what roles they might be hiring for and what would go into the events, campaigns, products and projects they work on will give you a good idea of the breadth of roles in the industry. 

  • Second Tip: Ask Yourself What Interests You?

As you start to understand the careers that are available to you through your research or study, it is important to establish what you like about the industry and where your interest drives you. 

A few questions you can start with include: Do I like to write or edit videos? Would I be interested in learning a second language? Do I prefer competitive team gameplay or individual streaming? Am I interested in testing a variety of games or do I prefer to stick to what’s popular? Am I interested in what makes up a character’s look and personality? Or do I like world-building? 

These questions might help you hone in on the kind of career you might like to build, and could guide you towards an appropriate area of study. For those interested and able to study, many universities have started to introduce curriculums that align with gaming careers. Further to this, many of them offer University clubs and programs that might help you get your own start – like the University of Queensland Union Esports, which offers the largest and most comprehensive program in the Southern Hemisphere. 

  • Third Tip: Seek Mentors in Your Field of Interest 

Whilst the Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship offers a way to get in front of industry professionals, the Epprenticeship is not the only way to bridge the gap between yourselves and gaming career opportunities. Seek out mentors in the industry for advice, for example, reach out to an Esports Manager of your favourite team and ask them what it takes to become a member or seek additional information from gaming brands through their social media on what courses to study to pursue game design. 

image credit: Melbourne Esports Open

image credit: Melbourne Esports Open

I think it’s safe to say esports within Australia has seen a massive spike in the last 24 months with events like the Melbourne Esports Open. Do you think this is helping many realise the many different types of jobs that are available within the games industry?

There has definitely been a steady increase in the popularity for Esports across Australia and New Zealand with both viewership and participation increasing thanks to a number of amateur and pro events being held across the region in recent years.

Last year we brought Lenovo’s flagship Asia Pacific esports competition to Australia and New Zealand for the first time ever. Legion of Champions (now in its fourth series) gave amateur esports hopefuls the chance to compete with some of the best talents in the region. I think events like this are definitely giving more people an idea of what it takes to pull together a team and a glimpse at the dedication required to go pro. 

Outside of esports, we continue to see huge amounts of passion and interest in other areas of gaming careers through events like PAX. Everything from the indie developer showcase, through to the incredibly talented and bright personalities you see manning the stands, there is a rich, vibrant community that is clear to see through these events.

With the decline of physical events due to COVID, we’re still seeing online events bring to light the different types of jobs available within games – with Formula 1 having launched the Virtual Grand Prix Series to replace postponed races merging the traditional sports world (and their viewers) with the esports world more closely. 

Overall, the more national exposure gaming continues to get from these events (like the Melbourne Esports Open), the better it is for the industry as awareness, consideration and advocacy for gaming careers grow.

Outside of being able to offer a Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship to everyone, what do you think could be done to make it easier for newcomers to understand where to start when seeking a career in gaming?

When it comes to helping others get started in a gaming career, there is a lot of information and support resources available to those who search for it with community groups, fireside chats, streams and forums full of rich information about getting started on a gaming career.

As well as a lot of incredible industry mentors who are putting in the time to help those around them find their feet in the industry, with Pete Curulli (who has kindly offered to be one of our coaches) being a great example. The community they’ve built around WA esports is phenomenal, and we know they’ve got big plans in the months to come. If there’s something that can be done to make it easier for newcomers, it’s more industry mentor projects and more people pouring passion into esports events, community meetups, indie dev projects and more.

Personally, I think it’s important those in the industry continue to facilitate conversations about how we got started so that the career paths, which may not have been as clear cut when we kick-started our careers, become more clear to those that follow in our path. 

I know COVID-19 can seem neverending at the moment and this has been a weird year for everyone, but where are you hoping to take Lenovo in 2021? Any plans you could share for more projects like the Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship?

We have high-hopes for Legion every year and are always looking for ways to engage our local gaming community through passion projects like the Lenovo Legion Gaming Epprenticeship. However, for the time being, we are laser-focused on 2020.

We’ve just launched the next generation of Lenovo Legion laptops which are available in Australia and New Zealand this month. The 2020 line-up features six new laptops and two new desktops that stay true to the ‘stylish on the outside, savage on the inside’ design of the previous generation, while taking their capabilities to a new level. From thermal efficiencies from the Lenovo Legion Cold front 2.0 to TrueStrike Keyboard and powered by 10th Generation Intel Processors we are really excited to get the new devices that offer a solution for hardcore gaming and everyday computing in the hands of the gaming community.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Ben. These were some super-insightful answers and I think our readers will get a lot out of them.

image credit: Lenovo ANZ

image credit: Lenovo ANZ