Esports to Careers
From a collegiate sport to entertainment and rewarding careers, Esports serves as more than just a competitive game. Valpo is in its first year of its Esports program and has found great interest among current and prospective students. Like many sports and extracurricular opportunities at Valpo, Esports team members have found crossovers between their extracurricular involvement, academics, and future careers.
“I am interested in Esports and computer science because it is nice to play these games and understand the underlying code that may be used to implement different aspects of the game,” Dawson Demien ’22 says. “I got involved in computer science because growing up, like most kids, I was very interested in games and enjoyed playing them very often. Since this passion stuck with me throughout my life, I decided to pursue a major that would allow me to better involve myself in the gaming community by making games.”
Many computer science students, like Dawson, find a passion for Esports because of the remarkable similarities. These include the coding aspect, the types of processing done under certain circumstances, and the preparation completed before jumping in.
“League of Legends releases patches every so often, and in each patch, they are supposed to apply changes to the game that make it more enjoyable for the players and fix bugs,” Dawson says. “In this case, none of it would be possible without bringing a team together at the riot and going into the code for the game and adjusting values and orders of things.”
With the significant similarities and overlaps between Esports and computer science, Dawson has found his extracurricular activity as a great benefit for his future career.
“Esports helps me prepare for this career by helping me work with my time management and understand what a game needs to be popular across the world and what it takes to keep it relevant,” Dawson says.
Just as Esports has assisted Dawson in preparing for his career, Valpo’s computer science major has made an impact. Specifically, how the major has focused on applying students to real-world situations.
“There are a lot of times where, as a computer science major, I will have to prepare a software for a professor as if they were my customer, or there are even times when you do have a true customer,” Dawson says.
Paul Lapsansky, director of technical services, seeks out ways to provide valuable opportunities within the computer science major and the Esports team.
“Many areas of study in computer science go into making Esports possible, such as programming, artificial intelligence, networks, human-computer interface, and computer graphics,” Director Lapsansky says. “Esports allows students to have hands-on experience within these areas of study.”
The crossover between computer science majors and Esports members could lead to growth in both of the areas, resulting in a more competitive Valpo Esports team facing larger university Esports programs.
“I could see computer science majors getting involved in Esports by taking more classes on game development and better understanding the underlying values of making a game and maybe better understanding how and why things work the way they do in Esports,” Dawson says. “More so, I could see Esports better informing computer science majors on what a game should be, how to keep it running, and how to please or not please your customers.”
With the increasing popularity of Esports at the collegiate level, there is great opportunity for computer science majors and how this will impact life outside of college. Dawson found that being both a computer science major at Valpo and a member of Esports has great benefits for his future career.
“My dream career would be to work at a U.S.-stationed Japanese gaming development studio, such as Nintendo or Square Enix, and travel between the two countries working with programmers in the companies to develop games,” Dawson says.