How to Become a Video Game Designer
Do you love to play video games? If so, you're definitely not alone. However, if you're also creative, gifted with design, and enjoy working with computers and programming, then you might like to become a video game designer.
A video game designer works to develop ideas, plan and program video games, as well as work out any bugs during the testing process. While many aspects of the job are enjoyable, it's also important to know that there can be a lot of long hours involved when you become a video game designer.
Entry into this occupation can be competitive, so be ready to put in a lot of hard work if you want to make it. This could mean a lot of studying, working in internships, or even proving yourself by designing and releasing your own games.
Education Requirements to Become a Video Game Designer
There isn't any strict educational path you must take to become a video game designer. However, without a degree it's unlikely you will get a good job. There are two ways that you can approach your education to become a video game designer.
The first is to focus on the design elements of this job. You might like to complete a fine art degree or a four year bachelor's degree with subjects in the arts including design. You could also focus on graphic design and computer assisted drawing skills.
The second pathway you might like to take is computer programming. You could complete a four year bachelor degree in computer science, and complete subjects which relate to software development.
Either of these pathways could lead to a career working as a video game designer. Both those with design skills and computer programming skills are required by this industry.
If you decide to become a video game designer, it's important to understand that there are far more people who would like to do this job, than there are actual jobs. With this in mind, it's important to do a few things to make your resume stand out. Internships can make a big difference when you are looking for that all important first job, so if you get the opportunity to do them then take it.
While you're at college, you should concentrate on building up a strong portfolio of work. You may also like to develop your own short games. There is lots of opportunity to market these kinds of things on the internet.
Video Game Designer Job Description
A video game designer comes up with concepts for video games, plans the way they will look or feel, creates challenges for gamers, and puts it all together using computer programming. Here are some of the tasks a video game designer may complete:
- Coming up with concepts for new games
- Creating drawings for a game
- Creating characters and settings
- Making sure a game is challenging
- Creating a game using computer programming
- Testing a game for bugs
- Creating updates for games
Video Game Designer Salary and Career Path
When you become a video game designer, it's likely your first job may be an internship. In this competitive field, you will probably start at the bottom. Don't worry, after a while you'll be given a chance and you will start getting paid for your work.
Many will work for large software publishers designing games. Some may move on and becoming consultants later in their career. Others will move on to similar roles. These could include:
While starting out is very competitive, those with experience will have excellent opportunities throughout their careers. This is a growing field that will offer you many chances for professional development. For those who work on the programming side of things, keeping up to date with new technologies will be an integral part of your role.
The median salary for a video game programmer is around $70,000 a year. Early in your career you can expect to earn a bit less. You will need quite a few years of experience in this industry to make the big dollars.
If you love your video games, and want to make a career out of game creation, then you might like to become a video game designer. Be ready to put in lots of work for little pay in the beginning, but for those that are determined, a satisfying career path of doing what you love is waiting for you.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics