Disney Interactive’s news last week that it was reducing its team by about 700 employees, many of whom were originally Playdom employees, drives home the message of how important it to is to technology professionals to stay current and active. With the pace of change in technology and gaming, people who were very-sought-after out of college five years ago may find their skill sets are considered dated and that they have few comparable career opportunities. This situation highlights why it is crucial for anyone in the tech or gaming space to focus continually on upgrading their skill sets so they can compete with the next batch of graduates.
Smart is not enough
There are many very intelligent people in our space and you are deluding yourself if you think you will always have great opportunities because you are brilliant. Employers and start-ups looking to build their core management team have many options and once they discard the mediocre, they usually still have many options. Thus, it comes down to how closely your skill set fits with their needs.
The problem many run into is that a great skill when you started your career—or even a few years ago—may not match what the best companies are looking for. In 2005, you may have earned an MBA in Marketing from Harvard Business School or Northwestern’s Kellogg School and became a marketing super star in the game industry. In 2014, however, few exciting companies are hiring marketing rock stars but they are grabbing growth experts. Although you may feel it is a matter of semantics, the differences between growth and marketing (e.g., focus on performance and analytics, integration with design) are crucial to the companies that are hiring. Thus, you will find your great marketing resume is less valuable to the next WhatsApp than a Stanford dropout who knows native advertising.