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Hear from Stephanie Okoye, a young person who attended the Here East and Create Jobs Insight Day at Sports Interactive.

Behind Football Manager, one of the world’s most popular football video games, are real people working within the fast-growing tech industry. According to a report published by Dell Technologies, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet - so I headed over to Here East Insights Presents: An Evening with Sports Interactive, to discover what jobs are available within the world of technology.

Here East is an amazing hub of digital companies as well as cool meeting spaces, buzzing restaurants and cafés and so much opportunity. It’s a place that is trying reach out to those who live around it, especially young local people like myself, so they’re spreading the word about what Here East has to offer and the benefits of all of its amenities through events that give insight into what happens there.

I grew up playing sports and wanted to be an athlete. However, as I got older, that specific career path became somewhat distant. Despite this, I did think about exploring the business side of the sports industry. Unbeknownst to me, the professional world of sports doesn’t stop at the business side; there are also very common jobs such as marketing, PR, communications, etc. Nonetheless, this event revealed more of the sports tech industry through interactive sports and gaming. We spoke to the employees of Sports Interactive, a digital tech company based in Here East, Stratford.

The E-word

I think my peers and I are quite clued up on the type of career pathways available from the front-end of the sporting world. That said, I don’t believe I can equally say the same for careers in e-sports and e-gaming, as many of us who are fans of sporting games (such as football video games) are on the receiving end of the consoles. 

Last week’s event started with a great networking opportunity to get to know the unfamiliar faces in the room and maybe bump into someone who can tell us more about their job in the building. Then there was a panel talk which included people who took up very different roles within the E-sports industry or were even training up within education for potential roles in the future.

Among them we met Joel Rodrigues, a Staffordshire University student who was planning to join the degree cohort of the brand-new Bachelor’s in E-Sports on the Here East campus – the first of its kind. This solidified the fact that there was an emergence of roles within this relatively new industry, that we had to get in on.

Former HR manager for SEGA, Eithne Metcalfe-Bliss, has been hiring for the tech industry for many years.

“It’s all about your approach, the cover letter is important,” she highlighted.

In fact, the whole panel agreed that the different personalities in their offices and part of their teams are what make the games so great! Different perspectives are always beneficial for the games.

CJ Ramson, a Q&A tester for Sports Interactive, spoke about his unconventional journey into his tech role. Coming from a background in football coaching, his knowledge and passion for football benefitted his role today.

Both he and Kristrun Fridriksdottir, a technical artist at Sports Interactive, mentioned the importance of networking and how you should keep going to events like this - because you never know who you could be speaking to.

Matt Carroll (COO of Sports Interactive) explained that he wanted to know more about employees and their mindsets because they do train up their employee... but on the other hand, 100% on a coding test will get you hired too - so practice your craft!

Next up were some hands-on workshops where we were able to get a taster of what the actual day-to-day is like for some of Sports Interactive’s QA testers. We were keeping an eye out for overdramatic falls, ridiculously expensive or cheap signings, and just looking for bugs or other problems that would make the game feel unrealistic. We also learnt that in order to do this, the QA testers had to play the games a lot, within working hours! Now, that sounds like a cool job.

All in the all, the event was insightful, eye-opening and inspiring, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series from Here East Insights!

Here East Insight Days are delivered in collaboration with Create Jobs, an employability programme for young Londoners.

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