Gaming and Education: Becoming A Community Manager

January 22, 2012 — by Jeshe Wiggins29



Gaming and Education: Becoming A Community Manager

January 22, 2012 — by Jeshe Wiggins29

I’m a pretty avid gamer and recently I was thinking about what I wanted to do as a career. I knew I wanted something where I could talk to people and utilize my communications skills. I am also so enamored with gaming, that it’s a huge part of my life. What I wanted was something that would combine both of these and give me my ultimate career:

Passion For Gaming

That being said, there’s a new game that is coming out (hopefully this year) and I became aware of community management through this game. The game’s community managers were super friendly, especially one of them who gave me a run down on what I would have to do to in order to get into community management for gaming. I figured this would be the way into the Gaming Industry for me since I am not very interested in programming or art or anything else that goes along with making a video game (although I did consider lore writing, but I’m not sure I’d be good at that either). I thought about my skills and my passions and I read over what it takes to be a Community Manager from the one at the game company I contacted, and I decided to pursue this career.

Pursuit Of Education

Around the same time as this, I had just started at a university (coming from a community college), and one of the classes I had to take was an introduction to my major, which is Communications. By the end of that class, I had to pick a concentration (which is different from a minor). My school offers a lot of concentrations so I was having difficulty picking one so I went to the professor and talked to him about what I was interested in doing. I explained to him about what it takes to be a Community Manager and he suggested that I pick the Journalism and Media Studies concentration that my school offered. This was actually last semester, so while I have picked the concentration, I haven’t actually taken any classes related to it yet. As for what classes I hope to take to, well I think I’m going to focus more on the media studies part of it rather than the journalism. The school I am going to doesn’t offer a whole lot in the area, but a few things that look interesting to me are Social Impact of Mass Media, Free Speech and Responsibility, and they have a workshop for the school paper which I think could be useful in general, if only to get an idea of the process of how a media outlet works. My school also offers a mass media internship, which I am planning on looking into.

Plan For The Future

As for what classes I think schools should provide, well I think the Social Impact of Mass Media class is a really good one and I think all schools should offer that, especially now with social media being so hugely integrated in daily life. I also think there should be some sort of ethics class, or a class that teaches professionalism in regards to communicating on the Internet. Lately there have been some instances of people in customer service situations that have lost their cool and gone off on the customer. I know community managers are more than just customer service representatives, but they still interact a lot with customers and keeping that professionalism is very important since it reflects on your company and your product. The anonymity of the Internet makes it very tempting to be rude to people, but I think some people forget that even if the person doesn’t know who you are, they still know the product attached to you and they will associate that bad experience with your product. Some kind of class like Internet Communication would be beneficial (I actually talked to a Community Manager, Greg Lexiphanic, who has a degree in this. He actually found me on Twitter and I started following him. We chatted for a little bit about it and he said that he got the degree from a school in Austrailia and pointed me in the direction of where I might also pursue such a degree). Other than that, I think having other skills that pertain to your chosen field are also a plus. I’ve seen that a lot of employers are looking for more employees who can do more than just what they studied as their major. Schools have also been noticing this too and have started to focus on interdisciplinary studies. From my understanding, community managers do a lot of this already (correct me if I’m wrong, though. I’m still rather new to the profession), but it wouldn’t hurt to learn something related to your field. I always feel like it never hurts to learn a new skill or two, you never know when you might need it.

That about wraps it up. Please, feel free to comment, offer advice or provide any additional feedback to help further my career goals. I am eager to learn more about this wonderful career and I hope that someday I can be a really wonderful Community Manager. Thank you for your time.

Jeshe Wiggins

I'm a communications major studying at California State University Monterey Bay. My career goal is to become a Community Manager for a video game company.

Latest posts by Jeshe Wiggins (see all)

  • Jeshe- Your passion is an inspiration to us! I think some gaming experts and community managers alike may have some good advice and positive feedback for you- And you know I’m always here to help ; ) You are deserving and takes things well! You’ve our support ; D Keep on pushin’ – you’ve the drive, passion, motivation and tools to move forward in your career goals! I encourage everyone who reads this or who is listening to comment and give feedback.

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @meganlarsen4 Thanks Megan! I appreciate your help and support. It means a lot to me.

      • @Jeshe Wiggins You’re welcome Jeshe. I know it means a lot to you : ) I can see/feel it! It’s nice to see you’ve a support system already. It’s not often people find what they love to do early in life…you’re where you need to be to get where you want to go.

  • RyanOlsen

    Hey Jeshe – I’m a community manager for a gaming company. Feel free to contact me at anytime if you ever have any questions about being a gaming CM, curious about different paths for CMs in gaming or just want to talk games! The fastest way to get my attention is on Twitter (@Ryan_Olsen)

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @RyanOlsen Thank you! I have actually started following you. I’m @moosefaces 🙂 I will definitely pick your brain about things and I’m always up for discussing games!

      • @Jeshe Wiggins @RyanOlsen@moosefaces You can also refer the below website for online or campus-based education for FREE!!: Free Education Aid has been providing helpful information on colleges in usa, universities in usa, community colleges in usa, career schools, scholarships, master degrees, bachelors degrees, online certificates programs, free online education and free education help. Free Online Educationhttp://www.freeeducationaid.comCall us At: +1 352-410-8786Email: Follow

    • @RyanOlsen Ryan, What path did you take to becoming a CM, in and out of gaming if thats relevent. Thanks

      – Larry J

  • I went with a Public Relations focus in my Comm path and feel that it has been extremely beneficial. While I’ve landed a CM job for a local TV station (market 60 – Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL), I really want to get into the video game industry as well. While I’m always keeping an ear to the ground (usually though CMs on Twitter) and putting my name out there, I’m mainly looking at putting in a couple years here for the experience then really going to pursue the game scene hard. Outside of that, I’d recommend some customer service experience, along with starting some sort of gaming blog. It’s super easy to start one, and try to implement your own growth and engagement plans – great portfolio material.

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @mattmyersjr Thanks for the feedback. I have actually started a gaming blog and have contributed to an already established blog. Here’s my personal blog, if you want to look at it and give me feedback: And here’s the article I wrote for the blog that’s already established: If anyone else wants to give me feedback, I welcome you to. Also, the second one is edited by someone other than myself, in case it seems slightly different.

      I have also had customer service in terms of working at Starbucks for 8 months. I know it’s not really a long time, but I learned a LOT from that experience. I gained more of a appreciation for good customer service and found out what worked and what didn’t work.

  • Hey Jeshe – I hope I’m not being presumptuous in assuming that the community manager you mentioned in the first part of your post was me. 🙂 If so: I’m glad that I was of assistance.

    If not: please feel free to contact me (Twitter is a good place to start: @Brinstar) and I would love to share my thoughts and help out.

    Above all, don’t give up and start building your community management experience right now by volunteering or participating in fan communities. 🙂

  • Hey Jeshe – I hope I’m not being presumptuous in assuming that the community manager you mentioned in the first part of your post was me. 🙂 If so: I’m glad that I was of assistance.

    If not: please feel free to contact me (Twitter is a good place to start: @Brinstar) and I would love to share my thoughts and help out.

    Above all, don’t give up and start building your community management experience right now by volunteering or participating in fan communities. 🙂

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @brinstar Hey Regina, not at all 🙂 You are absolutely the person I was referring to. Thank you! I am working on it and it’s going pretty well so far 🙂

    • @brinstar Hi Regina, I am wondering what path you took to becoming a CM both in and out of gaming if its relelvent. Thanks!

      Larry J.

      • @larboz I’ve only ever been a community manager in the videogame industry and I have been a community manager for 5 years this year. I started as a games blogger, writing on my own personal blog and interacting with a bunch of others in the games blogosphere about 6 or 7 years ago. As I became more well known as a writer, my blog was noticed by the right people who encouraged me to apply for a community management position. That’s how I got my foot in the door of the games industry. Meanwhile, I continued to maintain all my friendships with bloggers, many of whom continued to progress in their careers in the games industry. I made new friends and contacts and kept in touch with them, while continuing to blog. I attribute obtaining my current job through blogging about a specific videogame. Again, I was noticed by the right people at the publisher of this videogame. They were familiar with my writing style over the years and knew that I was knowledgeable about the game they make and the content I wrote as a fan. They also knew that I was a professional community manager by that time, and we had common contacts through blogging. When a community management opportunity emerged, they proactively reached out to me. To make a long story short: I started out as a fan who wrote content that people found valuable, noteworthy, and/or interesting. They remembered me and reached out to me when they had and opportunity for which I might be a good fit. My writing played a big role in obtaining both of my jobs as a community manager in the videogame industry, which makes a lot of sense as writing (communicating through the written word) is a big part of community management.

        • @brinstar Hey, I just wanted to say thank you VERY much for this comment. I think its a great example for those that are looking to get into a CM job, and not necessarily just for gaming. Thanks!

  • Leah Marsden

    I’m working as a community manager right out of college, but I’m one of the lucky ones. It seems that very few colleges, especially a liberal arts college that I attended, have adequate programs to get you well-versed and ready for community management. I was trained on the job at Desert Rose Design drdmarketing but many of my friends haven’t had the same chances. It seems even a Marketing degree from this year is outdated these days! Great post, thanks!

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @Leah Marsden I agree. I think it has to do with the fact that it’s not a very well-known career. I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it’s definitely not well known. I think I’m the only one of my friends that really knows anything about it. There are also all kinds of assumptions about it as well.

      I saw a few today that really made me shake my head, but then I realized how little information there is out there about it for the general person. Sure, if you want to know more about it, there’s tons of resources (this website is a good example). However, if you are the average person, your only knowledge of a CM might be from your interaction with one on a forum.

      I believe this is a viable career and one really worth pursuing and I wish there were more resources in schools to help people realize this as well. I think the closest thing my school has is the Journalism and Media Studies concentration (I think they have a minor in this as well which I might pursue). I think I might pursue this a little more and see if there are any other classes I could take as well, such as marketing or PR.

      You’re welcome! Thanks for the comment.

    • @Leah Marsdendrdmarketing Hi Leah! Thank you for sharing with us! I’ve a similar story, whereas I was lucky enough to land a Community Manager position before I even knew what I was getting myself into! While the Community Manager position continues to blossom, it seems as thought very few college’s know where to begin teaching…You’re pretty lucky to have such a great team at Desert Rose Design 🙂 If you’re near Nichole, please tell her I said hi! Nichole was in touch with me the first day I landed this gig! Rock on. Please email me: I’d love to chit chat more.

  • ErinMMarguerite

    Hi Jeshe! Thanks for sharing this 🙂 I agree with @mattmyersjr , a public relations concentration is a great way to build a foundation for your future Community Management career. The lessons I learned in my many PR classes still lend themselves to my daily work as a CMGR. If your school doesn’t offer PR studies, building relationships with current CMGRs and a trip to your local library will arguably provide the same benefits 🙂 You’re certainly on the right track with the MyCMGR Community! Bundles of luck moving forward, Jeshe!

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @ErinMMarguerite @mattmyersjr Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely look into finding some classes or other information about PR 🙂 It sounds like it is definitely useful for being a CMGR. Thanks again!

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  • Jeshe,

    Great article, It looks like you have your goals pretty well lined up. Keep it up!

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @larboz Thanks! I appreciate your feedback!

  • Richym59

    This has been an extremely interesting article for me Jeshe, thanks for sharing it!

    I’m in a very similar mind frame, the biggest thing for me is that fact that I left school over six years ago and went down a completely unrelated path for my career. I had no idea what I wanted to do after school and I guess ended up just ‘falling’ into the job I am in now. I went to college and completed an apprenticship and got a skilled trade and went into work with it.

    After college however I joined a very small community and I quickly became a moderator, then head moderator and in turn ‘Community Manager’ for a community that is passionate about video games and motorsport.

    That was four years ago and I now want to take what I do as a hobby and in my spare time and turn it into a real job. I love doing it, and after the amount of time and effort I have put into it I feel like it is something that I would be very good at doing for a real company.

    I have always played videos games and of course I always had dreams of working in the industry, but I was never particularly good at porogramming or art at school, so I never really thought it would happen. I now know that I can be a part of the industry in a way that helps people and it is something I have always enjoyed about being a CM in our community. I like to get people interested in video games and online racing and I love to see a community being so open and welcoming and just enjoying being with each other.

    I have sent out applications to many companies and have been turned down from them all. I am not sure what the reasons are, but I think my major downfall is that I have no ‘real’ experience and I have no education background in a relevant subject. I have been for one interview and I was told that my current work was a bit of a turn off for them.

    I guess my biggest question to anyone who is a CM at a video game company is the same as Jeshe. How did you get started and how did you get yourself noticed? I live in the UK and there are hardly any jobs or companies on the go here. How realistic would it be for me to apply for a job in the US when I currently live and work in the UK?

    Also, is it possible to become a moderator on a video game forum without being an active member? I would happily offer my services and volunteer for it to help me gain some ‘real’ experience but I fear I would have to spend a good year or so gaining some background on in the current forum.

    Thanks 😀

    • @Richym59 Hi Richy,

      I love your post, I had a few thoughts for you. If you r looking for UK posts, I would either follow the #CMGR hashtag or sueontheweb She often posts different CM positions and several are in the UK.

      As an “inbetweener” myself I also wonder about the ways to get experience. However, while I have no doubt that my current position may not help me get the position, getting involved .. somewhere will help. Voulenteer. There is part time CM work.

      A viscous cycle that I would like to know the answer to is that many positions are looking for “Agency Experience” but the problem is that even the agencies require that. Seems like a pretty strange situation and might (over here at least) be representative of the economy.

      The route that you mention about being a Mod on a video game forum seems like it would be a good route. but perhaps a different mindset behind it. Instead of being brought aboard, look at it as getting to know the members of that particular forum. Most of the Video game sites I have been at are pretty unique. Harmonix has a bunch of music geeks and they, for the most part are pretty well behaved. Bungie, on the other hand, well, don’t feed the trolls, which I am pretty sure outnumber the player base. 🙂

      I have also learned recently about places like konaskorner He does a lot of broadcasting and such for the game companies. What I thought was interesting is that he works in parallel with them. But don’t forget to look at the side roads too.

      Good luck in your searches and please ask some questions of the CM’s in the comments. you can get a lot of good information that way!

    • Jeshe Wiggins

      @Richym59 I’m actually not a CM yet hehe. But thanks for thinking of me like that 🙂

      As for how I’m trying to get noticed, right now, I’m trying to get some writing jobs and I’m trying to get into moderating in this one forum I am pretty active in. I post articles for websites that get pretty good coverage.

      Quite possibly, but most of the time a lot of forums want you to be an active poster and know the ins and outs of the forums, especially the smaller ones. I think some of the bigger ones do just want moderators, but not entirely sure on that. I would ask around though 🙂

      Good luck and thanks for the comment 🙂

    • @Richym59 In terms of applying to jobs in the US, it’s challenging to obtain a work visa through a US company who seeks to hire you. The more unique your skills, the easier it is. Companies have to apply for work visas on behalf of their prospective employees, and there are only so many of those issued per year by the US government. The process is time-consuming and may come at some cost to the company, (i.e. if they use an immigration lawyer to apply for the visa) so the hiring company has to really want you and you have to have very unique skills–unique enough that the company has a difficult time finding a US citizen to fill that position. If the company really wants you, then they will try as hard as they can to get you. But you do need to have unique skills for them to even consider this. If you speak a non-English language fluently or have experience with translation or interpretation, that would be a huge asset. If you work for a company that has a European branch, you can get an intra-company visa transfer, which is slightly easier to get–but this is assuming you’d already be working for a company that can transfer you to their US office.

      You could work as a remote or outsourced moderator for a company that is contracted by videogame companies to staff their forums. A lot of videogame companies do this. Community moderation companies typically have remote employees who work from home either full time or part time. Some companies that I know videogame companies use for front line moderaton include TwoPi, Metaverse Mod Squad, and Alchemic Dream, so you might want to look into those places to see if they are hiring. Some of these companies even have community managers on staff–not just frontline moderators. Again, if you are fluent in a language other than English, this is a huge asset because these community moderation companies often need bilingual or trilingual staff for their clients.

      In terms of being a moderator for a fan-run videogame forum, to be honest, it is best to be a part of that community and understand the culture if you want to mod for them. Moderators are typically promoted to that status because they’ve proven themselves to be mature, helpful, and positive contributors to that community. They have a known track record. A fan community may not trust or respect a moderator’s authority if they are an “outsider” and are not familiar with that community’s culture, in-jokes, good/bad members, etc. Yes, it takes time, but it takes time for a fan community to trust fellow members enough to give that person power (i.e. being able to restrict posting privileges) and authority over them.

    • jpkit

      @Richym59 There are plenty of game studios in the UK! Electronic Arts (a major international studio) has a building in Surrey, and I’ve been talking with @UbiReflections (a Ubisoft subsidiary) which is also based in the UK, albeit a bit more northerly, I think. (I actually have the opposite problem: having gone to postgrad school in the UK, I’m in the US now, and even though I want to go back to the UK or Europe I’m facing difficulty as I am an American citizen).

      But while you’re in the UK, take advantage! Do a little research and find some game studios you may be interested in, explain your situation, and ask to talk to someone from their studio – not as a job interview, but simply to get more information. How did they get their jobs? What skills do they use on the job? That will help immensely and it is something I can’t recommend enough!

  • CurtisSchlaufman

    Hi Jeshe! 
    You may be interested in the Lynx2Games Campus Ambassador program starting in the Spring semester. You’ll get a lot of community management experience promoting our brand on your individual campus. Check out the link to view the description and feel free to send me an email if you’re interested!
 or send resume to Feel free to pass along anyone who you may think is interested as well.
    Curtis Schlaufman
    Community Engagement Specialist