Bobby Kotick is the CEO of Activision Blizzard. The video game company, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, recently revealed its Level Up U program. It’s a 12-week curriculum to train and develop professionals for engineering positions at the gaming company, which is famous for keeping the world entertained with Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Candy Crush Saga.
In 2021, Bobby Kotick confirmed that Activision Blizzard was committed to investing $250 million into the company’s development of ways to make the gaming and technology sectors more inclusive for underrepresented people. The company seems confident that Level Up U will help accelerate those opportunities.
“Level Up U is a unique, three-month program developed to help individuals from all backgrounds start their careers in gaming. It is designed to teach participants the basics of game development and ultimately prepare them for engineering roles within the company,” explained Julie Hodges, the chief people officer at Activision Blizzard, in a statement. Along with classroom and project-based assignments, according to Hodges, the individuals enrolled in the program “will also have access to our incredible leaders who will serve as guest speakers and mentors.”
CEO Bobby Kotick’s Company Understands the Importance of Upskilling
Longtime development and industry veteran Tad Leckman will lead the program as dean. According to the company, the first Level Up U course, currently running from July through September, is focused on advancing engineering skills. “We are looking for candidates who have a programming background, familiarity with C++, and are ultimately seeking an engineering position within the company,” stated Hodges. “After completing the program, participants will work with our recruiting team to identify a full-time engineering role that meets both their personal interests and the needs of the company.”
Hodges explained that Bobby Kotick’s Activision Blizzard would be opening up the application process to the people already working at the company. “If selected, individuals would shift out of their current role and be embedded into the program full-time,” she stated.
“The thing that has always been exciting for me is creating an environment where creatively inspired people can always do their best work,” Kotick said. “If I’ve learned anything over 30-plus years, it’s you have to constantly be working at making sure that you have an environment that people feel excited to be there and do their best work.”
According to the company, “During Level Up U, you will undergo technical and skills-based training, using both traditional classroom and hands-on learning. In addition, to create an immersive experience and foster community, there will be some on-site programming in Southern California during the program. If you have personal or extenuating circumstances and cannot temporarily relocate for Level Up U, there may be accommodations you can discuss with your recruiter at the time of offer.”
What To Expect From the Level Up U Training Program
— Participants develop a high-level understanding of engineering and technical game-content creation.
— Members of the program get to collaborate with peers on project-based assignments
— The program fortifies critical programming fundamentals necessary for great game development
— Program participants learn about the company’s values and how it has helped shape the future of gaming
— They gain valuable knowledge straight from longtime leaders at Activision Blizzard
Each week, the program will feature discussions and insight from game developers across multiple Activision Blizzard studios, and the company’s leadership will be accessible at formal and informal community-building events. According to the company, “After graduating from Level Up U, you will move to a regular full-time engineering role at Activision Blizzard that takes into account both your personal interests and the needs of the organization.”
CEO Bobby Kotick states, “Talent and diversity have always been critical to our success. However, the rapid growth of the industry, including our franchises, has made it clear that we need to find new ways to attract and grow talent. This is the first of many Level Up U programs, and our plan is to do other skill areas such as art and animation. I’m incredibly excited about the potential of Level Up U.”
In 2020, Kotick tweeted, “It takes heroes to make heroes.” He noted that the company hoped to hire 2,000 new employees “so that our incredibly talented teams can continue making epic entertainment.” Level Up U program is an excellent example of the company’s commitment to creating exceptional games.