The Toronto native passed up more traditional career ambitions for a life in the gaming community he'd grown to love.
In the latest installment of our esports interview series, we talk to ASUS' Jonathan Yang, a marketing specialist who focuses on Canadian gaming events and found his way into the esports industry via gaming communities he discovered in college.
Read on for Yang's advice on what it takes to be a marketing specialist and how to create the gaming communities you want to see.
Find Your Grind: Tell us a little bit about yourself (where are you from, what got you into esports, career history, etc.)
Jonathan Yang: I am from Toronto, Ontario. I got into esports at a pretty young age, much like most people in the industry. I was fascinated by the idea of gaming in mainstream media, let alone that positions exist in working with video games every day.
I ended up going to university to major in finance and minor in marketing. I had the full intention of not pursuing a career in esports and fulfilling my dream of becoming a financial analyst or corporate lawyer. However, life has a great way of changing whatever plans you may have had. I ended up finding a gaming club on campus that hosted 48-hour LAN gaming events. I was hooked. I loved the idea of gathering such a large number of people to just game together. I later became president of the club and created one of the largest student-organized LAN events in Canada.
Shortly after doing so, I continued my dream in becoming a financial analyst. After graduating, I learned that I was unable to not think about esports and gaming. I later spent two years honing my craft and learning everything I could about experiential marketing, public relations and project management.
I am now a marketing specialist for ASUS North America, and I’m able to work with so much more than just gaming.
FYG: How would you describe your job to someone who knows nothing about what you do?
JY: My role as a marketing specialist is pretty unique. I am mainly responsible for curating sponsorships for Canadian gaming events. This may include esports or just events with a gaming focus. I also manage our sponsored streamers on Twitch.tv, which you can find here. Additionally, I am the person in charge for all public relations requests for Canada for ASUS Computer International.
FYG: What kind of experience or degree would someone need to get a job like yours? How did you obtain that experience/degree?
JY: My degree definitely helped in getting a job at ASUS, but most of my qualities came from my experiences in working in esports and gaming events. Getting out there and building your network was just as important in my success as earning my degree.
FYG: What advice would you give to kids in high school, especially kids from rural areas, who want to get into esports?
JY: Try to find a local community interested in gaming if there isn’t one already established. If there isn’t one, try to create one yourself with a few like-minded friends. You never know what you can accomplish with a little bit of outreach. Small local businesses will also be more inclined to help you. It’s not about making money; it’s about building experiences.
FYG: What kind of lifestyle does your career allow you to live? What sort of salary and work environment can people typically expect from a position or field like yours?
JY: Lifestyle? It’s a hectic one for sure! The world of marketing for technology and esports can definitely be a roller coaster. But every day is a new challenge and one that I welcome each time. I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunities to travel all around the world for gaming and esports. In terms of salary, this career path is much like any other. It’s really dictated by your experience and the company itself. Always remember to value yourself and know your worth. Be sure that with the career you choose, you’re able to live within your means.
FYG: What strengths, skills, or character traits do you think are most important for your position?
JY: Lots of public speaking. At every event you may be posed to talk to hundreds, if not thousands of new faces each day. Aside from that, speaking to media is a key aspect of my role. Time management and organization skills are also very necessary.
FYG: What does it mean to you to Find Your Grind? Why is it important?
JY: It means finding what you’re truly passionate about and working toward that goal. It’s important to look past what is expected of you to really focus on the goals ahead of you and how to get there.
Words by Chance Solem-Pfeifer on Mar 22, 2018