According to Statista, over three billion people worldwide play video games. That is a considerable number of gamers and it’s one of the reasons the gaming industry is so lucrative. Game development will increase exponentially over the coming years and game design is a hot pick.
Game design is one of the most critical aspects of game development and many designers are trying to get into the field. This article discusses how to get a job in game design, some of the highest-paying game design jobs, and game design skills you’ll need to break into the industry.
What Is Game Design?
Game design is one element of video game development and refers to the mix of creativity and analytical reasoning that goes into the design and development of a game. As a game designer, you must understand how a game works to curate an engaging user experience.
Game design involves creating exciting stories, characters, challenges, and rules that encourage user interaction. Game designers develop the rules and mechanics of games, which includes everything from gameplay loop and level design to specific mechanics and story flow.
Game Design Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the multimedia art and animation sector, including video game design, will grow by 16 percent over the next decade. This is much faster than the national average for other careers.
What Education Do I Need to Become a Game Designer?
You need a bachelor’s degree to become a video game designer. The degree can be in video game design, computer science, or multimedia design. You can also take courses to earn certificates and build your experience levels and qualifications.
Can I Become a Game Designer Without a Bachelor’s Degree?
Yes, you can. However, your video game design career prospects without a degree are limited. If you only have a high school diploma, you’ll need to build a strong portfolio, attend a coding bootcamp, and have years of experience to qualify for any video game designer job.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Job in Game Design?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you get a job in game design. Bootcamps provide intensive training in game mechanics, programming skills, and practical game design. They also help you to build a professional portfolio of projects. Bootcamps enable you to develop relevant industry skills within a short period and they can help you secure an entry-level job.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Job in Game Design?
If you attend a coding bootcamp, you can get a job in game design in six months. Getting a job in game design is dependent on your level of experience, educational qualifications, and work portfolio. You can start out in the industry as a game tester or junior game designer. As you gain more experience, you can work as an animator or lead designer for a big game project.
Common Game Design Education Paths
Your first objective should be to get your high school diploma. Then, you can obtain an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. After your foundational education, you can decide to study for a master’s degree or enroll in a bootcamp to build skills and experience. The list below discusses how some of these options can help you become a game designer.
Game Design Bootcamps
Bootcamps offer intensive, interactive courses that teach practical skills. They are efficient, career-focused, and will set you up for a promising career in video game design. Prospective employers at video game studios recognize the value of education that bootcamps can offer you.
You can take general gaming courses at community colleges. Some colleges offer animation, video game design, and computer game design courses. Others provide associate degrees and certificates in simulation and game development, 3D modeling, video game production, and game programming.
While these associate degrees and certificates can serve as a good foundation for your training, many employers may not value them. Holding one does not guarantee a job, especially in a field as competitive as game design.
Game Design Degrees
You can obtain a video game design degree to begin your career in the games industry. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Programming, UI/UX Design, or Video Game Design is a minimum requirement for most prospective employers.
Key Game Design Skills to List on Your Resume
As a game designer, you must possess relevant technical skills as well as creative and interpersonal capabilities. Mathematics, logic, tech skills, and creativity are all examples of desirable skills for a game designer, and you should list these on your resume.
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Designers tend to specialize in one or two genres, but they all possess advanced knowledge of mathematics. Careers in game design require strong logic and problem-solving skills. Several top designers and recruiters consider mathematics the primary basis of game design, and it is essential in designing systems and balancing various aspects of a game.
Strong tech skills are crucial to a successful career in game design. Skills in web design, video game design, and game programming demonstrate your understanding of technology. They are essential to the whole game development process. Having strong tech skills will make you stand out and help you land a desirable game design job.
As a game designer, you will need to create games that are both visually appealing and fully functional. You must understand how to bring your creative vision to life without compromising the quality. It is important to demonstrate your creative ability, as well as your ability to brainstorm new ideas.
Where to Find Game Design Jobs
Finding job openings in game design is easy. Getting the job is the tricky part. There are several places like job boards and freelance websites to look for employment if you have the experience and education. Below are some search options to consider when looking for your ultimate game designing job.
Thousands of prospective employers post listings on job boards. These provide details on many different types of game design jobs with different companies. Some of the biggest job boards like Indeed and ZipRecruiter have listings for positions at companies like EA and Ubisoft. There are also industry-specific job boards like ArcadeJobs and Gamasutra.
Game Company Websites
Alternatively, you can find job openings on gaming company websites and send an application directly through the company’s career page. This is a great search option because you get first-hand information about the opening.
Freelance Job Websites
Websites like Upwork and Fiverr allow employers to list job opportunities for freelancers on long-term or short-term contracts. There are thousands of jobs available, and if you prefer to work remotely, freelancing online is an excellent way to do so.
How to Prepare for Your Game Design Interview
The hiring process for a game design job at your dream video game studio involves several stages. Make sure to research the company’s background beforehand, prepare for some questions, and arrive on time. Some common interview questions are listed below.
Common Game Design Interview Questions
- What is your ideal work environment?
- Describe your training and experience in game design.
- When structuring a new game design, what elements do you first consider, and why?
- What factors would you consider when developing test specifications for quality assurance?
The Five Highest-Paying Game Design Jobs
|Game Design Jobs||Average Salary||Projected Growth|
|Game Artist and Animator||$77,700||16%|
- Salary: $110,140
A job in game software development involves designing the applications and systems that allow users to operate their games properly. You’ll also work closely with programmers to write code.
- Salary: $89,190
As a game programmer, you will write codes that make a game playable. You are also responsible for adapting games to the technical constraints of each console or device on which it is available. This position requires that you know multiple programming languages.
- Salary: $84,810
You’ll be involved with building and maintaining the computer networks that run a game company’s operations. These networks are subject to malicious attacks and information theft, so securing them is a big priority.
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Game Artist and Animator
- Salary: $77,700
Working in this role requires extensive experience in character animation and multimedia software. As an artist or game animator, you use your creative skills to create mobile, realistic-looking characters, as well as settings and other graphic elements.
- Salary: $53,380
As a graphic designer, you work with other members of the game design team to create a game’s artistic style. The goal is to turn concept art into a realistic form and basic programming knowledge is important for the job.
Game Design Career Path
To begin your career in game design, you can start as a junior designer for a big game company. After that, you can work towards becoming a senior game designer and work as the lead designer on a project. Eventually, you can start your own studio or consultancy firm, where you help other companies with design elements.
Entry-Level Game Design Jobs
- Junior Game Designer – Working as a junior game designer involves developing concepts for console and mobile games.
- Video Game Artist – You’ll handle the development of visual art for different game genres, including collectible card games and role-playing games.
- Programmer – To work as a programmer, a degree in computer software engineering will help you develop code for game development.
Mid-Level Game Design Jobs
- Technical Designer – This role involves handling level design. You’ll develop and execute complex systems and technical elements for a game.
- Game Developer – As a professional game developer, you’ll be responsible for writing the code and programs that transform a game concept into a playable reality.
- Animator – This role involves developing the 2D and 3D objects and characters present in a game.
Senior-Level Game Design Jobs
- Senior Level Designer – Your responsibilities at this level involve creating and improving game levels to ensure optimum playability for consumers.
- Senior Game Designer – You are responsible for deciding the role each character plays in a game, as well as the character mechanics and other interactive elements.
- Senior UI Designer – This role involves overseeing the development of a video game’s graphics, menus, and user interfaces.
Game Design Certifications
There are no certifications for game design, but several universities and institutes offer certificates in game design and other related fields. These certificates demonstrate your skills and qualifications to potential employers. Consider some of the relevant ones below.
Certificate in Game Design – University of Washington
This three-course certificate program is specifically for developers, game designers, and other gaming industry professionals. It teaches fundamental principles of game design, including focus groups and game systems.
Web Application Development Graduate Certificate – Boston University
This program runs for approximately one year and students learn about both the client-side and server-side of web application development. Students work with programming languages like Java and Python. The program also teaches students how to build desktop web applications like AJAX, as well as real-world applications that include interactive databases.
Video Game Design and Development Certificate – California State University, San Bernardino
This specialization course involves practical game-building experiences for students. It focuses on game mathematics, texturing unreal engine foundation, and programming. It is an excellent way to gain relevant experience and build your portfolio.
Tips on How to Get a Job in Game Design
Getting into the video game industry as a game designer is easier said than done. You’ll need industry experience, an excellent professional portfolio, and strong interpersonal and professional skills. However, breaking into the industry is achievable and rewarding. Below are some tips on how to land your dream game design job.
Consistently improve your skills
While you may be a proficient game designer, the gaming industry is dynamic. There are always new tools and techniques to learn. Stay in demand by keeping up with industry news and current trends, improving your skills, and taking relevant courses.
Pursue a relevant degree
A degree in game design is critical to getting a job as a video game designer. Game design companies value a college degree or a certificate in game design or related fields. The degree won’t guarantee you a job, but it can help to get you in the door, especially when combined with your technical skills and experience.
Develop and complete miniature games on your own
There are thousands of game designers out there. Design and complete your own video game projects to give yourself a competitive edge. Finding individual designers with completed personal projects is rare, so use this opportunity to your advantage. You could also participate in game jams to learn how to build games from scratch in a high-pressure environment.
Lead with your best pieces
It is tempting to display all of your work to demonstrate your range of expertise. However, you should be selective and only keep your best work in your portfolio. You can discuss other projects during interviews, but keep your portfolio as streamlined as possible.
Be a joy to work with
Work is more enjoyable and productive when you have a great sense of humor and enjoy your work. The best game designers are great team members, and communication skills and humor are essential qualities to have in a work environment.
Should You Get a Job in Game Design in 2022?
Yes, you should. The video game industry continues to grow, even with global economic downturns and the slow growth of other sectors. The advances in video game technology and the rise of the gaming community across different genres will see video game companies hire more staff to produce more games.
If you have a passion for gaming, you can create your own indie games. Completed projects will impress a future employer and aid your professional development. Your creative skills can be an asset to a video game company, and you might end up working at the next Electronic Arts.
Game Design FAQ
Yes, you can, but it is challenging. Most video game companies will not hire a game designer who does not have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a Certificate in Character Animation. You also need to have game experience and an extensive portfolio to demonstrate your skills to potential employers.
Yes, it is. Becoming a successful game designer requires many technical and interpersonal skills. You may need to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design from a top school. Alternatively, you can get a degree in a related field like computer programming or software engineering.
Yes, there are. The biggest one is the Independent Games Festival, which awards $50,000 in prize money to winners of the competition. With adequate training, you can develop the necessary skills to win the competition.
You can join the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). It is the largest nonprofit video game organization globally, and it is an excellent way to build your network and enhance your professional development.
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