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</How I got here – Frankie Ward, esports host>

Published on 5 December 2019 by web editor

Blog, CTRL Your Future

Our CTRL Your Future campaign has seen us partner with an exciting cross-section of trailblazers from across industries such as fashion, design, activism and beyond. One of our collaborators in gaming is esports host Frankie Ward, who highlights how esports and gaming is a serious business with vast career opportunities. Frankie also campaigns for a gaming space that’s inclusive for all.

Here she tells us about starting her gaming career and how she gained confidence in an industry where she didn’t initially see herself.

By Frankie Ward, CTRL Your Future partner and esports host

Something happened to me when I was playing the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike recently. I decided to stop listening to the voices or heeding the opinions of those who don’t want the best for me, and realised – I don’t suck!

I went from being the least effective member of the team (stats-wise) to being the most effective. Was it an anomaly? Perhaps. So I played two more matches, the final one being even better than the first. 

But all that had really changed was my mouse (wired to a wireless) and my attitude.

It might sound odd to compare a lesson learned via something vocational like gaming to education or work, but it seems to me that there are many parallels. Women in digital subjects are frequently told that the space is not for them. They fear being held back and therefore either don’t try, or don’t put themselves out there.

I never saw a space for myself in gaming until I had a chance encounter with esports at the BBC, where I worked at the time. That one project, centred on the game League of Legends, made me realise that my strengths as a producer had a place in the gaming industry which I loved. I didn’t have to make games to be in the industry, I could broadcast them.

When I made the move to work at Twitch as a producer, contrary to my previous outlook, I found myself being welcomed by the industry with open arms. I met content creators, game developers and publishers. I built a PC for the first time, travelled to Europe and America and began hosting on the side until that in itself became my full-time job. My skills were in demand and I learned about the industry once I was through the door.

If there’s a field you love, it is entirely possible to work within it. All you need to do is define and refine the strengths you’ll bring to the yard. Are you great at organisation and management, and love gaming? You could be a game producer. If you’re good at seeing a finished product and are easily engaged by working backwards to see how it was made, software engineering could be your way in. Don’t let your perceptions of an industry limit what you want to achieve.

With so many educational courses out there, it‘s never been easier to unlock your potential and develop the skills you need to work in your desired sector – even if you don’t exactly know what your dream job is yet. I’d love to take a course in game development now I’m in the industry. I’d also love to follow in the footsteps of self-taught developer Brendan “PLAYERUNKNOWN” Greene and learn how to modify existing games and host them on purpose-built servers, and I’m really curious as to why in-game lighting is one of the most difficult aspects of the development process.

Given that the world practically runs on technology, digital skills are more in-demand than ever, even in fashion, design or activism. Join a course to learn these skills and you’ll be helping to make yourself future proof, and will have countless career opportunities open up to you. Just remember not to listen to anyone (including that inner voice of doubt) that says that there’s no place for you, because I assure you there is. Now go out there and CTRL Your Future!

Frankie Ward has partnered with the Institute of Coding on their CTRL Your Future campaign to encourage a more diverse group of young people into digital careers through higher education.

For more information on how you can choose your own pathway and reboot the system, click here:

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