For people who enjoy playing video games, working as a video game designer can be a desirable job. The career ranks high in personal satisfaction and low in stress -- so much so that it earned 15th place in CNN Money's Best Jobs in America in 2013.
Video game design generally involves a large, diverse team of people who work collaboratively to design and produce the games. A video game design vocational school may help prepare you to work as a programmer, where you can focus on the computer coding that makes the games function. It may also train you in game concept development, which involves providing sketches and storyboards of ideas.
Video game design specializations
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) notes that video game production is a complex process. It involves many stages of development, from production to programming. A video game design technical school might provide training in one of the following specializations:
- Designers develop the concepts for video games, including their mechanics and storylines.
- Programmers use different kinds of coding languages to make the games work.
- Artists design a game's visuals, determining how its environment, characters and objects look.
Video game design certification and degrees
There are no specific degrees or certifications that video game designers need to get jobs, according to the BLS. The video game design industry is competitive, however, and job-seekers may have better opportunities with degrees in game design, game development or computer science. Courses in scripting languages, such as Lua and Python, may be particularly helpful, as are classes in 3D modeling.
Programmers, on the other hand, usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering. A video game design technical school might prepare you for this degree by offering courses in C or C++. Other helpful courses could include computer languages such as Perl, Assembly and Lua.
Video game design artists usually attend art schools, but having a strong portfolio is most important. If this specialty interests you, look for a video game design vocational school that offers courses in different art styles and methods, as well as modeling and editing software.
Video game design salary and career outlook
While the BLS does not offer employment information specific to video game design, it projects employment of computer programmers grow approximately 8 percent from 2012 to 2022. According to government data, states with the highest projected growth include:
- Louisiana: 32.9 percent
- Wyoming: 30.4 percent
- Washington: 23.9 percent
Multimedia artists and animators should see job growth of about 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. Some states are projected to have much higher job growth, according to government data. These states include:
- Oregon: 34.3 percent
- Washington: 33.9 percent
- Alaska: 23.3 percent
The BLS reports that in May 2013, computer programmers earned a national median annual wage of $76,140, while multimedia artists and animators earned $64,470.
Video game design is a rewarding career with numerous job options within the field. A video game design technical school could be just the ticket to turn your passion into your profession.
Best Jobs in America, CNN Money, 2013, http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/2013/snapshots/15.html
Computer Programmers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/CURRENT/oes151131.htm
Computer Programmers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm
Long-Term Projections, Computer Programmers, Projections Central, State Occupational Projections, 2014, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
Long-Term Projections, Multimedia Arts and Animators, Projections Central, State Occupational Projections, 2014, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
Multimedia Artists and Animators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271014.htm
Multimedia Artists and Animators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm
Work for Play: Careers in Video Game Development, Career Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011, http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2011/fall/art01.pdf