With the esports industry expected to hit $3 billion annual revenue in the next few years, now is the perfect time to be looking into a career in esports. What does a career in esports actually look like though?

For starters let’s look at the most obvious job (and the one that every kid who plays high video games dreams of), the pro esports player. It is not only a paid job to play video game, but a very high paying one. In fact, most esports professionals are getting paid mid six-figure salaries, with entry level players getting a minimum of a low six-figure salary. This is before any of their alternative revenue sources are added in, such as streaming or prize pool earnings with major tournament wins.

The easiest way to go pro is to be signed by a team. This is very difficult and requires you to be at the top of your respective game to even get an invite to a scouting camp. If you get signed by a team, then the real work begins. You will move to the team’s “gaming house”, a home where you will live with your teammates, coaches, and support staff set up as a practice zone as well for your average 14 hour days of work. Some teams, such as Team Liquid or Origin, have been moving away from gaming houses and have built separate training facilities away from team housing where you will practice, review game footage, workout (most teams have mandatory physical fitness), do mental health activities, and even get your meals cooked for you.

Practice is only part of the job though. You are also expected to help with the team branding, stream on a platform like Twitch.tv for around 30 hours a month, attend meet-and-greets with fans, and participate in media coverage and interviews. The “playing video games” part makes up only a portion of what pro players actually do.

For most pros, this is a short-lived job. Only the best of the best can make their careers last 10+ years, while most are either dropped for better players, or retire due to the stress of the job or repetitive stress injuries. All this adds up to make the average esports player only 21 years old and the average pro career lasting 2 years.

Esports pros work an intense job that goes well beyond just playing video games. To become a pro, you need to be ready for a job that involves much more than just playing games. Being ready for the stress and demands of the pro player life style can help not only get ready for life on a pro team, but can also teach you the mental health and physical health skills you need to not just have a successful career, but a longer career.