Military personnel and veterans don't have to limit themselves to video games and tabletop games, and they're becoming part of their culture, too. Gamers -- often called "esports" -- are used by the Pentagon to recruit younger people. In addition, Mitchell Reed, a former U.S. army missile defense officer, says gaming can also assist military veterans after they leave the service.
Reed is the founder and CEO of UKnighted XP, a nonprofit consultancy dedicated to advancing the world through gaming, education and charity. In his view, games teach essential life skills.
"We help individuals leverage their gaming experiences on their resumes," Reed says to Military.com. In turn, we show you how to turn them into measurable, quantifiable skills that can land them better jobs."
These are a few of the ways Reed and UKnightedXP have demonstrated that gaming produces real-world skills:
1. Project management skills are required for some tabletop games.
When playing role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, a single player must act as "the dungeon master," or someone who plans the storyline anticipates characters, conflicts, policies and game procedures. Also, this person keeps track of stats inventories and guides other players toward their objectives. Over a year, a DM may be running a game for as many as 10 players.
In Reed's estimation, you have a competent project manager if you sum up all those skills. I read the deliverable this person created, and he walked his stakeholders through the process and came up with a solid product at the end. He can lead a team, interpret guidelines and apply standards. I wonder why we pay people big salaries to do things that are simpler than dungeon masters."
2. Games help you manage things.
World of Warcraft has one of the largest player bases. Guilds can be created and managed by players, and they can have hundreds of other players.
Guild leaders also have real-life people who collect information about your guild and its teams, analyze it in spreadsheets upcoming research events, then relay it to the team.
He says, "You're leading 400 people.". World of Warcraft has a government, board, and staff who help you manage different classes. You control multiple teams and an entire portfolio of projects. There's no difference between someone who's worked in project management for 20 years and someone who's been playing for 20."
3. Remote workers are adjusting to their new working environment. Players have been here all along.
COVID-19 restrictions have businesses and offices trying to find the sweet spot between in-person and remote work. Simply put, not every employee adapts well to a remote work environment, making it challenging for managers to manage them.
Reed states that there is a growing complaint regarding digital remote environments. It's easy if you are know-how, and guess who's been doing it for decades now: the gaming world."
4. Many people get paid to do what gamers like to do for fun.
Some gamers analyze data to improve their ability to damage a game's boss. These data analysts calculate damage estimates for fun. Almost every analyst gets paid to calculate confidence levels on a spreadsheet, Reed knows as an Air Force, civilian data analyst.
"This is fantastic," Reed says. "These guys are creating spreadsheets and math equations to calculate stuff, and that takes energy, effort, and organization. Companies like Walmart and Tire Factory, you name it, pay good money for that aptitude."
5. You can network while playing games.
A good network and maintaining it for years to come are vital to keeping a job in the civilian world. Through games like these, people connect with people worldwide and form bonds and relationships that transcend time and geography. Networking games are just as important to professional development as attending networking meetings.
Reed says that he meets some great people in the gaming industry. The idea is people should think about who they hang out within their games as much as they do in the actual world. We stay away from toxic people and learn soft skills, like interacting with new people."
6. Employers are interested in new technologies adopted by gamers.
A resume will always mention the technology and applications that one is proficient in. Selling yourself is a crucial part of a potential employee's job search. Technology changes so fast that gamers tend to adopt apps, formats, and technologies as soon as they come out.
Third-party applications allow users to enhance and share their experience, states Reed. Gaming applications like Ventrilo and Discord are huge deals because employers want to know your ability to use technical tools. Can you learn? For gamers, you can."
If veterans want to learn more about translating their gaming skills into real-world skills and experience on their resumes, they can find UKnightedXP on its website and follow its social media links at the bottom of the page.