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Gaming Vets Park, Friedman Launch Company Designed to Improve Hiring Opportunities – The Esports Observer

Gaming veterans Sebastian Park and Ryan Friedman have founded a new esports certification exam company to try to make the industry’s hiring practices more merit-based. 

The Esports Certification Institute is launching today, with people being able to immediately sign up for the exam and certification programs that will first be conducted in June. Park and Friedman have assembled an advisory board of more than 40 people who are helping put the initial 120-question exam together. 

They come from organizations including Cloud 9, Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest, Gen.G, BitKraft and ESG Law. The exam will also include one essay and tests three areas: Esports knowledge, statistical literacy and problem solving. Park is the former Houston Rockets vice president of esports, while Friedman is the former chief of staff at Dignitas.

Park and Friedman said that the overall goal is to add a new tool for gaming organizations be able to increase professionalism and diversity by hiring people more based on their knowledge and skill set than in the past, from entry-level positions on up the executive ladder. They said they are hopeful that the exam can become a benchmark exam for the industry in time.

“For me personally having been in esports since 2014, I’ve seen the two sides of the coin: one is the really painful side where people who don’t do good work keep finding employment and screwing it up for organizations and brands … and the other side and the thing that gets me most excited is seeing new people coming in the industry who are so much better than us,” Park said. “We’ve seen the same story play out over and over of people already in the space able to interview for jobs while really talented new people didn’t make it through.”

ECI’s business model will revolve around charging a fee to take the exam, and it is also creating study guides and building a membership program for those who have passed it. The business took more than a year to set up, Park said.

Examples of questions that may be asked include ones in the statistical literacy category about the difference between various measurements and ratings, like peak concurrent viewers versus average concurrent viewers. 

“I’m incredibly blessed and lucky with what esports has done for me and my family, but that’s not to say esports doesn’t have problems – it has a ton of problems around hiring,” Park said. “It’s important to take steps to bring in fresh new people at the entry level. … We look at this as one of the better steps we can do to get (hiring more diverse and qualified candidates) moving in the right direction.”

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