30 Under 30: Caitlin Goodale

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Caitlin Goodale and colleagues pose in front of a blackboard

23 year-old Caitlin Goodale wins the prize for coolest office ever (except ours, obviously).

Caitlin Goodale and friend poses with X-box armbandsWhen we chatted with Caitlin (originally from Aberdour) she had only just moved to Malmö, Sweden, to start work as a Junior UX Designer at King. ‘All of the rooms are inspired by different games consoles,’ she tells us. ‘The room I’m in right now is… Gameboy, I think?’

First thought: AMAZING. Second thought: King is the place where they make Candy Crush Saga, right? (We checked, it is. Love a bit of Candy Crush). Third thought: how do we get your job!?

For Caitlin, the path wasn’t necessarily one that was clearly laid out early on. At school, although she loved video games, she enjoyed a broad range of subjects – Chemisty, English, and Mandarin (!?) – and wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. Then she attended a personal development event at school.

‘We were asked who had a games console and I was the only one out of about 100 women to raise my hand. I was kind of alone in my passion for games.’

After exploring how to combine her interests in art and tech, Caitlin hit on the idea of pursuing art in video games. A work placement at a games company in Dundee pretty much sealed the deal.

‘I love the fact that the work changes so much – different people, different projects, different methods every day. For me it’s a very high energy environment, which is great. You kind of take the specialism that you’ve learned and apply it in a lot of places.’

Despite the perception that the games industry is a sexist hotspot, Caitlin says that in her experience that hasn’t been the case. Although she was worried she would be the only girl, Caitlin says that the biggest obstacle she has faced has actually been internal.

‘I’ve experienced a lot of impostor syndrome… You never know if you’re ever any good at something or if it’s luck. There’s a constant fight to stop your own insecurities from overtaking you.’

Caitlin Goodale in a group selfie with friendsFortunately, Caitlin has a lot of ammo to fight insecurities with: she won the Outplay New Talent Award at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show this year, and she was the IGDA’s Women in Games Ambassador at the Games Development Conference 2016. She is a BAFTA Young Games Designers judge and mentor, was a Microsoft Intern Connector of the Year in 2015, was an IGDA Scholar in 2014, and selected as one of Develop’s 30 Under 30 in 2014.

Moving to Sweden was a difficult decision, Caitlin says. Although she has lived in the US for a time (her father is American) and likes the experience of living somewhere else, she says she loves Scotland and would love to go back, too.

‘The Dundee arts culture is amazing, especially with the V&A – there’s a huge amount of interesting projects starting to happen in Scotland when it comes to games.’

Sounds like a rallying cry for the next generation of Scotland’s girl gamers!

You can see examples of Caitlin’s work and find out what she’s up to on her website, or follow her on Twitter at @Caiitlinnz!

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