How can computer games help develop new skills?
Computer games are useful not only for leisure and relaxation. You will be surprised to learn that they also increase your employability. Even before COVID-19, there was talk of balancing between work and personal life – how to maintain productivity and find time for games/entertainment?. Lockdown has combined both aspects of life, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing: many of the skills you’ve most likely acquired while playing have been shown to improve your work performance as well. This also applies to computer games.
Different genres of computer games help players develop soft skills that are intensively sought after in the market. Team multiplayer computer games allow people to develop collaboration, communication and leadership skills, while strategic ones improve problem-solving and critical thinking.
Developed critical thinking and creativity
Puzzles, puzzles, quizzes and computer games such as Pac-Man, StarCraft, Civilization, racing computer games World of Warcraft and Mario Kart develop decision-making, planning, concentration and perseverance. Problem solving is at the heart of computer games that require gamers to develop methods (weighing the pros and cons of different tactics) on how to go to the next level. They help to improve the ability to draw conclusions and systematically think about a solution that develops the critical thinking skills of those who play. With these skills, you could potentially apply them to working as production and machinery operators, quality control technicians, warehouse and construction workers.
Those who play computer games such as Open World Minecraft, Legend of Zelda or The Elder Scrolls, where you can wander freely, usually have better visual perception and creativity skills. Players are more easily able to imagine the movement of objects in space, which is an important competence in the positions of science and engineering. These skills are especially useful for electrical engineers, graphic designers and even cooks.
Enthusiasts of computer games “Just Dance”, “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band” develop perseverance and stubbornness in practice, because these games require time, trial, coordination. It is these stages of learning, the desire to grow and adapt your skill set that will be most valuable for employers or working in areas such as sales, digital marketing.
Enhanced collaboration and communication skills
Online computer games of multiplayer or even mass roles affect the social skills of the individual. The pandemic period only accelerated the spread of these games, because for many it was a way to meet (albeit virtually) with friends and keep in touch. Such action-adventure and multiplayer role-playing computer games as World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed, Monster Hunter or Pokemon are often based on collaboration and competition in a team. To win, you need to work together with other players, strengthening your ability to collaborate remotely.
Sports and racing team computer games Call of Duty, FIFA, Rocket League or Mario Kart Games players can also learn how to effectively provide feedback. In multiplayer games, your communication skills are also trained. In a virtual environment, you can try and learn different styles of communication, and maybe even languages. For example, Second Life users who create parallel personalities for the online world while playing have shown a better ability to customize their conversation style according to the situation. These skills are perfect for those in the positions of call center representatives, administrative assistants, financial analysts and customer service managers.
According to Eigilė Gedvilaitė, selection specialist of Manpower’s division in Lithuania, it is not yet a popular practice in Lithuania to evaluate candidates’ experience in computer games. “I think this is also influenced by the stereotypical thinking opinion that those who promote computer games do not create any added value for the labour market through their activities. A completely different trend is visible in the Scandinavian countries. For example, a former colleague, who has established herself in the Danish IT market, said that in the first few job interviews, the then potential employers purposefully inquired about the computer games she played in her free time and what benefits she considered to be. It was strange at the time, but now finding links (especially in the IT field) between computer games and the candidate’s personal profile has become a fairly common practice.”
Today’s job market is unpredictable. We know that skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving are needed now more than ever. So the next time you or your children like a quality computer game, do not think that this is a wasted time. Perhaps it is an investment in shaping the skills of the future.