Launch Your Video Game Designer Career
Is a video game design career for you? Here are five reasons why it just may be.
A Video Game Design Career Breaks Stereotypes
Successful video game designers have a surprisingly broad skill set. They combine everything from graphic design abilities and computer programming know-how to creative writing talent and storyboarding.
Not only will your video game design career require a wide range of expertise, but many game designers report working intense schedules.
Twelve-hour days and weekends are often common when release dates are near and deadlines loom. But for many, working in the career field they're passionate about makes it all worthwhile.
With video games fast becoming a dominant form of American entertainment, avid gamers and technology professionals alike are setting their sights on video game design careers in rapidly increasing numbers.
Top Reasons to Consider a Video Game Design Career
Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to consider a video game design career:
1. Enjoy job security. Given the public's seemingly insatiable thirst for gaming, and the video game industry's annual earnings of tens of billions of dollars, a video game design career is a pretty safe bet when it comes to continuous employment.
2. Create art. Video game design careers have evolved in recent years. A far cry from the early days of "Pac-Man," many of today's video games rival feature-length films in terms of the artistry involved. As Alex Pham notes in his LA Times article, today's video game designers "invent characters, write dialogue, compose music, create digital scenes and write the software that rules these fantasy worlds."
3. Work in a casual environment. As you'd probably guess, your video game design career won't require you to have many three-piece suits in your closet. In a blog post for the website Gamasutra, game designer Anthony Hart-Jones writes of enjoying "company-sponsored paint-balling and karting…and even paid sick leave if you happen to do something stupid like break your coccyx falling down the stairs."
4. Choose the job that suits your talent. As video games become ever more complex, there's room for more specialization when it comes to your video game design career. Whether you're drawn to writing narratives, creating graphics, producing sound effects, or doing the actual coding that allows games to run, you'll likely be able to focus mainly on the parts of video game design you like best.
5. Make money doing what you love. Game designers are part of the larger field of graphic designers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for game designers is $77,200. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. This should be more than enough to let you live comfortably while keeping your own gaming systems current and your video game library stocked with the latest titles.