Niamh Fitzgerald’s job as a game developer combines her love of art and technology
At school, Niamh Fitzgerald says her interests were an “unusual split” between art, maths and science, and while she enjoyed playing computer games (her all-time fave is Final Fantasy VII) the idea of making them herself one day, “didn’t cross my mind”.
Niamh signed up for a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science), at the University of Otago because she liked the look of their graphics department, and thought graphics programming might be a good way to combine her interests.
“I found I enjoyed how it tapped into the problem-solving part of my brain,” she says. After graduating, Niamh spent a few years working in tech but she realised she wanted to explore the games industry.
Niamh went back to uni to do a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Technologies at Media Design School, which focussed on game art and design. Fast forward to the present and Niamh is now working as Development Director/Chief Operating Officer (COO) at a New Zealand games studio called Dinosaur Polo Club. She was the lead designer on their most recent game called Mini Motorways – a strategy simulation game about designing the roads of cities around the world while populations grow.
Niamh’s advice to other aspiring game developers? Start now. “There’s nothing stopping you from being a game developer right now!” she says. And diversity is crucial in the industry, she says.
“It’s really important to have diverse people with a variety of experiences in the room because that’s how we make better games!”
Niamh’s study and career pathway
- Bachelor of Science (Computer Science), University of Otago
- Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art & Design), Media Design School
- Junior Game Developer Intern, NHNZ
- Producer / co-founder, Little Lost Fox
- Development Director/COO, Dinosaur Polo Club
This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Technology 2021.
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Author: Gemma Chilton
Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.