Game Engineer: Salary and Career Facts

Learn more about being a game engineer, more commonly known as a game designer. See what kind of degree can help you break into the field of game design, learn about common job duties of game engineers and get career and salary outlook for the job. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Game Engineer?

A game engineer helps with a variety of tasks that go into creating a video game. Game engineers can create the basic software that runs the program itself. They can also be in charge of the artificial intelligence or various programs that control the way the characters move, feel, act, and look. There are game engineers that work on the design of the game itself - lending their creative talents to the fleshing out of the background scenes or the interactions between the character and the scene itself.

To begin a career as a game engineer, you'll want to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in game design and development or a related major, such as game programming or game software development. These 4-year programs provide the technical and practical knowledge and skills necessary for entry into this growing field.

In a game design degree program, you'll likely study 2D and 3D animation, programming languages, software engineering, artificial intelligence, information management and more. You'll learn to effectively participate in and contribute to interdisciplinary, team-based game design projects. Some programs might require you to complete an internship, through which you'll work in the game design and engineering industry for course credit. These internships usually last 1-2 semesters. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field:

Degree Required Bachelor's Degree
Education Field of Study Game programming, game software development
Key Responsibilities Developing software; programming, planning or testing the software used for the game
Job Growth (2014-2024)17% increase
Median Salary (2015) $58,754

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Might I Perform?

As a professional game designer, your exact responsibilities will vary depending on what part of a production you're assigned to. For example, if you're part of the design team, your primary responsibilities might include developing the storyline, characters and rules of a game. You may design rough storyboards that sketch out the action and work with programmers and artists to ensure that a game is engrossing and challenging. You could also work with the programming team, planning or testing software.

How Much Could I Make?

The salary range for game engineers varies greatly across the industry. This variance reflects the wide range of responsibilities that game engineers have. PayScale.com reported in January 2017 that half of video game designers earned between $33,755 and $103,678 a year.

What Are Some Alternative Careers?

Upon completing a game design program, you'll have different career options to choose from. Many graduates pursue careers with game and software design companies. Along with the title of game engineer, these positions may include application developer, software developer, animation artist and game programmer. If you're entrepreneurial and have business experience, you may want to consider starting your own game design company.

In addition to the entertainment field, other industries provide employment opportunities for game engineers. Both the healthcare industry and the military field use gaming technology to instruct and inform participants in various simulation and training exercises. One example of this would be flight simulation exercises, which the military uses to train pilots.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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