The games industry is a hot career path right now—it’s exciting, it’s new, and a lot of young people love games. Who doesn’t want to be paid well for something they adore?

Okay, so it’s not all rosy. Anyone in the know will tell you that working on games, while it can be lucrative, is very tough—we’re talking ridiculously long hours during crunch time, minimal job security, and a lot of training. That doesn’t mean those dreams are out of reach, of course. First of all, developing games is only one facet of the games industry—there’s also journalism, art, music, PR, and more. I mean, one of my best friends has made a career out of composing orchestral covers of video game music—it’s not what you might think of first, but he’s very happy doing what he loves, and music in games is what he loves best.

I reached out to the industry professionals I know for advice they would offer teens who came to them with questions, and here’s what they had to say.

I asked about voice acting, and Sumalee Montano had this advice:

Finally, my advice: never assume you don’t have the skills. I never learned programming, I’ve never been particularly adept at computers (I’m about average for a millennial, at any rate), and I spent my whole life believing that there was no chance I could be involved with video games beyond playing them. And guess what?

I was dead wrong.

Sure, it’s important to discover the skill sets necessary for the field you want to enter, but it’s just as important to explore different access points. I may never be a skilled programmer, true—but that doesn’t mean I can’t make and write about games to my heart’s content.

Thanks to all those who responded to my inquiries! And one last thing–don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you need it.

Keezy Young

Keezy Young

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.