What is professionalism?
The concept of professionalism can be described as “one who is engaged in a specified activity as their main occupation; competent, skilled or assured, rather than as a amateur”. In general, a professional of any industry must therefore show efficient ability in their work, possess the necessary skills to the degree which the task demands, and follow a level of integrity and ethics expected of the industry. They will exhibit mastery of an esoteric body of knowledge whilst possessing responsibilities to their clients and society. According to Kizza (2013, pp. 57-60) the four pillars of professionalism include; commitment, integrity, responsibility and accountability. As processes such as game development require effective teamwork, professionalism and its associated values can allow more efficient team management and can increase trust between team members. This helps in the production of a better product, as well as creating a more efficient workplace.
Does it apply to the games industry?
In the past the idea of professionalism within the creative industries specifically was not as established as it is today. For example now the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has a code of ethics with which it’s members abide by in the pursuit of professionalism. It includes principles such as aiming to promote growth of the industry, ensure a professional workplace standard as well as promoting equal opportunity, respecting intellectual property rights and responsible use of the equipment used in games development. As the industry grows, the requirement for professionalism increases. As with any successful business, a certain standard of work quality and efficiency is expected.
On the question of whether professionalism applies to the creative industries, I agree that it does hold an important place within the industry. Professionalism can help increase interest for a subject area, interest which can spawn opportunities such as further established career paths from colleges and universities. This can lead to more people entering and working the the industry to become creative professionals. A professional work ethic that upholds good communication, integrity and ability can contribute to the effective completion of a project, especially in the games industry. This is because operations such as task delegation, deadline adherence and effective teamwork can determine if a project fails or succeeds. Therefore this industry expects workers to be able to uphold codes of conduct and work within the realms of ethics and such professionalism is important to the success of the creative industries.
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