Girls learning how to design video games at a workshop run by the Girls Make Games foundation in London. (Photo: Lin Taylor/ Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Spending hours and hours in front of your favorite video games isn’t always time wasted. This hobby could help you develop skills such as logical reasoning, prediction and analysis, abstract thinking, and even computer languages, according to the study Pocket Classroom: Mobile Video Game Development for Education by consultancy firm The CIU. These are all attractive skills in several areas of the job market.

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Oscar López, National Director of Borregos Athletics, which includes all of Tec de Monterrey’s high-performance sports nationwide, says it’s hard to calculate the number of jobs that require these skills, as they are used in almost every workplace.

“There’s a huge number of industries they can be used in, from communications to developing the games themselves, design, programming, and marketing. Everything we can learn through video games is very important. It’s not just about playing,” says this academic.

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Video game designer Humberto Cervera is enthusiastic about this electronic resource as a hobby and as a tool for boosting skills development. He thinks that the practice, concentration, and time devoted to video games for perfecting a technique and leveling up are elements that can be applied to the workplace. “The main skills that video games in general help you develop are learning, unlearning, and adapting,” says Cervera.

These skills are not only required for the workplace, as they’re necessary for everyday life. “We’re invariably going to need the capacity for analysis in any situation. We live immersed in a world in which we have electronic devices that provide us with large amounts of information. That skill is necessary regardless of which industry you work in,” says Carlos Alonso, director of the marketing and analysis department at Tec de Monterrey’s Puebla campus.

What should I play if I want to learn?

Cervera emphasizes that real-time strategy, teamwork, and soft skills for managing work groups and resources are other characteristics that some video games help develop. “A kid who spends hours and hours playing Fortnite or Minecraft is going to be much more prepared for working in a team, because you can develop leadership skills while you play. Those can definitely be applied in the workplace,” he adds.

This specialist says that some of the more educational titles related to programming, prediction, and critical thinking are Lightbot, Baba is You, SpaceChem, and even Call of Duty and Fortnite when you have to pay attention to several objects at the same time.

Consultancy firm The CIU suggests that even schools can take advantage of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality tools to maximize the educational potential of video games, which help develop skills that are attractive to the job market.

Although video games help us boost certain skills and acquire some that we often don’t have (such as fine motor skills), they are just one part of people’s development. It’s important to maintain integrated development beyond the virtual world.

“At Tec de Monterrey, we always ensure that young people have a balance. We make it very clear that they should devote some time to playing video games as well as for many other things. Their integrated wellbeing is definitely the most important thing,” emphasizes López.

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