Recently Outplay sponsored Code Coven’s “Summer Internship Program”. The mission of Code Coven is to support underrepresented minorities and people of colour and this program was a virtual 11-week event that supported multiple small diverse teams as they developed a project. In addition to covering the costs of a candidate to complete the program, Outplay also provided industry mentors for support, advice, and guidance.
Recently we caught up with 2 of the Outplay mentors Keeley Bunting, Senior Designer, and Rachel Woods, Data Analyst to find out more about their mentoring experience:
What were you hoping to get out of the mentoring commitment?
I’ve had some excellent mentors in the past and have also been lucky enough to able to be a mentor before, it can be a very rewarding experience, and this time was no exception.
I went into the mentoring commitment with very few expectations – this was my first time doing something like this and I was largely used to more internal training work for Outplayers! I was mostly just excited to share my knowledge and experience with individuals that were keen to get advice and feedback on their projects.
What value and impact do you think the mentoring had on both yourself and those you mentored?
For me, it is always exciting to meet and talk to future leaders. The energy and enthusiasm are infectious.
For my mentee, I hope that having an additional perspective at this stage of their professional journey was helpful.
I like to think that, coming from a less ‘typical’ industry domain, I helped the mentees have a slightly different perspective on elements of their projects and how to think further ahead than just the project deadline itself.
For myself, providing mentoring to the students was a wonderful way to reinforce the knowledge I have about the industry, providing a real boost to my confidence! Seeing the passion and enthusiasm from my mentees too, and how they really wanted to hear what I had to say and find out more about my work and how they can apply it in their own work was also incredibly rewarding for me.
What were your main takeaways from the experience?
Making opportunities widely available, to receive mentorship is an essential aspect of supporting diversity within the games industry.
One of the biggest things I have learned from this experience is just how badly the pandemic had affected students – many of those that were part of this had work experience and internships canceled as a result. With such a competitive industry, getting experience is so essential and I am glad that Code Coven has provided an alternative route for these individuals.
I’ve also learned that, even though I come from a different area of the industry compared to a lot of mentors, that doesn’t mean the knowledge and experience I have isn’t useful! Working with data and data viz means I have some really unique guidance that I can give out, from encouraging people to consider what data they’d like to track early on (and how they can work this code-side) to how to ensure the game is accommodating to all individuals, for example through discussions on colour theory and how it might affect players with sight issues.
Would you have any advice for anyone looking to get into mentoring?
Go for it! Mentoring is not just for people who are far along in their career. People of all experience levels have valuable insights that are worth sharing.
I think the main thing anyone needs to consider initially is if they have the time to commit to mentoring. At the end of the day, these are individuals that turn to you for advice and guidance and if you cannot be available to them then perhaps this is not the right time.
That being said, working with larger parties such as Code Coven meant that I was able to select how much commitment I wanted over the period of the course. Some mentors were working with the students every week, whilst some just helped with a single session. This flexibility was really helpful, especially as this was the first time I’d done any sort of mentoring and I didn’t fully know what to expect, and there wasn’t a ton of pressure on me to commit to several hours a week
Anything else you’d like to add?
A big thank you to Code Coven for organizing the summer program, Outplay for being a sponsor, and my mentee for being all-around amazing!
In this experience, I would have loved more opportunities to socialise with the other mentors and mentees – understandably difficult when everything is virtual! I feel like if I’d been able to chat with the others in a more casual setting than during workshops and more formal meetings, there would have been the chance to get to know the others more, share different ideas and experience, and make the whole experience feel more relaxed and casual.
Looking for a career in the Gaming Industry? We would love to hear from you! You can apply directly at https://www.outplay.com/outplay-out-there/ and learn more about life at Outplay Entertainment.