A recent survey from HBCU Connect, commissioned by Microsoft, determined that out of 200 respondents, approximately 95% of college students and alumni from HBCUs across the country shared that they have interest in a career in the gaming industry, with 34% of respondents stating that they were specifically interested in Program Management roles, 24% interested in Engineering roles and 18% interested in Gaming Development roles. This week marks National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week in the United States, which occurs annually in September, an initiative led by the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to recognize these institutions’ contributions to the U.S and to commemorate HBCUs’ impact on American Culture.
Gaming is a leading form of entertainment, but to date – only 2% of professionals in the video game industry are Black compared with 13% of the U.S. population. In partnership with members of the Black Communities at Xbox, Xbox is looking to uplevel that statistic and close this gap by promoting pipelines for Black people and youth across the gaming industry. Introducing: Project Amplify – a video series that aims to magnify Black voices within Xbox to inspire, educate and motivate youth across the U.S. to aspire towards careers in the gaming industry through real-life storytelling from Black leaders and employees across the Xbox ecosystem.
Project Amplify features fourteen Black employees from across Xbox as they each share advice, insights into their current roles, and highlights from their time within the gaming industry. This video series is meant to educate youth on the diversity of roles within the gaming industry, while highlighting some of the Black people who are working in those roles, daily. On behalf of the Black Communities at Xbox, co-leads shared their personal stories in the video series, of their journey into the gaming industry inclusive of:
- “Growing up I didn’t have much of a vision for what my career would be. I decided to go to college because I thought it was a way to ‘get a good job’ and escape poverty, but even as a freshman Computer Science major, I still had a very shallow knowledge of the opportunities that the tech industry presented me. Throughout my college experience and with internships, I learned more about how big the world is – how many companies, careers, and pathways exist for you to find or create a job that you love. I want more people to know that they have options, nothing is impossible or out of reach for them and encourage those to start chasing their passions early.” – Q Muhaimin, Product Manager
- “In my early years I was more focused on what not to do versus what I could be. It wasn’t until my adult years that I learned to leverage my passion for games into a career. I am now incredibly thankful to be celebrating 10+ years in my dream career and I hope Project Amplify inspires people to dream and take action toward their own goals. As my coaches & mentors would say, “play to win instead of playing to not lose.” – James Lewis, Senior Business Development Manager
To launch this initiative, Xbox is partnering with the 2022 Revolt Summit x AT&T for a 2-day event (September 24-25) to reach students and gaming enthusiasts through on-site industry panels and networking opportunities with members of the Black Communities at Xbox.
For additional resources:
Learn programming fundamentals and C# with the following tutorials:
- Introduction to C#: Written tutorial with sample projects that takes you from “hello world”, to numbers, loops, some basic data structures, and OOP concepts like inheritance.
- C# 101: A video series along the same lines as the written tutorial.
Once comfortable with fundamentals and C#, try Unity courses:
- First going through Getting Started with Unity to get comfortable with the Editor and some basic aspects of Unity
- Then going through Create with Code to get more hands on with coding solutions in Unity
Download and learn fundamentals of Unreal Engine with tutorials:
- Download – Unreal Engine: Select the “Creators License” option
- Unreal Online Learning – Unreal Engine: A free learning platform that offers hands-on video courses and guided learning paths.
Learn about game design:
Some game designers at Xbox Game Studios consider these two GDC (Game Developers Conference) presentations very informative and inspiring if you are into game design.
Learn about the game development process:
Narrative Tools to get started with:
- Twine: an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories
Art Tools to get started with:
- GIMP or Krita are great free resources to get started learning how to use textures
- Get started with 3D Modeling by using Blender