Are you interested in making a living designing video games? Designing video games can be a very exciting and rewarding career. However, it will also take a lot of work and can be very stressful. You will need to spend time developing the skills you need and working your way to success in the industry. Also, you may need to work long hours to meet deadlines or solve complex problems.
What Specialty Do You Want to Pursue?
Game development has grown increasingly complex over the years. I first considered a career in video game development in the 1990s when I was about 10 years old. Back then, a team of 4 people could build a quality video game. It is still possible for small teams to build games together (known as Indy games). However, larger firms such as Entertainment Arts have teams with hundreds of developers on them.
You will need to decide which career path you want to pursue if you want a job in the gaming industry. A number of experts pool their talents to help make games a reality. These careers include:
- Graphic designers
- Software engineers
- Sound engineers
- Project managers
Some people develop Indy games and try to be a jack-of-all-trades. That is a viable option. However, you will need to spend much more time developing all the skills you will need to make your vision come to life.
You will need to consider whether or not you want to pursue a specialized track in the gaming industry or work on a smaller team. Even if you work on a smaller team, you will probably need to work with someone else with supplemental skills. It is very unlikely that you will be able to fill all the skills required to make games that will compete with big developers.
Breaking into the Career
It is much more difficult to get a job as a game developer than to be gamer. You probably guessed that already.
More employers are requiring that employees have a four-year college degree if they want a career in game design. The degree you would need would depend on the specific career you are pursuing. If you want to be a developer or programmer, then you may need to earn a degree in computer science, software engineering or gaming and interactive media development. A cis degree is also a good option. You may be required to pursue a degree in music or sound engineering if that is the career track you want to pursue.
You may be able to get by without a degree if you can demonstrate that you have a strong track record. However, almost every employer is going to want to see a couple of years of experience before they give you a chance. You may need to spend a year working as a programmer for another agency or building a portfolio before you can get a decent career in the field.
You might be able to get into the industry with an entry-level job as a beta tester. You don’t need any real technical training or education to get into the field, but you will advance much more quickly if you have a solid background.
Many schools provide curriculums for people who want to pursue a career in the field. You will have the best chance if you can pursue an internship while you are in school that will give you the experience an employer will look for afterwards. I advise anyone to pursue an internship in college, but it is almost a prerequisite to breaking into the gaming and interactive media field.
You can also build your portfolio and work on your own projects by developing some games of your own. Potential employers will be impressed if you are able to create a playable game on your own. There are a variety of free game engines that you can use to build your own mods to showcase in your portfolio.