The average person will change jobs about 11 times in their life, sometimes to a completely different career, and 80% of all students change their major at least once. So obviously, that initial choice of what career to pursue isn’t always the most educated or correct. Finding that right career takes a lot of work and some trial and error.
Whether you are a student looking to explore different career options, or you’re an adult looking to leave your current job for a better and brighter career future, you’re looking for what’s perfect for you. You can take classes, shadow or interview people in potential careers, and do lots of research to find out what you want to do. For some careers, there are even video games to help with this process.
With a growing marketplace of new games, many game companies have left the realm of just shooting guns and have begun taking on different careers, anywhere from running a farm to civil engineering.
These games aren’t a perfect representation of a specific career, but they can help you get some hands on insights, to see if the career is a good fit for you. Combine that with plenty of research and on your own practice and you could find a perfect career. Here are a few careers you can test out with video games.
Have a hand in developing your town and making it a better place to live. Working as an urban planner requires a lot of planning and maintenance, alongside creating projects that will make the lives of the citizens better.
If you have an interest in becoming an urban planner, SimCity is a game where you build a city from the ground up. It requires a lot of forethought into creating a city that can grow while staying and safe. It covers planning sewage, roads, electricity, and everything else that goes into being a urban planner. It’s a great simulation to see if you have a general knack for developing a real city.
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As of right now, there aren’t any games that properly depict what it’s like to be a police officer, (though fingers crossed that someday there will be) but there are games to test out skills needed in criminal justice careers.)
Working in a crime lab or as an evidence analyst requires a tremendous eye for detail and the ability to piece together a timeline or story with limited resources. Games like Myst where puzzle solving and finding clues is great for practicing attention to detail, and Her Story is a perfect example of needing to piece together a story from bits and pieces.
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Running a Farm or Ranch
Are you dreaming of wide open ranges, herding cattle, and getting your hands in the dirt? It takes more than a pair of boots and a wide brimmed hat to run a farm or a ranch. There’s the skills and knowledge to care for plants and animals, understanding of small business principles like selling your produce and market demands, managing a team if your farm is large enough, and the ability to control and maintain heavy machinery.
Farm Simulator can give you a fair insight into what goes into running a farm. You can try out different tractors, plan out and harvest your crops and learn what goes into the day to day on a farm.
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Running a team requires leadership skills along with being very personable. Successfully managing employees isn’t simply being the enforcer of company rules, but helping employees become better, coordinate them, and turn them into a team. A good leader also finds solutions to problems that plague the team, like managing a remote team of workers or increasing everybody’s efficiency.
Games that place a large emphasis in cooperation and teamwork with other players can help you see if the world of management is where you belong. Running a guild in World of Warcraft or being the leader for a Destiny raid help you see if you have what it takes to be a leader under pressure and if you can help other people develop their skills. Games like Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime revolve around cooperation and delegation to see if you can rely on another to do something important while you focus on something else.
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Pilots, train conductors and drivers
People, products, and resources all have to travel, whether it’s across the world or just across town, and that means somebody needs to drive. The world of transportation is the perfect career for people that love being on the road or feel a need to travel.
Test the waters of being a pilot with a realistic flight simulator like FlightGear. With a large host of planes, from small prop planes to a Boeing 777 and even a Zeppelin Airship, it can give you a very realistic experience of flying, minus the air sickness.
Games like Train Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator can help you understand all of the details that go into driving a train or semi truck. These two careers require a lot more skills than people think and these two games are great for testing the waters.
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Being a Civil or Mechanical Engineer
Many students shy away from degrees and careers in engineer because they are very intense in math and sciences. Then there are students with dream of becoming an engineer who enters the program, only to switch majors a year later.
If you are looking to dip your toes into engineering and see if you’d enjoy it, there are quite a few games to help. If you are looking into civil engineering, try out Poly Bridge. Poly Bridge uses real life engineering principles that civil engineers use everyday. Besiege gives a fun approach to trying out mechanical engineering and building machines to solve specific challenges.
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Even More Games Coming
As video games become more and more popular, they will start delving into even more careers, so keep an eye out for them. These games can be great indicators of natural talents towards one career or another. Some colleges are even using video games as part of their classes to help better prepare their students.