Are there industries you won't work in?

As someone who is now looking for a new role, when speaking with a recruiter I was asked if there was any industry I want to work in, or avoid, and I would be interested in hearing from my fellow Clubbers your thoughts on this.

Is there a sector/industry you wouldn’t work in for some reason?
Gambling, defense, something political or religious related, and so on?

For me it’s gaming, but only from the horror stories I’ve heard about it!

I asked this on LinkedIn and Twitter and got some replies there (an some common themes), and didn’t want to miss out here either.


I would not work for:

  • anything scam, fraud or exploitation related like gambling, NFTs, most Crypto-Currencies (there are a few good projects like solidarcoin) and some big games like NBA 2K, FIFA and Diablo 4
  • anything that either hurts or oppresses people like defense or surveillance. Also not for the tobacco and the alcohol industry.

Gaming in general … I think about it once in while myself.
IF I would work in a game development studio I want to be very sure that none of the horror stories happens to them.
What I perceive is that either big or the very small companies are problematic.
AAA game production is where I read the most horror stories from. They have much money and give a fuck about people.
Also small indie productions need you to have enthusiasm to compensate for lack of salary and long working hours. This is something for idealists.
There are some companies which are a middle ground between both extremes of what I have heard of. You mostly don’t do much overtime and have also more creative influence, as your input matters. It expect it to be demanding to find them and just the size isn’t a secure sign.

Also I just have very little evidence about salaries. Maybe at least in big companies you are paid something equally to the rest of the software industry. But see the horror stories.
What I perceive superficial is that in some parts in gaming testing is still considered second class.

As I’m heavily in game design myself as hobby, one general thing about games, their development and testing:
Most “work” software is about solving problems so you can judge the customer satisfaction comparable easy (take this relative, not absolute). At least you know most times the problem to solve.
Games are for leisure and enjoyment. They are an art from. This is a totally different direction.
While there is still much functional left (e.g. are the problems in a level aka glitching ), a certain part is about “does the players have fun?”.


For me the context of the application and industry doesn’t matter too much but there are some…
I don’t mind working on gambling, defense or anything alike. The only industry I don’t like to work in is healthcare & banking/insurance, like doing tests on real-life-saving-machines. That would probably stress me out the most.

Banking/insurance only due to the very hierarchical tree they always have. It takes 6 months to get approvals of something, so not really the industry of banks but yea… the slow working environment.

If there is a fast paced one, sign me up :stuck_out_tongue:

PS: I love testing video games /gaming industry :slight_smile:
I’ve heard so many horror stories from people, but I’ve yet to experience it…


Instead count me in on that! Also for space crafts, submarines. Anything on high-speed or deep-down.
It would be interested in such a demanding environment.

Finance is another industry I would be careful with.
Especial the products for speculation and making rich people richer.


Interesting question. I’d probably have a crack at anything really. I’ve worked in safety critical software (so gas / oil burner controls and also defence / aerospace). I actually miss that level of rigour where the issues found are given top billing - and also I’ve found the level of documentation in the form of designs are requirements and standards mean that understanding what you are shooting for is really well defined. For the last 12 years I’ve been working in product inspection (metal detectors for food and pharmaceuticals). It’s different, but still interesting and rewarding.

I’ve heard stories, like I suspect you have, of the gaming industry, but until you’ve done it yourself I don’t suppose you know for sure whether you’re going to hate it or love it.

I think my preference is to stay close to some form of software testing that has a physical product rather than existing on a server somewhere. But that’s just a preference - I’m not ruling anything out.


Development of AI capabilities for which our society is not yet ready. I think this can do a lot of harm to a lot of people.

E.g. Large Language models (e.g. ChatGPT), advanced recommender systems, deepfakes, “general” AI (i.e. AIs that are able to do many different tasks).


gaming (both kinds)

The first 2 are blocked both due to ethics, the later due to no desire to be bored to death, plus I am shite at numbers anyway.


I’d avoid gambling, adult industry stuff, banks (and preferably anything related to usury), government projects - military and surveillance in particular, and any project that is a scam, whether it’s a legal scam or not.

For gaming, I also heard those game testers are overworked and underpaid. In general, I couldn’t be on a project that goes against my moral beliefs.

My last two projects were in fintech though, but pretty concrete products, not the most exhilarating stuff but they were both high-quality projects.


Gambling is definitely an area where I’d have reservations. I know a few people who use these sites in a “healthy” way but most the money surely comes from exploiting people. I’d extend gambling to FinTech - although that includes plenty “good” companies. For example it would be cool to work on tech to help prevent people scamming wee old grannies out of their life savings but not helping enable the [I shall refrain from completing this sentence].

Interestingly I work in video surveillance and our customers include government - including some countries that I’m “not particularly fond of”. I’ve had mixed feelings about the field as I’ve been on site where a heart attack was spotted in the room and medical assistance was on its way before those in the area had chance to call for help… but also there’s the unsettling Government idea. One thing that swung it for me was a senior person passionately talking about how in the States we want to have AI detect someone carrying a gun on the approach to a school, alert a central command center for human verification and before they get near, initiate a lock down.


So much to think about ethically here! Is it better to avoid a problematic industry altogether or aim to make it less dangerous or exploitative from the inside, at the risk that you won’t have the power to do so and end up just being part of the problem… and burning out from acting contrary to your morality.
For example a significant danger of surveillance and AI are what happens when it goes wrong, which is more likely if they struggle to employ good testers. There’s almost a trolley problem in there, with taking part in a bad action to prevent more harm overall.


I’ve worked before in a team that supported the UK Horse Racing industry, and the related Betting Industry. I wasn’t working directly for either, but it was related as we provided services to them.

I would rather not work in that domain again, although the tech and the team were great, I have reservations about the net-good of supporting gambling. Even though I like the occasional flutter myself, I understand it has great potential to cause harm.

I’m currently working at a Health Tech company, Ada Health, and this feels much more worthy in many ways. But I also know others who would have reservations being in anyway associated with pharmaceutical or medical insurance companies. And I get that, but I’m happy the work we are doing is net-good in my current context.

Although I quite like the idea of working in the Video Games industry, I’m quite put off by the experiences of many folks I know who have worked in that domain and found the industry exploitive of it’s staff. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t be tempted if the right opportunity came along, but I would be very suspicious and need to dig into details a lot before I was convinced. I’m thinking things like contracts that are short-term, with hire/fire/rehire patterns, force unpaid overtime around “crunch” and generally poor treatment of testers.

I would try and avoid anything defense/military, oil and gas. Probably others if I think for long enough.

It’s more, what I’m looking for, it’s a strong draw if the role is contributing to a company that does net-good in some meaningful way.


Industries? I’d give gambling a miss. Companies? There are quite a few of those - I’d avoid anything FAANGy.


Interesting seeing how many times Gambling came up.

For me, I actually want to work in Gambling at some point - not because I agree with the industry, but I think there’d be a lot to learn around speed and responding to change in the market (which is critical for these companies).

Game testing is great - however, seriously underpaid compared to other sectors.


Can confirm, there is some very interesting things to learn about when you need systems that deliver data within tight latency margins, at high load. That are also consistent, auditable, reliable, equitable.

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Military systems is actually cool by me. I have a friend who taught me most of what I needed to jump-start into programming initially back in 1985/6. He works for a large military contractor now, pretty much his entire career, and some of his apps are peacetime applications too. We do not talk that often but the topic does seem to come up when we do; it does weight on you, but you have to build your own reality in this lifetime so often. And so if I meet someone I find has made that kind of choice, that it’s a great chance to get a different insight to your own. …Before you slate someone else’s choices as to how they pay the rent.


I worked in the games industry and it was really good fun, but its night and day how things worked in games compared to professionally and I was certain that I’d never go back. However I’m not part of a much larger organisation and the attitude of people across the pond towards “the QAs” and “doing QA” does remind me of what made me a little bitter during my time in games.

As for the working hours of games, I think some companies are modernising. I still remember having shindigs at my flat and my mate working at Rockstar North would come straight from work… after 10pm… on a Saturday. I remember working silly hours as well, although only during crunch as opposed to a regular thing.

Unless I can work similar hours for similar pay to now, which seems unlikely, then I wouldn’t go back.

Edit: I’ve never felt so old as when I realised what I’d just written. Who am I again?


Very very good point, I totally respect the people who take work in areas I don’t want to. Everyone needs to tell their own story and live their own life, and should be allowed to do so without fear of judgement from others. Big love for this reminder.


Yes! A BIG NO to gambling companies. I would not work with organisations who are ruining relationships and families and promoting crimes.


Yes! A BIG NO to gambling companies. I would not work with organisations who are ruining relationships and families and promoting crimes.

To play the devil’s advocate: is it the gambling companies ruining relationships and families and promoting crimes, or is it actually the people who are using them?
I used to gamble regularly. And by that I mean I was buying a lottery ticket for the equivalent of about 50 cents once every week or two. Was the lottery company ruining my relationships and steering me towards crime? I don’t think so. They were selling me a dream for quite a negligible price and I was willing to pay for it, that’s all. It didn’t have any adverse effect on my life whatsoever. And if it did, it would have been the result of my own irresponsible behavior. Just like donuts are not inherently bad, you can enjoy a tasty donut every now and then, but if you’d eat fifty donuts every day then donuts will completely ruin your life.

Personally I wouldn’t work in the gambling industry either. But I don’t judge people who do. The moral line is blurry at best.


…adds bakery companies that might make decadent morally questionable sugary donuts, to my list of places not to ever work for!