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Valve is looking for a few good academics

Valve is currently looking for an economist, a psychologist, and an esports software engineer

Valve Index headset

Valve is one of gaming’s most fascinating companies, thanks largely to its private nature. Every so often we get a peek inside, like when Willy Wonka finally opened up his factory for an exclusive tour. And so, it’s always interesting to see what kinds of people it’s looking to hire, and right now, the company is looking to fill some rather interesting slots.

As our sister site The Loadout reports, Valve is currently looking for a software engineer to work on esports – suggesting a continued focus on its competitive scenes for Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But that engineer might be tasked with supporting other games as well – perhaps a new version of Artifact, for instance, or another title in the chocolatey pipeline that we haven’t yet heard about.

Some of Valve’s other adverts are potentially even more interesting, however. Valve seems to like having brainy, interesting people around, and it’s looking to hire on an in-house economist, a psychologist, and a statistician – career fields that aren’t normally associated with games development, but certainly cover disciplines that could have valuable insights into how games – and game companies – work.

The statistician position, for instance, makes a lot of sense when you think of the vast amount of data Valve collects through Steam. This data is high-resolution and covers everything from moment-to-moment player behaviour within games to broad trends in game purchasing habits, all tied to highly specific information about each Steam account. A trained statistician might have some new and interesting ideas about what the company could do with all that information.

In the advert for the staff psychologist, Valve says it’s looking for someone who can provide “relevant insight into human behaviour in order to shape gameplay and customer experience.” That’s an awfully broad mandate, and Valve says it’s also hoping a psychologist will help design new research methods and experimental procedures, as well as providing input on environmental design and analyzing statistics that cover Valve’s gameplay, financial, and overall company design. There’s nothing Valve does that this position doesn’t potentially touch.

Valve is looking to fill a total of eight positions tagged with game design, seven in hardware engineering, four tagged with product design, 14 in software engineering, four in data science, seven in art, three in audio, three in business development, two writers, and one position each in facilities and finance.

With Half-Life: Alyx on the horizon and Valve’s VR headset, the Index, on the market, it will be interesting to see what the company decides to reveal over the course of the year.