What Is the Salary of a Graduate with a Video Game Design Degree?
A recent graduate with a video game design degree may work as a video game designer or programmer. Salaries for both careers depend on your experience, employer and location. Read on to find out more about how much you can expect to earn in the video game design field. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Options and Salary Info
If you hold a bachelor's or master's degree in game design and development or video game programming, you're probably hoping to work as a video game designer, developer or programmer. In order to land a job as a video game designer, you usually need a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering. In addition, video game developers and programmers often work long hours and face inflexible deadlines. Starting salaries for these positions vary depending on your geographical location and the company that hires you.
Important Facts About These Occupations
|Multimedia Artists and Animators||Computer Programmers|
|Job Outlook (2012-2022)||6%||8%|
|On-the-Job Training||Brief period of training to learn software and demonstrate skills||None|
|Professional Certification||None||Specialty or product certification may be required by employers|
|Key Skills||Ability to communicate and manage time efficiently, artistic ability, good communication, creativity||Troubleshooting problems, analyzing instructions, attention to detail, and concentration|
|Work Environment||Home or office setting||Office setting or telecommute|
|Similar Occupations||Art director, graphic designer, web developer||Computer hardware engineer, computer network architect, software developer|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Video Game Designer Salary Overview
According to PayScale.com, the median salary for an entry-level video game designer was $53,396 in September 2015. Most entry-level video game designers earned between $35,255 and $85,313, which was less than the overall salary range of $36,023-$95,856 for video game designers in general.
Salary by Employer
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't report industry-specific salary data for video game designers, it does report earnings for multimedia artists and animators, including those who design content for video games (www.bls.gov). In May 2014, multimedia artists and animators working in the computer systems design and related services industry earned an average wage of $71,860, while those working for software publishers earned a higher average wage of $76,090. Wholesale electronics and agents and brokers offered the highest average salary overall of $81,760.
Salary by Location
The BLS listed California and New York as states with the highest multimedia artist and animator employment levels in May 2014. In addition, California was the state that offered the highest average salary of $82,170. Washington also employed many of these professionals and offered the second highest average wage of $75,740.
Video Game Programmer Salary Overview
According to PayScale.com, the median salary for entry-level computer programmers in general was $51,174 in September 2015. The median wage for video game programmers of all experience levels was $63,348, with most earning between $38,996 and $104,587.
Salary by Employer
In May 2014, the BLS reported that the computer systems design and related services industry employed the highest number of computer programmers and offered them an average wage of $83,100. Software publishers, which offered an average wage of $101,640, had the second highest programmer employment level at that time.
Salary by Location
California and Texas employed the highest number of computer programmers in May 2014, reported the BLS. These states offered average wages of $89,250 and $80,810, respectively. New York had the third highest computer programmer employment level, and computer programmers working in this state made average yearly wages of $85,950. Washington and New Mexico paid computer programmers the overall highest average wages of $115,430 and $96,510, respectively.
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