Career Insights: PlayStation’s Mia Ginaé Watkins ’15 discusses careers in gaming

Did you know it's possible to get your dream job doing what you love most? Gaming! This article provides insight from an Elon alumn working at PlayStation. Find out what she does and how she got there.

This is part of a  series of columns from the Student Professional Development Center offering industry insights and career guidance.

Mia Ginaé Watkins ’15 recently took time out of her busy day at PlayStation to answer some questions about careers in gaming and her experience as a woman and person of color in the industry.

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you did as a video editor and what a typical day was like for you?

During my time as a video editor, I worked on trailers for games on PlayStation’s lineup. I also assisted the animation team in San Diego in the editorial department, editing and synching motion capture and head-mounted camera footage for in-game cinematics. I was working on something different every day; one task would end, and then I would start on another one.

Did you always know that working in gaming was what you wanted to do? What was your strategy for finding your first job in this field?

My career in gaming has been the luckiest wrench in my plans. I planned on going to Los Angeles to jump into the film industry, but I applied for an internship at PlayStation in San Diego and got accepted. I’ve been an avid gamer since I was a kid, so working at PlayStation is crazy awesome. My strategy after graduating from college was to find companies that I really liked and to see if they had any job opportunities.

Other than editors, what are some other types of technology roles in the gaming industry?

There are so many tech roles in the gaming industry, and it depends on what area you want to focus on. If you’re into art and animation, there’s motion capture, tech art, character art, graphic art, and motion graphics to name a few. Into sound? Try looking at being an audio engineer, sound mixer, Foley artist or even a composer. There are a lot of game producer roles, as well as those in research and development, programming and QA.

Only about 20 percent of gaming professionals are women and even less are women of color. Do you notice a lack of diversity in the gaming industry? If so, why do you think that is?

The main important thing to get more women and people of color in gaming — and with any job field — is exposure. We have to do our part in making sure that people in different communities (socioeconomic classes, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, etc.) are exposed to opportunities in the gaming industry, while reaching out to them as much as we can. Talk to students at schools and clubs, or join professional groups like Women Who Code and Women in Technology. I believe that the more we include diverse people in video game making, the more that different people will be able to see themselves in games.

What advice would you give to a woman and/or a person of color considering a career in gaming? What do you wish you had known early in your career that you know now?

Jump in and do it. There is a career in video games for you. If you dream of working in the video game industry, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Work hard and do your research on the roles that you want!

You’ve taken on a new role at Sony PlayStation. Why? When did you realize you wanted to pursue a different career path?

I am currently a Community Outreach Specialist. I realized that I wanted to do my part in helping build the culture of the community internally and externally. I do a lot of work on our team’s internal newsletter, and recently I moderated a panel at GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) about diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry. Through my newsletter, I meet so many amazing people from different departments, and I learn about what they do. On an external front, I want to do my part to give back to others and inspire women and people of color to work in the gaming industry.

This Q&A was compiled by Ross Wade, senior associate director of career services for the School of Communications.