From grad to games industry – With Sumo Newcastle's Izzy Deacon
Over the years, Sumo Digital has been determined to open pathways for talented people to enter the ever-growing video games industry.
While some have joined from other companies with a wealth of experience under their belt, others have been sought after from a graduate level – in order to find those hidden and give them their first big break.
For Izzy Deacon, an Environment Artist based over at Sumo Newcastle, having the opportunity to showcase her skills whilst still in an education setting was key to landing a full-time role. And with the help of Sumo Digital’s graduate scheme, the dream became a reality.
Here, Izzy talks about her studies and how that led to connecting with Sumo Digital – an encounter that would kickstart her career – taking her from London to the North East.
“I went to Bournemouth University to study a course called Computer Animation and Visualization,” said Izzy. “The focus was on visual effects and animation for film and TV, but we also worked with games too. The reason I became more interested in games was due to the University’s BFX Festival, where speakers from various parts of the entertainment industry came to talk to us.
“Sumo came to one of the events and had a speaker talking about LittleBigPlanet. That was the first time that I started thinking ‘Oh, I guess I could do games’ as it was close enough to what I was learning at university.
“I found the talk from Sumo Digital really interesting, it made me think a lot about environments for the first time like doing environment art, and I realized it was something that I think I could be good at, and that was it!”
It was during the 25-year-old’s studies at university that Izzy was offered a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand what it was like to work in the video games industry.
“My university gave us the option to do a placement in my third year, and then come back and finish my studies for the final year,” said Izzy. “Not many people did this because there are so few opportunities in the likes of film, visual effects, and games.
“I applied for Sumo Digital's graduate placement scheme because I remembered them from that interaction at BFX - and I got in, which was amazing. I got to do that for a year, so in my third year of university, I was actually working full-time at Sumo Digital in Newcastle.
Izzy clearly made an impression during her 12-month internship with Sumo Newcastle up in Gateshead as she was offered a chance to kickstart her career with full-time employment after graduating from university in 2020.
“I got a job offer at the end of that internship to come straight back,” said Izzy. “Which was amazing because it meant that I could go back and not worry about job hunting and focus on finishing my projects – I was just really looking forward to coming straight back to Sumo Newcastle – I was really lucky.”
But what was it about this internship, and specifically Sumo Digital, that prompted Izzy to get involved?
“I learned so much in that one year as an intern than the other two years I'd had at university,” said Izzy. “It meant that when I went back after my internship, I had so much more real-world experience and confidence in my work that I just felt completely different in that final year.
“When I went back, I started recommending it to all the other students that hadn't applied for internships as it’s a great opportunity. I began as an Internship Artist and then I came back as a Junior Artist – but then in August last year, I got promoted, so I'm now at an intermediate level and I’m currently following that path.”
Having already progressed in her first couple of years at the Sumo Newcastle studio, including a well-deserved promotion, Izzy has personal goals and objectives that she hopes to achieve in the near future.
“I feel like I'm progressing well in what I'm doing,” said Izzy. “It would be nice that maybe in the next few years I could get promoted to senior again and keep following that career path.
“The one thing I really like about Sumo Digital is that all the different projects going on are so varied that I have no clue what I could be working on next, but that's exciting.”
Sumo Digital is committed to learning as a company, and that’s why we’re proud to champion an array of talented people across our studios, many of whom have been given a chance to break into the industry through one of our dedicated pathways.
Whether you’re a graduate or have years of experience, we have amazing opportunities available right now just for you. Check out our Sumo Digital Careers page to find out more. In addition, you can apply for our Sumo Digital Diversity Internship Training Programme until August 12