Bethesda Softworks

Location: Rockville, MD

Founded: 1986


Bethesda Softworks is a video game publishing and development company known for its award-winning role-playing games. The studio released its first title, Gridiron!, in 1986 for Atari and Commodore. 

Notable Products

  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Fallout 3
  • Doom
  • Rogue Warrior
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow

What to Expect

Bethesda Softworks and Bethesda Game Studios represent the publishing and development arms of the brand, employing a staff of more than 100 people in areas like art, design, marketing, sales, and IT. The administrative offices keep it business casual, but in the studio shorts and flip-flops are the norm. The company has spent two decades cultivating its award-winning reputation, and there are no slackers here. The game industry is motivated by deadlines like any other business; when the pressure is on, the hours can be long. It isn’t uncommon to find a programmer passed out on the office futon at 10 p.m. To hack it at Bethesda you must be truly passionate and dedicated to your work. To keep that staff healthy and happy, there’s an on-site gym, theater, café, and fully stocked kitchen. Regular games nights and other activities help foster a family bond.

When you apply to Bethesda, spare yourself the frustration of making a rookie mistake: Keep your reel under two minutes, and showcase your best work in the first 20 seconds (the attention span of a busy hiring manager). Do not send human resources a form letter you’ve copied to four other companies; make it personal. Prove that you’ve played the games and are enthusiastic about the brand. If you make it that far, do not slouch on the skills test. A haphazard job will quickly take you out of the running—this is where you’re expected to impress. As far as software goes, Bethesda is less interested in which programs and languages you’ve used and more concerned with your ability to learn and adapt quickly. Most major developers use proprietary applications—it is easier to teach the tool than the talent. Expect personality to play a major factor in your interview. In a team environment it is important to hire someone who’s flexible, takes criticism well, and is a good collaborator.


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