March 11, 2014

What Gamification Gurus Are Made Of

Written by
Why is TechnologyAdvice Free?

Every month online-engagement firm Leaderboarded produces a list of the Top 40 Gamificaton Gurus. Their algorithm draws on Klout scores, twitter followers, and other factors to find the most credible voices in gamification. It’s a great resource, but we wanted to know even more about these experts. So we took Leaderboarded’s February list, gathered data on all the individuals, and broke it down. Check out these seven charts to find out what exactly the typical gamification guru looks like:

Highest Degree Held Gamification Expert Chart

Gamification and brains seem to go hand-in-hand. All of the top 40 gurus have at least one college degree, and many possess advanced degrees in their field. 39% hold a bachelor’s degree as their highest education. 23% have MBAs. 10% hold a master’s degree, while a whopping 19% have a PhD. While there weren’t any significant trends in their choices of study, it did turn out that Bachelor of Arts degrees were more common than Bachelor of Science degrees.

Gamification Expert Industry Chart

Unsurprisingly, the largest share of gamification experts are employed in different gamification companies. The second most represented field is Information Technology and Services (IT), which accounts for 17%. Consulting, meanwhile, was cited by 12% of gurus as their primary field. A few unexpected industries that make an appearance are Broadcast Media, Education Management, and Design, all of which have just a single representative.

Gamification Expert Location Chart

Out of the top 40 gurus, 45% live in the US. The country with the second highest concentration of gamification experts is Spain, where 17% of the list live. 15% of gamification experts reside in the UK. When we looked closer at the U.S., it turned out that out of the 18 experts who live there, eight live in California, and six in San Francisco. That makes San Francisco the most represented city, and the one place in the world where you’re most likely to find one of the top 40 gamification gurus.

Gamification Expert Gender Chart

While the number of women in gamification is growing, the top of the field is still dominated by men. Of Leaderboarded’s list, only five of the top 40 gurus were female. Men represented 87% of the list.

Gamification Expert Ethnicity Chart

The vast majority of gamification gurus are white, representing 70% of the top 40 spots. 17% of the gurus were Spanish, while Asian-Americans made up 7% of the list. Interestingly, this broadly matches the breakdown of computer programmers in the US – a 2008 survey by the Population Reference Bureau found that the industry was about 72% white1.

Gamification Entrepreneurialism Chart

Judging by this sample, gamification gurus are a highly enterprising group. 46% of the top 40 gurus are entrepreneurs, while 54% work for an established company or university. Just 13% of the entire US workforce is made up of entrepreneurs2, suggesting gamification is a prime field for innovation and growth.

If we took the statistically largest factor from each category, and assembled it into the average gamification guru, they would be a white male with a bachelor’s degree who works in Gamification, lives in the United States, and is employed at a company. This picture will surely shift. As gamification expands into new industries, and continues to gain traction as a workplace policy, the above demographics should change as well.






  • All information was gathered by TechnologyAdvice from publicly available material.
  • The individual names from the Top 40 Gamification Gurus list were taken from Leaderboarded on February 25, 2014.
  • We were unable to locate educational information for two individuals listed in Leaderboarded’s Top 40 Gamification Gurus list for February. The chart provided therefore has a sample size of 38, instead of 40. This is the only chart with incomplete information.
  • One of Leaderboarded’s Top 40 Gamification Gurus in February was an online company account. We elected to delete this account from our research, and instead moved the 41st ranked person into the Top 40 to compensate for this.

Top Gamification Software Recommendations

1 Trivie

Visit website

Trivie is a Learning as a Service platform to measure, manage, and enhance knowledge. We do this by merging brain science, AI-based reinforcement learning, and robust analytics to help employees remember what they need to know to do their jobs more effectively while giving companies powerful analytics to measure and manage their knowledge assets.

Learn more about Trivie

Need a Little Help?

Talk with a software expert for free. Get a list of software that’s great for you in less than 15 minutes.

Technology Advice is able to offer our services for free because some vendors may pay us for web traffic or other sales opportunities. Our mission is to help technology buyers make better purchasing decisions, so we provide you with information for all vendors — even those that don't pay us.


  1. Cameron Graham

    Hi An,

    Thanks for the comment. I just want to clarify a few things.
    First, you are definitely included in all of the above charts and findings. I checked our research, and you’re there. In the "Notes" section, it says that we dropped a company account, but that was a separate account (not yours), that wasn’t linked to any individual.
    Second, I just wanted to state we’re a separate company from Leaderboarded, so I can’t comment on any of their decisions or policies. We based this research off their February list, but don’t have any say as to their methodology or who they include. 
    I hope that helps clear things up. 
  2. An Coppens

    To correct the facts, I was dropped from a number 25 listing because I choose as an individual to tweet under an alter ego with all social media linked to my personal email address. I have no idea which account was considered a business apart from the fact that I have highly targeted social media sharing activities and find it is damaging to my reputation to be dropped in such a way and to be made look like a fool in a listing with companies where it is clear I am a person. This whole ordeal and rather sudden change of policy without notification to me, makes me question the objectivity and validity of such a board. It also makes me wonder whether social media is the true measure of gamification expertise or a mere reflection of social media savvy? For me personally it is a marketing tool, but successful projects with happy clients are a true measure of gamification expertise.

  3. Monica Cornetti

    Thanks for the work on compiling this data Cameron. Appreciate you.