Journey of Esports College Student Benjamin Bomberger - NASEF Intern Shares His Story

Sep 28, 2023

My name is Benjamin Bomberger, and I am a student at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. I am currently majoring in Esports Management, Production and Performance. I started gaming when I was around three years old, and I would play Mario and the N64. Gaming has stuck by my side through the good days and some of the hardest days in my life; I could always count on it to give me happiness. All the way up to middle school I only played single player games as I was not super sociable in school and would rather keep to myself. It wasn’t until 7th grade that I played my first multiplayer game with a friend from school which was Call of Duty. Though Call of Duty voice chats are known for their insane toxicity, this was the first time I had a friend who played video games and genuinely enjoyed the time I was having.

Fast forward a couple more years, I met my best friend Aidan who shared the same love I had for video games. Fortnite was our game of choice for several years and we made countless memories that we still talk about to this day. This was when I started to get into competitive gaming. Though I was never insanely good enough to be a pro player, I loved the community that was behind esports. I would sit there late nights watching pro players just grind out wins. The people in the community elevated my love for esports even more.

Around the time of COVID, I started to think about what career I wanted to pursue in life. I looked at Accounting, Physical Therapy, Elementary Education and much more. Even after all the thoughts of careers, none of them compared to my passion for the gaming industry. Senior year rolled around, and it was time to start looking for colleges and majors. After finding nothing related to gaming, I felt as though I was settling and not trying to pursue my passion–until one day my mom saw an ad on Facebook for Esports Management, Production and Performance at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. If she had never seen this on Facebook, I would have never known about this degree. After I heard this, I immediately did my research about everything I could possibly do with this degree and everything I would learn. I was nervous because I had very little knowledge about what goes on behind the scenes of esports. I knew this was my passion though, and that nothing would compare to this industry. I applied, I typed out my letter and clicked the submit button. A few weeks later, I heard back from Harrisburg University, and I was accepted. That decision was one of the best decisions I made in my life, and I would do it all over again if I could.

The area where I grew up esports was very unknown and looked at as less than a career. While I was applying, I had my science teacher/coach go through the application process as well as helping me prepare for college. When I told her what I wanted to major in she supported me fully with it and told me to follow my passion. I am very grateful to her because without her support I might have had a completely different life up until now. Unlike her, others were not as supportive and shamed esports; I was teased for wanting to be part of this industry because it was viewed too much as just a hobby. They constantly stereotyped esports as just being a pro player and nothing more; my dream was never to be a pro player but to work behind the scenes. I had a substitute teacher tell me that gaming was a waste of time and to get a real job because esports would never be able to support me financially in life. Though I didn’t like to hear that coming from a teacher, it made me think and realize that money didn’t matter too much to me; esports is my passion and I want to help continue the growth of esports around the world.

Attending college has been such a great experience and I have met so many people who share the same love that I do for gaming. Harrisburg University has opened so many possibilities for me in the industry, I have successfully worked in seven events both in a leadership role and a volunteer role. Out of those events I have helped produce two of them. The skills and knowledge that I have gained from Harrisburg University also opened the door to two internships. The internship with NASEF (which is being funded by the South-Central Workforce Development Board, SCPa Works, as paid work experience) has allowed me to hone in on my skills of marketing. One thing that I like about working with NASEF is that all the people I have met so far are super knowledgeable and supportive. They have provided me with so much feedback in my work, and I feel as though that has helped me grow in those specific areas of work. NASEF has also allowed me to explore other routes in the esports industry such as data collection and management. NASEF has helped me grow as a worker and a person as well. I am so appreciative of all that NASEF has done for me, as well as all the educators who support the goals of NASEF.

The advice that I have for those who might be thinking about getting into the industry at any age is to never give up on your passion. Sticking to your passion has been one of the most important things in getting me to where I am today. Another piece of advice I would give is to network any chance you get. Esports is all about who you know in the industry; if you see someone that works in esports, just go up and say hi. A simple hi to someone can go a long way not only in the esports industry but any career you decide to pursue in life. Lastly, I would say to volunteer and hone your skills as much as possible. I still try to volunteer for events as much as I possibly can because there is always something new that I learn. I also get to work and meet some amazing people. If you are going to be a part of the industry, remember to have fun, meet as many people as you can, and learn from others.

Connect with me here at Benjamin Bomberger | LinkedIn

Contributed by Benjamin Bomberger

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