Gaining the Skills You Need to Pursue Your Geek Passions
If superheroes really existed, they would likely have to utilize their skills in some less exciting real-world scenarios on a regular basis. What about the other way around, though? Is it possible for a humdrum gamer, a homebody movie buff, or a television junky to turn their passions into superpowers?
If you’re considering turning your deepest entertainment interests into a monetized career, here are a few ways that you can go about gaining the skills you need to pursue those geek passions.
Pick a Focus
It all starts with choosing where to focus your efforts. If you’re a fan of marvel comic books, for instance, you probably enjoy the cinematic adaptation as well. If you play video games, you may like storytelling, messing with the latest tech, or graphic design.
One way or another, your geeky passions are likely spread out across a few different areas. So start by narrowing the playing field by asking yourself a few questions, such as:
- What fields are you interested in the most?
- Are you okay with monetizing this passion or would it ruin the enjoyment?
- Is there any financial incentive to pursue a career in this industry?
- How stiff will the competition be?
Once you’ve chosen your focus, you can make sure you have the best gear, look for peers to help you sharpen your skills, and practice, practice, practice!
Of course, everything in the entertainment industry requires a solid set of hard skills. Many of these are technical in nature — thanks in large part to the revolutionizing effect that technology has had on nearly every industry — while others focus on the ability to operate in the modern workspace.
As a quick aside, this article is focused on general skills that can help you crack into an industry you admire. However, it won’t address the specific (incredibly diverse) skills needed for each industry. For instance, if you want to create video games, you obviously will need to learn how to write code. If you want to talk about Marvel movies, you’ll need to learn how to write like a journalist, and so on. The skills discussed here will help you stand out among a crowd of technically qualified candidates.
Keep up with the latest tech
While it’s important to take the time to learn the skills needed within your desired profession, it’s also important to stay up to date with those skills. These days a coding program, operating system, or gaming console becomes obsolete in a matter of months or years. One minute a printer is used for ink and paper and the next you’re printing organs with it. All of this is to say that you must make sure to make an effort to stay up to date with the latest tech in order to help you stand out as a knowledgeable candidate.
You can do this by furthering your education, such as taking Photoshop classes or earning coding certifications, but you can also get creative. For instance, you can keep your computer skills sharp by making a mod of a game you like. Any recruiter worth their salt will be able to use a sample of this nature as much as anything else in order to judge your skills.
Round out your remote working skills
Along with keeping up with industry-related stuff, you’ll want to associate yourself with the various hard-skill-based tools of the modern workforce. For instance, most employers allow at least a certain degree of remote work flexibility. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to be comfortable with remote work tools like Google Suite, workflow apps like Trello, video conferencing software like Zoom, and so on.
Having a familiarity with these basic tools can provide that minor difference that gives you a confidence boost and helps you stand out from the competition.
Along with the hard skills, you’re going to want to work on your soft skills. The ability to use soft skills is a vital part of every professional career. Some of the main ones to focus on include:
- Interpersonal skills.
- Time management.
- The ability to take constructive criticism.
- Knowledge of the industry and its history.
- Communication skills.
Between automation and an increasingly specialized workforce, employers in the entertainment industry can often have their pick of the litter when it comes to who they hire. However, if you can demonstrate a solid toolkit of soft skills to come along with your passion and technical proficiency, you’ll be able to show an employer that you’ll be easy to work with, you’re a team player, and you’re a good communicator.
Always Have Fun
Finally, remember to always have fun. This isn’t an empty platitude simply meant to wrap things up. Seriously — have fun. If you’re going to pursue your passions, make sure to slow down and enjoy the experience whenever you can.
Also, be aware that there will be moments when you want to pull your hair out, you feel discouraged, or you just plain want to give up. That’s normal. However, if you strive to maintain a positive attitude throughout your career shift, you’ll be able to keep that flame alive as you monetize your passions and pursue the career of your dreams.