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Jonathon Wilson

Career Path: Game Designer, Coatsink Software
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I've always had a huge passion for game and it extended far beyond just playing them. That's when I realised these things I love are created by regular people and that it is a potential career path.

What are you doing now?

Since graduation I have worked in the games industry in a varying capacity. In my final year of University I started a internship which concluded shortly after graduation and towards the end of final year I started to work freelance for a company called Secret Sauce who specialised in business development and events for the games industry. This line of work allowed me to meet a lot of developers and form a personal relationship with Coatsink, my current employer, before actually going to work for them.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The location was a huge motivator in choosing Northumbria, the city is great and it has great transport links that connect you up and down the country. Module content also seemed more relevant to what I wanted to achieve at the time.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

As I have said above the modules were very relevant to what I wanted to achieve at the time. We had lectures which were used to prepare us for assignments and then we had seminars to get some practical experience with the theories that had been taught. There were also a number of group projects and in the final year case project I felt I had a good and well-delivered team project.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

During my time on the course we had a mixture of lecturing staff and industry guest lectures, which provided a great mix and gave me greater insight than what I might have had if the University didn't have these guest lecturers. The majority of the staff I encountered throughout the course were extremely helpful and friendly making them really approachable even about issues outside of their subject.

How connected was your course with industry?

During my time on the course it was quite connected with industry and this pushed quite a few networking opportunities our way as well as a special discount to attend Game Horizon, a conference specific to my area of study. We also had a number of different guest lectures from industry who were specialists in their respective fields. I was fortunate to be lectured by game designers and producers.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/give your career an edge?

Northumbria allowed my to attain a degree in the field I was most interested in and provided support along the way. It gave me a solid foundation to build upon and helped prepare me, to some extent, for entering the industry. The course acted as motivation and guidance in this field.

What was the best thing about your course?

The best part about the course was probably being lectured by industry professionals and the final year project. Final year led to me developing a lot of independence as all modules were a lot more hands off. Doing a dissertation was interesting and, at times, an extremely difficult experience that taught me a lot as it allowed me to learn new tools and principles in the area that I wanted to specialise in.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

The skills I developed and refined on the course I use most now are game design, level design, organisation, time management and presentation skills such as interview speaking, etc.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I enjoyed the fact it allowed me to find my focus and the area of the industry I wanted to be in.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria? 

Do it. You might be apprehensive at first but don't be, you will meet a lot of new people, learn a lot and develop a great deal as a person both professionally and personally.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words? 

Challenging, fun and exciting.

For more information about me see:

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