We spent 5 minutes with Lisy Kane, getting the lowdown on her stellar career which includes; producing the 2015 game ‘Armello’ with League of Geeks, and co-founding the education startup Girl Geek Academy for women that want to make a start in the tech industry.
On top of all that she’s been listed in the Forbes 2017 30 Under 30 list. That means she’s one of only 30 influential achievers under 30 years old in the games industry, and that’s recognition that’s hard to come by.
So, what can Lisy teach us about making your mark in tech and gaming?
How did you decide on your career?
It actually took me a while to figure out what I wanted to study.
I finished high school and immediately joined the workforce because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career.
I thought it was business, so I started a business diploma, then I thought it was music, so I started a music and film degree, but none of that made me excited. During that time I was always playing video games.
I didn’t realise that you could have a career in games until I dropped out of university for a second time, I found out you could study a degree in game design and my world was flipped upside down.
After graduating I moved to Melbourne in search of a career in games as there were a lot more opportunities here than in Brisbane.
What kind of challenges have you faced, and what support have you found to help you through?
The biggest challenge for me was understanding that the video game industry is a place that I can work.
When you grow up in Australia, especially as a young woman, having a career goal of ‘game producer’ isn’t something that was on my radar. I will always count myself as very fortunate that my pathway into the games industry was so welcoming. The most surprising thing to me was the strong sense of community within the Australian gaming industry.
Other than problem-solving, what hard & soft skills can help in a CS career?
Communication skills and understanding how best to work with a team are the most important soft skills for a CS career.
How to best communicate with your colleagues will make for a much more enjoyable and effective time at work.
You don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but understanding your own communication style against how others want to be communicated with is a powerful skill!
Specifically for game development having broad set of hard skills, or being a “t-shaped” is beneficial for the creative problem solving we’re faced with. While I don’t use my music skills every day, it’s definitely come up and assisted with problems we’ve faced at my job.
What skills and qualifications did you bring into your role, and what additional skills have you learned on the job?
I studied a double degree in PR and game design.
Previous to this, I was working as an assistant within a software development team so got an incredible amount of experience before even graduating.
While the degree taught me the nuts and bolts of what game design is, the practical elements of internships and my full-time work as a personal assistant really gave me the skill set needed for production.
It didn’t feel like it at the time, but even though it wasn’t in games, I was honing my organisational, business acumen and strategic thinking skills!
The biggest thing I had to learn was understanding prioritisation and self-discipline with my own workload. Learning to ask for help and pipe up when you’re struggling is a tough thing to do, especially early on in your career.
– Ben Skuse
“I found out you could study a degree in game design and my world was flipped upside down.”
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.