How to become a game designer
- Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016: Multimedia Artists and Animators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271014.htm; accessed August, 2017
- Multimedia Artists and Animators, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm; accessed August, 2017
- The Top 50 Game Makers, IGN, http://www.ign.com/lists/video-game-makers; Accessed Sept, 2017
With the advent of arcade, console, computer, and now mobile and tablet games, game design has become an elaborate process. Specialists trained in a variety of disciplines collaborate to create great computer or video games replete with realistic animation and stunning visual effects. These individuals need not be in the same room, city or even the same state. Not only are many game designers (about 55 percent) self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many work from home, regardless of their employment.
What are the educational requirements?
If you are interested in pursuing a career in game design, the minimum requirement for employment is typically a bachelor's degree, the BLS reports. Some schools have dedicated degree programs in game design, but if you can't find one that suits you, remember it isn't the only educational option. Completing a degree program in computer graphics, art, animation or a related field can also help you to prepare for this career.
While it may be advantageous to possess artistic ability and talent, people lacking in those areas can often compensate by developing robust technical and computer skills -- abilities that might be preferred by some employers. Likewise, those who do not have strong computer skills may make up for it through demonstrable artistic talent.
Some qualities that game designers may need include:
- Artistic talent
- Written communication skills
- Computer skills
- Time-management skills
How much do game designers make?
According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for artists and animators in the U.S. was $72,200. And for this profession, the top five states in terms of annual mean wages were:
- California: $82,680
- Connecticut: $78,870
- Massachusetts: $77,370
- Washington D.C.: $76,530
- New Mexico: $76,130
If you've been called a gamer for as long as you remember, you might as well make a career out of it, right? To learn more about how to become a game designer and for a complete list of sources, check out the visual that follows.