WRITTEN BY: CHRIS ROSATI
I am a 4th year game development student studying at Brock University and Niagara College, and I have had the pleasure of interning and working at Innovate Niagara for the past two summers.
By the time I had to decide on a career path while I was in high school, the only thing I had a sustained interest in was video games. This passion led me to Brock University, where I joined the first cohort of the Game Design program.
It was after two years in the program that I found a group of friends dedicated to the art of creating immersive worlds, fascinating stories and fluid gameplay. After realizing how well this group worked together, we began to dream of starting our own company once we graduated.
The summer between my 2nd year and 3rd year of studies, I learned of an internship opportunity with Innovate Niagara through Brock University’s Centre for Digital Humanities. I applied and was honoured Innovate Niagara offered me the position. This experience became a huge stepping stone towards furthering my career in the tech industry.
Innovate Niagara uses every opportunity they can to give me valuable experience, and exposure to the work they do to help entrepreneurs succeed. I have helped the team plan events, conduct research, and have shadowed them during some of their projects. In doing this, I have developed many soft skills that are crucial for a professional setting such as communication, problem solving, initiation and networking.
In particular, I helped plan one of Innovate Niagara’s Tech Mashups - a tech-focused event where local industry professionals gather to network over some food and drinks. Attending these events as a student has proven to be an awesome way for my classmates and I to meet the local tech entrepreneurs and stay up to date on everything tech in Niagara.
By seeing first-hand the ways Innovate Niagara helps entrepreneurs, I have learned about many of the challenges they face in their entrepreneurial journeys.
I see many of the different companies located in the tech incubator talking to one another and helping each other solve problems. A lot of the time, they end up facing a similar challenge that another company may have just overcome.
Although these things may not seem like they have anything to do with creating games, they have everything to do with how to start and grow towards becoming a successful entrepreneur.
This experience has and will give me more confidence in both my professional career and as an individual. Also, being that some of their clients housed within the tech incubator are game studios, I am able to witness the processes they go through to become successful developers. Word of mouth is strong in the tech industry and having local contacts who will recognize you in a crowd of talent is extremely beneficial.
The amazing team at Innovate Niagara have introduced me to so many different people who have all helped in one way or another to acclimate me into this new environment. I am excited to continue my development as both a student and a colleague; and with the help of everyone at Innovate Niagara, maybe even as an entrepreneur.
Chris Rosati is a Project Coordinator at Innovate Niagara, a not-for-profit private corporation that helps innovators grow their ideas. He is currently a 4th year student at Brock University and Niagara College in the newly developed Game Design program. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.
This article originally appeared in Business Link Niagara.
(Image from "Bad Manors" by Expresso Games)