Daniel Cosgrove is currently in his first role outside of university, working as Associate Community Manager at nDreams, helping to release Phantom: Covert Ops on the Oculus Quest and Rift. We asked Daniel, some key questions about getting into the games sector.
Explain your role like I'm 5 years old
I am the person in the studio that people outside talk to, and I share things from the team to the outside world. Basically, if you hear something from nDreams online or at an event, chances are I was the one who said it!
Take us through your average day at work
This is a genuinely tough question to answer, as there's no real "average" day in a community management role - and that's why I love it: every day is different!
Some of the things I do on a daily basis include answering game-related questions on social media, doing our front-line support by email and working with the rest of our publishing team on our future marketing drives.
What was your educational and career journey into your current role?
I had a bit of a different journey into community management than most. Following high school, I went to Robert Gordon University to study Computer Science. While in my second year of university, I started volunteering my time to running the Reddit pages & Discord server for the Call Of Duty series. After two years of running those, I applied to join Activision's Ambassador program where I learned how to deal with community members on a one-to-one basis.
When I graduated university (fresh with the knowledge that I never wanted to write another line of code in my life!), I was encouraged by some industry friends to look into community management as a possible career path. I applied to a few studios and, about a month after I graduated, was offered the job at nDreams. I've been with nDreams for just over a year now, and it's been a great experience!
What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
It's always incredible seeing how people react when we put out trailers that we've been working on for weeks. However, the most rewarding part of my job comes from showing our game to people at events. We work with Virtual Reality and a lot of these events are the first experience that someone has ever had with VR, so being able to share in that excitement is an incredibly rewarding feeling.
What other roles do you work with the most
I mainly work with the rest of the publishing team within the studio including our marketing manager, business development co-ordinator & my boss (the senior communications manager). Outside of the publishing team, I frequently collaborate with production to get information from the development team.
What's the most challenging thing about your role?
As is the case with any role in which you use personal accounts, it sometimes becomes difficult to "switch-off" from work. Everyone needs a break from their job every once in a while, so making sure you're not religiously checking company accounts when out of the office is critical to preventing burn-out.
What software or digital tools do you use the most?`
Unlike most jobs in the industry, Community Management generally doesn't require too many specialised pieces of software. Most of the day-to-day social media side of my work is done online through Chrome on sites like Twitter, Reddit or Sprout Social -our social media management suite, or on other platforms like Discord.
I also sometimes work in Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel & PowerPoint.
What are the key skills needed for you to work on to do your role?
The most important things you'll need to be a community manager are great interpersonal skills, the ability to think critically and (possibly most importantly) patience.
What advice would you give to your younger self looking to get started in the industry?
Experience is king. Work on getting as much experience - voluntary, internships or even just forum managing - as possible! Even if something might be a hobby for you, people looking to hire a community manager might see that “something” as the difference between getting an interview and a rejection letter.
Do you have any links to good articles or videos that you think might give some tips or advice to someone starting in your role?
The best way to learn more about community management is to get in touch with a community manager for a game series that you love on social media and ask. We (usually) don't bite, and are always happy to answer questions from people looking to get into the industry!
There's this really good post on Hubspot which helped me out when I was working on my CV and applying for positions in the industry. In particular, it has a great section on why Community Managers are so important to businesses that I highly recommend reading.