WATCH | Heidi McDonald, Creative Director at iThrive Gaming, is showing that if you are willing to work hard enough, you can enter the gaming industry no matter what stage in life you are at.
Heidi McDonald, who had no prior experience until landing her first internship at Schell Games as a writer, definitely got a late start.
Having been a gamer for most of her life, it never crossed her mind that the industry was an available career choice for her.
That all changed when she attended a career seminar during her time in college (which she re-entered at 39). After hearing Schell Games was in Pittsburgh, where she then resided, McDonald immediately contacted the company expressing interest in working there.
To what she describes as being "80 percent luck and 20 percent persistence," Schell had a content-heavy project that needed a writer.
From there, she was hired, but had to deal with a steep learning curve. She described having to adjust from a 9 to 5 position with allocated hours to an environment that was heavily reliant on task-based workflow.
She also had to adjust to having to wear many hats at one time, jumping from different positions and learning multiple skills. These paid off in the long-run, however.
At iThrive, McDonald works to bring positive effects to teenagers through gaming.
Through a unique road, she has made her way to a point in her career that many would deem unlikely. Because of her story, she now speaks at conferences all over the world, including the Game Developers Conference, the largest of its kind.