Video Game Designer Career Path


Example Careers In Game Design

How to Become a Video Game Designer!

Upon graduation, international students will find a game design job as a member of a design team with a developmentstudio. The process of creating a video game is a complex thing. Much of the work is highly specialized and requiresa division of labor amongst the entire team. That being the case, game design jobs require a number of skills fromacross the fields of computer science, digital art and creative writing. While the position that all game designersaspire to be is the lead designer, before being given the reins over his or her own project a game designer mustwork in any number of other capacities while bringing games imagined by others to life. Some of these careers ingame design and their national median starting salaries are:

  • Lead designer $81,000
  • Software developer $60,000+
  • Game writer $44,000+
  • Game design jobs represent a truly rewarding opportunity for an international student who wants to work as part of ateam bringing to life the next big gaming title.

    Learn more about studying game design in the USA by reading our growing article collection.

    Is Becoming A Video Game Designer Right For Me

    The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You dont want to waste your time doing something you dont want to do. If youre new here, you should read about:

    Still unsure if becoming a video game designer is the right career path?Take the free CareerExplorer career test to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a video game designer or another similar career!

    Described by our users as being shockingly accurate, you might discover careers you havent thought of before.

    What Do Video Game Designers Do

    Video game designers ask questions from the gamers perspective to create an engaging and intuitive experience. Elements of a video game interface, such as maps, operational logistics , and even the way an avatar moves throughout its surroundings are all the careful work of a video game designer.

    Video game designers create the entire experience for players, including:

    • Develop the interactive storyboard of a game, such as characters, levels, rules, and the gameplay flow
    • Narrative design: storylines, avatars, and interactions
    • Create lo- and hi-fidelity mockups and prototypes to bring the games vision to life for stakeholders & other team members
    • Collaborate heavily with others on their teams, such as sound engineers, visual artists, programmers, and stakeholders
    • Product testing
    • Some positions also require designers to manage specific projects and pitch new ideas
    • Some positions depend on designers to develop style sheets and protocols for the companys video game design process

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    Spreadsheet Of Job Titles And Average And High Salaries In The Us

    To give you an idea of just how much full-time game jobs pay, hereâs a handy spreadsheet of job titles, along with their average and highest rates.

    Keep in mind that these salaries differ based on development experience, location and company reputation. For example, youâd be paid more for AAA game development for a big game company studio in San Francisco than for a small indie mobile game dev job in Canada.

    Job Type

    General Pathways In Game Development

    Video Game Designer

    According to Jason Weimann, a game developer and writer who also teaches game development, there are four fields in the game development process. These are:

    • Artist

    What a game artist does will vary according to your specialization.

    If youâre a concept artist, youâre responsible for sketching or illustrating aspects of the game that your company wants to have. Youâre tasked to present what an aspect or an area of the game is supposed to look and feel like. A concept artistâs sketches or illustration can, to some degree, play a role in steering the direction of the gameâs development.

    • Environmental Artist
    • Technical Artist

    One of the best ways to land game development jobs as an artist is to put your stuff out there. Build a portfolio to showcase your skills.

    • Production

    Game producers, including associate producers, basically function as project or game managers. Theyâre there to ensure that the project is on track and completed on schedule. Theyâre also responsible for ensuring that the project is up to standards or meets the clientâs requirements.

    Source: GameDesigning

    Additionally, game producers can influence the projectâs direction and may have some level of creative control.

    • Designer

    According to Weimann, game designers are responsible for coming up with an initial concept of the game. Theyâre essentially tasked with filling the gap and coming up with something thatâs missing from the market or what the market needs by designing a new game.

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    Video Game Designer Education Requirements

    Video game designer education requirements vary according to your game design job specialty. Game design training programs focus on three main disciplines – design, art, and programming. Your personal interests, passions and employment goals will determine which video game design training program is the best fit to get hired for the job you want. Here is a breakdown of video game designer education requirements by game design specialty:

    With video game popularity at an all-time high, schools are evolving their game design education programs with topics like 3D modeling, character animation, world design, storyboarding, simulation programming and more. Research and compare the top-reviewed game design programs in the U.S. and online.

    What Traits do Game Design Studios Look for in a New Hire?

    How Competitive Is The Job Market For A Game Developer

    Sherlock: I would say its competitive in terms of volume, but really, if you have the right talent and youre doing the right things, your resume is going to stand out quite prominently. As I say, just dont expect that your degree is funding your job application. Youve got to do more than that. But if you do do more than that, and if you have the talent, I think its quite easy to land that first job because talent is so rare.

    Ratica: Programming is always the most sought-after role. A talented programmer who can demonstrate excellent programming skills in one or more areas such as graphics engines, AI, server backend, tools, etc. will have the best chance to break into the industry. The creative roles, like artists and designers, are generally much more difficult.

    Larger companies have more specialized roles, such as separating character animation from character rigging, level designers, game designers, UI designers, UI artists, level artists, texture artists, etc. Whereas smaller companies will look for people who have many skills, such as a general artist who can perform all art tasks and designers who can design levels, UI and develop stories.

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    Pros Of Becoming A Game Designer

    • No hard and fast rule on the required qualification. You can be a game designer if you have the right traits. Any relevant degree would just act like a cherry on the top.
    • A game designer builds a world of imagination and creativity. It fuels your passion for work.
    • It is mentally stimulating as it is different with each project.
    • The industry is spreading rapidly. It has an ample amount of opportunity and good work for the aspirants.
    • Get to work with other dedicated, creative and enthusiastic people. Not only lifts the work environment but also provide a lot of new things to learn.

    Game Design Jobs: Salary Expectations & Career Path Glossary

    Video Game Designers Career Video

    Over the past few decades, the video game industry has really come into its ownnot only is it the fastest growing entertainment medium in terms of revenue, but has created job disciplines that never existed previously.

    What follows is a sampling of the main roles that go behind the creation of modern titles, each of which support thousands of jobs around the globe. Well be taking a look at what each role involves, as well as the salary expectations and career paths

    Ever wanted to score video game soundtracks for a living? How about engineering the actual consoles themselves? Scroll on as we unpack:

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    Consider Entering Video Game Design Or Development Competitions

    Taking part in industry competitions focused on video game design or development is another way that applicants can stand out from the crowd, Seif El-Nasr says.

    The first is that competing gives applicants the incentive to finish and fine-tune the projects in their portfolio after all, you cant compete without a finished project to submit. But beyond this, participating in competitions offers applicants a way of getting in front of potential future employers and is an important part of building a professional network.

    In addition to demonstrating passion and initiative, participating in a competition will also allow you to show the ability to take criticism and hopefully incorporate it into a stronger end project, Seif El-Nasr says. This is an important part of working on a team, and a skill that hiring managers look for.

    Is Game Development A Good Career

    So, is being a game programmer or designer a good career? That depends on what youâre looking at. As with most things, it has its pros and cons.

    If you love playing games, have strong skills in areas like programming, problem-solving, and communication, are creative, and can handle stress, then game development jobs may be a good fit for you. Knowing that youâre creating an application meant for having fun might differ from a more âboringâ job being a full-stack web developer for yet another enterprise-focused CRM.

    Source: ZipRecruiter

    As a game developer, you have to be dedicated and prepared to work long hours. You have to stay ahead of the curve to maintain your competitive edge against other developers or game studios. If youâre working for big game development companies, you might need to compromise your vision and your ideas.

    Best of all, these positions in general donât care about your GPA or acquired certifications. They do help and if you do have a bachelorâs degree or computer science background with few certifications but itâs more important to start working on your portfolio now. Check out our mini-guide on how to get a job in the game industry.

    Still, game development jobs offer plenty of benefits, such as:

    • The opportunity to work on something that youâre passionate about
    • Potentially getting higher compensation
    • Having the chance to strike a work-life balance
    • Knowing that youâre working on something that people will play and enjoy

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    What If You Don’t Want To Be A Lead What Else Is There For You

    Working in game development is hard work but in a fun, creative environment. What makes it different from the other jobs?

    It often takes years before others may see the fruit of your work. Meaning – your game is gonna be released )

    So if you want to excel in your domain, you need to plan your career path in the game industry. After all, you’re growing during the process and learning new things, right?

    And if you don’t know what paths are lying ahead, you’re in a good place. This career guide is for you.

    How Do Game Developers Gain Experience And Build A Portfolio

    If you have these 2 qualities then go become a Game Designer

    Sherlock: A degree even a degree thats associated with a game program is a large investment. You buy yourself a degree at the end of the day, not a job. It doesnt automatically grant you that. And there are far too many candidates, I think, who turn up having paid for a degree doing almost the minimum, which is actually still a lot of work.

    I dont want to downplay that. But really, what have you done to suggest you get that job in the industry above anyone else whos attended university and got a piece of paper to show for it? If you want to make games, make games. You dont have to be a professional to do it. But if you want to be a professional, games experience, polished experience. Its the equivalent of an artists demo reel.

    Videos of games are always going to be better than demos that interviewers need to compile and put together. A lot of candidates put source on GitHub. And thats cool when you want to look at source. But its much easier to see what people do nowadays just in a video. And of course with a video, you can edit, put in the best bits of your work, even add a narrative. But certainly whatever way you do it, whether its videos and demos or whether you ask people to build your game and put source code together is, it needs to be examples of your own best work and not just courses you did at university.

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    Continuing Education / Advance Your Career

    Some people test the waters in this career by earning an Associate in Video Game Design and Development. This gives them the opportunity to learn if they enjoy entry-level work and wish to pursue a higher degree. Other popular degree choices include a Bachelor in Game Art and Design, a Bachelor in Game Software Development, a Bachelor in Game Design and Development, and a Masters Degree in Game Design. Each level of education offers the potential for greater responsibility and pay on the job which is why opt to get their masters degree. Its also possible to earn certification in a specific area of video game design, such as storyboarding or programming.

    The Job Market Is Expected To Grow

    The job market is expected to grow by 9.3% between 2016 and 2026, but this is still a small number of openings. There are so many gamers in the world who dream of having a job like this that new graduates will have to compete with each year.

    The important thing is to do well in school and land a few impressive internships in order to be hired in a position following graduation. It can be stressful, although those with enough passion will put in the work to achieve their dreams.

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    What Is The Role Of Video Game Designer

    The video game starts with a concept. In the career as video game designer, one takes care of it. He or she works with a team and the game producers, who look at key details such as target audience, needs, deadlines, and budgets. Video game designers bring the concept of gameplay and structure to life, often by exploring themes and genres, as well as developments in existing games. All of this is created using computer software where the video game designer enters computer text, which is then processed by the software to produce commands, events, objects and characters that players interact with.

    Earn A High School Diploma

    “You Want to Do What?” Non-Traditional Pathways to Game Development

    Video game designers need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. When in high school, it’s helpful to take computer coding and graphic design classes if possible. If you plan to get a bachelor’s degree, try to earn a high GPA to be a more competitive candidate for college. You should also strive to get high scores on your ACT or SAT.

    When determining if you should get a bachelor’s degree, you can research positions in your desired location or company. Discover if most video game design positions require a college degree or high school diploma as a minimum requirement. You should also decide if you want to get a more specialized education in design by going to college.

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    Designing Games Is Awesome But Its Competitive

    Video game design is a competitive business, and in order to secure a position as a junior designer, youll need to put yourself above the rest.

    Check out the sections on work experience and education to find out how to give your resume an edge, and then read about the hiring process to find out exactly what you can expect on your way to landing your first job.

    Game design might seem like a hard business to get into, and it can be, but with the right edge, youll have no problem outshining the competition.

    So lets get right into it!

    Game design degrees vary by institution, but there are common elements to all game design courses:

    How do you become a video game designer? Follow these six steps:

  • Get more familiar with Game Design
  • Get an Education
  • Start building your game design portfolio
  • Land a game design internship
  • Apply for game design jobs
  • Crush the hiring process
  • Video Game Design And Development Certificate

    Kennesaw State University offers this certificate course to help you become a video game designer. It is completely online with over 500 hours of coursework. You can learn everything you need to know about game design from the comfort of your own home. This certificate will be a great addition to your resume.

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    Certificate In Computer Science For Game Development

    Harvard University is one of the best schools in the country. If you want a comprehensive program from an accredited university, this is a great option. You can study full-time or part-time in Cambridge. Its a popular course to learn different programming languages and the basics of computer science.

    What Does A Game Designer Do

    Introduction to Game Development

    Depending on your specialty, there are a huge number of roles you can fill. Your overall responsibilities are to work within a team and create a plan that allows you to develop a new game from start to finish. You may split into smaller groups of video game designers so you can work on and complete smaller steps. Once each team has worked on their goals, they will meet with every other team and report on what they have done.

    Video game design involves many processes such as art direction, level design, and others. Depending on your area of expertise, you may work in one of these areas or as a programmer, music composer, sound designer, character developer, or story writer.

    You may focus much more on user interface or usability, which would make it your job to make games easier for players to understand and use without asking for help. You may help create a menu or interface that makes game-playing fun or removes the aspect of constantly dealing with inventory and spec manipulation. It really just depends on the types of games you choose to work with.

    You may also work as an animator, working with either 2D or 3D spaces so you create character and scene motions that are more realistic. Youll work on complex animations that makes the world of that game look more natural and ensure that character movements make sense.

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