The Merits of Volunteer Positions in eSports

A case for volunteer analyst positions in eSports made by a current professional analyst who worked his way up from a volunteer position

       As eSports continuesto grow, interest in working in the emerging field grows alongsideit. One of the more common ways to become involved in professionaleSports is to begin as a volunteer and work your way up. Thissystem has been heavily criticized by people in and outside of thescene and there are certainly options to monetize your contenthere, on GAMURS. It’s easy to brush these positions aside;who would want to work and not get paid for it? As someone who hasworked their way up from a volunteer to a full-time analyst, Iwould like to shed some light on why these positions are a positivefor the scene at this point-in-time.

       The main reason teams look forvolunteers is simple: there aren’t many metrics with which tojudge candidates for your position. Unless you are an establishedanalyst in the scene with references, you likely don’t havemuch of a resume. I came into my volunteer position with aportfolio of articles I had written and had published online,including some I had been paid for at GAMURS; but that portfoliodoesn’t tell a team all the information that they need toknow. Questions such as “How quickly can this person completeassignments?”, or “How does this person interact withplayers and can they teach in an effective manner?”aren’t answered by most portfolios, even if you can displayan excellent amount of game knowledge. In addition, throwingsomeone with no experience into a professional team can be negativefor both sides. Between coaching staff requests, questions fromplayers and watching other leagues to maintain your knowledge ofthe meta, analysts wind up working quite a bit, and not everyone isready for the time commitment required by top tier teams. Thesituation becomes negative for both parties if someone can’thandle that workload; the team has to look for someone else, theanalyst may have lost any good references they may have had.Volunteer positions allow new analysts to ease their way into thejob and learn at a slower pace.

       In addition to being beneficial tothe team, volunteer positions can be a net positive for theanalyst, as long as they follow a few guidelines when making theirdecision to apply for a volunteer position. The first is to knowwhat you want coming in. When I came into my position, I knew thatI was with the right team for me, and I knew that if I worked hardenough I could become a professional analyst. But that isn’tgoing to be the case for everyone. Sometimes your goal could justbe to have a great reference when you look for a team you’dwant to stay with long term, or your goal could be to learn if ananalyst position is right for you. All of these things are fine, aslong as it is what you think is the right thing for you.Don’t force yourself to stay with a team with no possibilityof advancement forever if you’re looking for a full time jobin esports.       

       The next guideline is to know whento walk. It’s easy to get roped into promises of contractsand full time jobs, but sometimes this isn’t going to happen.If your management isn’t clear about the potential, or hasbetrayed your trust, re-evaluate whether staying with them is thebest thing. In my experience, I came in expecting to get a goodreference. I was never promised a full time job or a contract; butI wanted to work my way up. Eventually, when they needed a new fulltime analyst, I was towards the top of the list. If you are in avolunteer position and you are told you will get a contracteventually only for it never to come into fruition, it may be agood idea to begin looking for other options. In other words, makesure you trust the coaching staff and management of the team youare working for.       

       With these guidelines in mind,there is a lot to gain from these positions. Just like an unpaidinternship, the end goal is to gain experience, make connections,and figure out whether this is truly what you want to do. With thatbeing said, building your portfolio on GAMURS is a great way todevelop your ability to analyze and monetize your content. Sure,working for a team without getting paid for it is a risky move, butuntil the eSports scene develops more and there are better metricsto evaluate job applicants, working a volunteer is one of the mosteffective ways to launch your career.