Meet the Squad: Women @ SI – Part Three
Talent wins games but teamwork wins titles.
It’s through collective passion and collaboration within the studio that we can continue to break new ground with each edition of Football Manager.
This hinges on not only the technical capabilities of our teammates, but also our diversity of thoughts and perspectives. It’s something we hold dear to our hearts here and we are very proud to be an equal opportunities employer, which encourages applications from all relevant candidates.
We wanted to showcase some of the fantastic female voices at our studio and to that end, we’ve been running this series to share their experiences since joining the squad. Hear from Kate, Marcela and Val below before checking out the two previous pieces.
Kate Edwards: Hi, my name is Kate Edwards and I’m a QA Tester here at Sports Interactive. My fun facts are that I support Wolves, I lived in South Korea for just under four years, I recently became a bit of a runner and if I could spend all my time playing video games, I probably would!
Prior to joining SI, I did have some preconceptions about the gaming industry as I had heard a lot of horror stories about the industry not being the most welcoming or hospitable place for women. I had also just come from a line of jobs where I had experienced misogyny and not the most appropriate behaviour towards myself and other women at the companies. Regardless of this, I was still optimistic that there were still good places out there.
Given these thoughts, when I saw that SI were hiring, I jumped at the chance. I have always known about SI, mostly for Football Manager, but at the time of my application they had recently become a partner with Women in Games. I have followed Women in Games and companies partnered with them for many years, and that's when I knew that SI were making active efforts to support women in the industry. This definitely helped me feel even more comfortable and confident about applying.
My expectations of what life would be like working at SI were that the company would be football-mad and it was all anyone was going to talk about. While there are a lot of us who are footy-crazed, there are also people who work at SI who are not so interested in football and have other interests. There's such a range of people from all different backgrounds who have a broad array of things they like and I wasn't expecting that at all.
My favourite thing about working at SI is the collaboration we have on all projects - everyone's thoughts and opinions are listened to, no matter how long you've been at the company. On my first day I was involved in a project retrospective and invited to share any opinions I had – I immediately felt like a valid part of the team.
Honestly, working at SI has completely changed how I view the industry. As I said before, I had previously worked in places where I very much noticed I was a woman, but at SI it's celebrated. My opinions are always valued and I am completely supported by a team of caring, diverse and like-minded individuals. At SI, I feel empowered to be a woman I am grateful to all at the company.
The advice I would give for women aspiring to work in tech or gaming is to show how passionate you are and to also ask for advice from others in the industry. Networking is key and can be really helpful in showing how passionate you are.
Marcela Díaz: Hi, my name is Marcela Díaz and I’m a UX/UI Designer here at Sports Interactive. I reconnected with my Colombian roots when moving to London by joining a traditional drums community to dance and play Cumbia and Bullerengue (Colombian music).
I always thought that the gaming industry was quite exploitative and very male and engineering dominant, meaning that I felt there was nothing I could contribute to. I heard about SI by discovering how the company invests and cares about their contributors and I decided to apply. While going through the interview process, every interaction grew my confidence and by the time I joined I firmly felt that my personality, experience and knowledge could make an impact with my peers.
My team are my favourite thing about being at SI because I enjoy working with them. I can rely on them as much as they can rely on me. Since joining SI I’ve become involved with the accessibility group who are working to improve access to our games. I realise how much impact my role as a designer can be a big force for good for our players, which makes me proud to be a woman within the gaming and tech industries.
Valeria Castro: Howdy, hi, hello! My name is Val and I’m a QA Tester for Football Manager Touch on Apple Arcade.
Before joining SI, I did have some preconceptions about the games industry. These were mostly due to being the only girl in the class when I started at university. It is known that women are seen less in the industry but girls love games too! It was a little daunting because, like in every other sector, most women expect to be in a male-dominated area but thankfully as times change, so does the industry.
At the time of my application, I was returning to games after a short stint in the medical field and was looking to move from art into production within the games industry. Sports Interactive was advertised as a very inclusive and flexible company and had been named as one of the Best Places to Work by GamesIndustry.biz the year prior to my joining. However, what really made me want to join was when I was contacted back after a previous interview for a different position within the company. This is not uncommon within the industry but I was shown a lot of friendliness and openness which showed me that I could be valued at this company.
To be completely honest my expectations weren’t great when I started despite SI having great credentials. I thought working at SI would be a typical 9-5 job where you have a quota to fill (mostly due to the position I applied for) and one with a degree of veiled judgement due to being a girl in gaming, especially with the studio’s football focus.
In addition, I expected to work from home as soon as the first week was over and never step back into the office. I can tell you now that I was wrong.
After almost a year at SI I can say with certainty that my favourite thing is my team and coming into the office to spend time with them. I can be open and be myself around them and there is no judgement as we all bring something different to the team. This feeling is not only confined to my team but everyone I have met at SI so far; I have felt included and heard on many occasions.
Working at SI has given me hope when it comes to inclusivity in the industry as more and more companies are sharing these values.
For the future girls and women looking into joining the games industry, the best advice I can give is to be yourselves and never compromise on that. A company will see the worth in your own confidence and skillset. So, be as you as you can be and be proud of that.