Meet the PANEURAMA Team: Epic Games

We asked our team from the PANEURAMA project to briefly introduce themselves, share the areas they are working on, and respond to some questions addressing current challenges and opportunities in the industry.

We hope you will enjoy reading their insights. The interviewee is Joan Da Silva from Epic Games

Joan Da Silva from Epic Games

Joan Da Silva

Education Strategist
@Epic Games

Q: Can you provide a brief overview of yourself, your professional experience, and the institution you work in?

My name is Joan Da Silva, I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for over 2 decades now, mainly in animation and video games. Over the last 8 years, I focused on education. I’m now working for Epic Games as Education Strategist

 

Q: In recent years, what do you consider the most significant changes within creative digital education/industry? How has it affected the organization? Could you give some examples?

The most significant change in education is the merging and acquisition of major schools leading to the emergence of education giants that redefine the landscape of the education sector by focusing on profits. This deeply affects the level of skills graduates achieve at the end of their studies. The rising cost of education is not aligned with the level of income junior artists can expect creating tension on the job market.

 

Q: What, in your opinion, are the primary challenges currently faced by creative digital education? Could you give some examples?

The primary challenge is the rapid emergence of Generative AI creating concerns for students, parents and educators.

For example, for the first time in 10 years, the number of applicants to digital art schools in France has dropped.

 

Q: Could you please identify the most significant opportunities for creative digital education and possible ways to address them?

The conjunction of technologies between games, animation, film and design is a major opportunity. The challenge for most schools to address this opportunity is to rethink their core curriculum and remove silos. Unfortunately, the conflict in most countries with industry-driven objective education must be fulfilled.

 

Q: What do you think are the most important hard skills in the area of creative digital education in which you are working?

One of the most important hard skills in creative digital education right now is definitely coding, or at least programming.

 

Q: What advice could you give to industry professionals to foster closer collaboration and partnership with educational institutions? Could you share some examples?

One piece of advice, and the most important in my opinion, and experience: Let your staff teach.

To be up-to-date, schools and universities need teachers who are still working in the industry. And to better understand and address gaps in education, the best collaboration possible is to involve the team in education. That’s what we did at LISAA and Artfx with Ubisoft, Don’t Nod, Illumination or Unit Image.

 

Q: What do you think creative digital educational institutions should focus more on to better prepare young artists for their careers?

There is such a wide gap among institutions that it is difficult to set a rule.

Some schools have definitively defined employability and career as a focus, but many others don’t.

In my opinion, the challenge is how to make that visible to students, parents and employers.

 

Q: What do you think are the most important soft skills needed for students and graduates who are going to work in creative digital industries? Could you give some advice on how to develop them?

The most important ones are:

  • Curiosity
  • And self-learning capabilities

Very frequently, students still need upskilling and to update their skills when they graduate from school and enter the professional industry. 

Additionally, now more than ever: Lexical competencies. Being able to express and understand with a very high level of accuracy your job, tasks or mission will be more and more critical in the GenAI area.

 

Q: Could you provide suggestions or recommendations for students and graduates aiming to succeed in the current market?

Connect with professionals at networking events.

And know your market: Check who’s doing what to understand how to present yourself better.

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