From Player to Professional


I'm going to talk about my involvement with Gamification+ over the past few months and how I went from being an intern to paving my way into a fascinating industry.

Why gamification?

Choosing my electives for my second year of study at the University of Brighton was proving difficult. Until I read the module description for Pete Jenkins' gamification module, which truly captured my imagination.

Gamification: Using Game Design Principles in Business

This module is about using game design principles in business. Gamification is the use of game elements, mechanics and techniques in non-game situations. This module will consider how game design principles can be used effectively in a range of business contexts (e.g. HR, Marketing, Administration).

Available at the University of Brighton

The concept immediately piqued my interest and combined two things which I have been passionate about my whole life: games and business. Previously gamification was captured from perspectives of psychology, games design, and user experience. I was seeing the cumulative entirety of gamification and was all but ready to jump in head first.

I fell into the subject so swiftly that it surprised me that I had gone for so long without hearing of it. We even played board games! (This brought about a similar level of excitement as when I took AS Film Studies at Sixth Form and was able to watch lots of films.) The first few months of the semester were deeply interesting as I began to recognise ways in which gamification was being utilised by companies and ways in which I had been gamifying aspects of my own life.

How I became involved in Gamification+ and Gamification Europe.

Towards the end of the first semester Pete and Vasilis Gkogkidis hosted Gamification Europe 2017 in Brighton. After the conference I received an email from Pete asking the students taking the module whether they had any interest in some part time video subtitling work. I expressed interest in the part time position as it would grant me a greater depth of understanding of gamification and would be an extra source of income during my studies.

My gamification essay which turned into a workshop.

One of the requirements for completion of the module was a 2,000 word essay detailing a proposed gamified solution for a business issue. I decided to address one of the issues that I had come across myself as a student applying for other placements: a lack of awareness of the effects of social media use on personal brand and how this would then be perceived by employers and recruiters. I did the appropriate research and developed the essay with the intention of also developing it as a workshop. 

Pete readily declared a conflict on interest and would not be involved in marking my essay.

I achieved an 87% mark for the essay. Further, I would be receiving the Gamification+ Award for the best use of gamification in a business context.

As I had designed the workshop I wanted to share what I had learnt with other students, to encourage them to be aware on the effects of their online presence and help others to avoid the mistakes I perceived that I had made in my approach in applying for placements. I spoke with my careers office at the university and it was a go! I would be starting my own business.

How I transitioned from part-time to intern.

In June I attended the Gamification Europe Masterclasses and received world-class gamification training. During this event I was informed by Pete and Vasilis that there was an internship position, funded by Santander, that needed to be filled. They needed help with the upcoming Gamification Europe conference. I leaped at the chance.

Over the summer I had a variety of tasks including designing an escape room for Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce; designing and working on a gamification application for the Gamification Europe Conference in November 2018 being active on social; creating website content; writing blog posts and finally just trying to sell a few tickets. It was a busy few months! I had achieved and learned quite a lot over my internship. 

One of the things I'm most proud of so far is my post on the Gamification Europe site which explains the theme behind the conference: From Player to Professional.

From intern to full Time.

Alas! My time at Gamification+ was nearly ending, but Pete and I came to an agreement whereby I would work at Gamification+ as my placement. I would work on various things conference related up until November and begin my 'tour' part time... (well, that's still up for discussion 😉). This way I would get a vast amount of related gamification experience, whilst also having the chance to gather loads of data for the dissertation that I am expecting to do in my third academic year of university.

What's next? or; From Player to Professional.

Now, this bit I admit I'm still working on. I'm only a year in to the industry, and I come from a different background then most (not having a background in psychology or game design for example) but I plan to make a massive impact. I'm going to help the conference to be a smashing success and then I'm going to focus on my Personal Brand workshop.

So that's it, there's my story. I'm very glad to be apart of this amazing team and I'm excited to mark my place as a gamification professional. If you're interested in hearing more about my own journey from Player to Professional, then the best places to follow me for Gamification related news and events are on Twitter and LinkedIn which you can find here:

LinkedIn: @totallykira
Twitter: @totally_kira

Also, I'm aiming on getting a website, where I will be detailing student life, my trials in gamification and sharing my ideas about personal brand.

I hope to see you around 😎.

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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