Many people might think video games are trivial, but the market size will exceed $65.49 billion this year. The industry is lucrative and is projected to keep growing, and gaming careers are becoming more well-known as a result.
If you’ve spent many years playing video games, it’s only natural that you would want to make money from or even play a role in creating what you love. Informative college courses and programs open up pathways to get started in numerous careers, but not every path requires a degree for an entry-level position.
When a person thinks of a game designer, it’s hard to pinpoint what may come to their mind. Designers wear multiple hats, and depending on the studio they work for, they may be doing most of the work from various departments or solely focusing on something else. Still, as general as this role can be, it’s the position coveted by many players.
In many cases, a game designer creates the concepts, characters and storylines of the game. Essentially, what they do is bring the game to life with their ideas. Many designers start as level designers with responsibilities in only one area. Full game designers must exhibit excellent leadership skills and be able to delegate tasks to others. They might also need to have some coding experience.
To become a game designer, you’ll likely need a college degree, although level designers can be discovered through their work in modding existing games. You can expect to make around $90,000 per year.
If playing video games all day sounds right up your alley, you’ll be thrilled to learn you can get paid for it. Game testers focus on quality assurance, and much of the weight rests on finding flaws and bugs. Testers are the last point on the journey between conception and delivery to players, so they might feel a little pressure to discover every potential problem.
You don’t need a special technical degree to be a game tester. Many people start as quality assurance testers, then move on to other parts of the game development industry. Compensation for this role varies, and you’ll likely find it as contract work because testers are not needed all the time.
The programmer turns everyone’s visions for the game into a reality. This technical job requires using coding language to make everything visual and possible. You will need problem-solving skills and patience to deal with coding nuances and issues.
You might find it easier to become a programmer with a degree, but it’s not necessary. Most programmers fall in the 30s-40s age range, so it’s not a role you should expect out of the gate without much experience. In this position, you can expect to make around $90,000 per year.
Writers primarily focus on the story of the game. These responsibilities include developing characters, creating the main narrative and side quests, and fine-tuning the world’s lore to make the experience more immersive.
A larger studio may have an in-house writing team, but smaller ones might enlist the help of freelancers. You don’t need a degree to become a writer, and the compensation varies so much that it’s hard to predict. However, working on a successful game may lead you to earn upwards of six figures.
An artist works on developing the visual aspects of the game. They will likely follow the process from concept to completion, which may involve storyboarding and creating renders. Choosing art as your gaming career can lead you to earn around $76,000 a year.
6. Audio Engineer
Music sets the mood for a game. The music and sound design must be impeccable to create an immersive atmosphere. You may not need any technical degree to be an audio engineer, but you should expect to have a lot of experience before working on anything significant. Audio engineers can be hired on a contract basis since they often juggle multiple projects at once. If you have an ear for music, you should consider designing the ambiance for an up-and-coming game.
The producer manages the developer team daily and on a big-picture basis. They might also handle finances and budgeting, so they should be excellent with numbers. Producers ensure the team is working smoothly and do whatever they can to lessen everyone else’s load. Your best chance of obtaining this gaming career is to earn a degree or start as a game tester, then work your way up. The average salary for this position is almost $80,000 a year but can be much higher.
Level up Your Gaming Passion
Working in the gaming industry can be a dream for even the most casual of gamers. With positions that cater to technical, creative and business-minded people, there’s a career for everyone in the world of gaming. Though it might take plenty of time and effort, you’re bound to find a place where you belong in this industry.