Game Designer: Job Info and Requirements for Becoming a Game Designer

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Career Definition

Degree Level Bachelor’s degree
Degree Field(s) Game design, computer engineering, or computer science
Licensure/Certification Certification in programming languages and certificates available
Experience Sample projects typically required
Key Skills Creativity; knowledge of computer systems and languages; communication, collaboration, and project management skills
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 21% (for all application software developers)
Median Annual Salary (2018) $105,590 (for application all software developers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Game designers work with a team developing and designing video games. Video games are a $30 billion industry in the U.S., especially as more people play games on their mobile phones, according to Reuters. Game designers are an important part of a comprehensive team of designers and developers that coordinate the complex task of creating a new video game. Game designers have duties like designing characters, levels, puzzles, art and animation. They may also write code, using various computer programming languages. Depending on their career duties, they may also be responsible for project management tasks and testing early versions of video games.

Becoming a Game Designer

As the video game industry grows, more universities are creating curricula to support careers in video game design. These courses are usually offered within the computer science or media departments. Video game designers typically have a bachelor’s degree in game design, computer engineering, or computer science which takes four to five years to complete. Courses in a game design degree program may include project management, integrated video design and technology, game prototyping and level design.

Game designers typically work in a managerial role on a video game project, helping to manage budgets, work schedules and project timelines. Attention to detail is important, as are clear writing and communication skills and enthusiasm and knowledge about the video game industry.

Career and Economic Outlook

Game designers are likely to be a part of a fast-growing industry as video game designers try to meet a seemingly limitless demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS states that the software development industry, of which video games are a part, is enjoying growth spurred by rapid utilization of Internet technology. As of May 2018, the BLS states that software application developers (which include game designers) made a median annual wage of $105,590.

Alternate Career Options

Two careers that are similar to game designer are web developer and computer programmer. With just an associate’s degree in web design or a similar field, web developers can seek employment creating and designing websites, sometimes also creating the content. Much faster-than-average job growth of 13% is expected by the BLS for this career from 2018-2028. In 2018, the BLS also reported their annual median salary as $69,430.

Normally having a bachelor’s degree in computer science and specializing in several programming languages, computer programmers create software programs by writing code. The BLS predicted average employment decline of 7% from 2018-2028 for computer programmers and noted an annual median wage of $84,280 in 2018.

Game designers are specialized software developers with a bachelor’s degree who help design and manage the creation of video and computer games.

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