dcsimg

Video Game Design Career and Salary

Anyone who has ever gotten wrapped up in a video game has perhaps wondered what it takes to design a product that can be so engrossing.

Although most video games are developed by a team of experts, including artists, writers and programmers, the central figure is the designer, who develops the overall concept of a game. People interested in a video game designer careers should be strong storytellers, but they also have enough training in other disciplines, including art, theater, computer graphics and computer programming, to understand how to guide their team in the creation of an effective game.

Game Art Design

Key subjects to study

Video game designers acquire their skills by studying fine art, film, computer graphics, animation, computer science, mathematics, literature or some combination of these areas.

Video game designer careers are often require a bachelor's degree in game design, game development or computer science. Those interested in a career in video game design can gain experience and start building a portfolio of games by studying at specialized vocational schools where interactive media or game design is taught.

Most of their skills will come from working on video games, however, and employers want to hire game designers who have successfully collaborated with others. Successful collaborations indicate the designer has the ability to communicate with a diverse group of people and can perform well under pressure.

What the job is like

Video game designers kick off the development of a video game by writing a detailed design document that describes all aspects of the game and everything a player will encounter while playing the game. This requires that video game designers be creative and well as concise writers, but they also have to understand how to create a story in which the players control the action and the outcome.

Those pursuing careers in video game design also have to be able to describe their concepts to other members of the development team, including the artists who will draw the scenes in the game, the programmers who will write the code to create the action, and the testers, who will play the game and try to find flaws in it.

Job prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), job growth for multimedia artists and animators is expected to grow at the relatively slow pace of 6 percent annually from 2012-2022, while job growth for software designers is projected at 8 percent for the same time period, which is about average.

The BLS doesn't track specific wage and job growth data for video game designers, but includes them with multimedia artists and animators. Game design also requires the expertise of programmers in most instances, so it may be helpful to look at data for that career as well. The BLS reports the following national median annual wages as of May 2013 for those careers as follows:

  • Multimedia artists and animators: $64,470
  • Computer programmers: $76,140

According to a 2013 salary survey by Game Developer magazine, game designers earned an national average salary in 2013 of $75,065. Freelance video game designers earned an average of $46,786 during that same time. Average salaries for entry-level designers was $6,300 higher in 2013 than in 2012, but salaries for designers with 3-6 years experience was down $1,500.

Although large studios are producing fewer games, narrowing the employment options for video game designers, smaller studios are increasingly producing smaller games for use on social media and mobile devices. This may give those interested in a video game design career opportunities to build their portfolios and gain the experience needed to work for larger studios. If a career as a game designer piques your interest, you may wish to check game design programs offered by vocational and technical schools.

Sources:

"Computer Programmers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151131.htm

"Computer Programmers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm

"Game Developer Salary Survey," Game Developer Magazine, Game Career Guide, January 30, 2014, http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/1279/game_developer_salary_survey_.php

"Multimedia Artists and Animators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271014.htm

"Multimedia Artists and Animators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm

Video Game Designer Schools
 
Results:  10
Matching School Ads

Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!

Programs : B.S. in Computer Programming, and more.

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

Programs : Mobile Gaming, Game Design, Bachelor of Science (Online), Game Art, Bachelor of Science (Online), and more.

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

Programs : Game Development, C# Programming, C/C++ Programming, and more.

With an education from an Art Institutes school, imagine what you could create.

Programs : Visual & Game Programming (BS), Game Art & Design (BFA), Media Arts and Animation (BFA), and more.

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

Programs : BS in Business in Information Management Systems: Gaming Technologies , and more.

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Programs : Graphic Arts (BS), Graphic Arts (AAS), Graphic Arts - Information Design (BS), and more.

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

Programs : Graphic Design, and more.

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

Programs : Cybersecurity Certificate, Computer Information Systems (Bachelor of Science) - Online, and more.

Get the career of your dreams with an education from the Los Angeles Film School.

Programs : Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX, and more.

Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

Programs : Oil and Gas Instrumentation Technician, Electrician, and more.