Game Designer: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for game designers. Get the facts about educational requirements, important skills, career outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Game Designer?

Game designers help with the creation of computer and video games, including the overall concept, storyline, character development and mechanics. The field of game design is always in need of artists of all types who may be drawn to multiple art forms, computer animation and original game design. Multimedia artists and animators can work in different industries including film, television, or marketing. A talented creator may have an idea for a game, but it is the game designer, the computer artist, who uses their talents to bring the characters and plot to life. The following chart contains essential details about becoming a game designer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Interactive media, game design
Key Skills Coding languages, 3-D modeling, special effects programming
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for all multimedia artists and animators*
Median Salary (2015) $63,970 for all multimedia artists and animators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Will I Do as a Game Designer?

As a game designer, you may perform a myriad of tasks for the burgeoning gaming industry. You might create story lines, characters and scenery for new games. You could work with other designers to devise missions or puzzles for gamers to complete.

What Education Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers require you to have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). In a game programming, game design or computer science program, you may learn the coding languages, 2-D artistry, 3-D modeling or other special effects programming you'll need. You can also develop your programming skills by creating game simulations or prototypes in a lab setting. Some programs require you to complete a senior project or portfolio to present to employers.

If you wish to further develop your skills, you can earn a master's degree in game design or development. These degree programs may prepare you for leadership roles at a gaming company where you could oversee artists and programmers. Before graduating, you may have to construct a working game title as part of a capstone project.

What About Experience?

Sometimes experience can be met through curriculum for your bachelor's or master's degree program. Schools might place you in internship or co-op positions where you can work with industry professionals to produce games or modify existing game titles.

What About Salary?

According to the BLS, multimedia artists and animators - including game designers - earned a median salary of $63,970 per year. Additionally, the BLS reported that job growth for multimedia artists and animators was projected to increase 6% from 2014-2024, which is as fast as average. While openings for these types of jobs could increase overall, opportunities in the U.S. could be lower, since some jobs are going to overseas workers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers in multimedia art and animation may include web development, which requires an associate's degree and some special training in coding. Your job would include the design, maintenance and performance of websites and other media. Graphic design is another option that requires a bachelor's degree. You would use your artistic talents and bachelor's degree to create original computer art for layouts in magazines, newspapers or marketing products. Still another alternative career could be in computer programming where you would need to interpret and write code. Your job would include maintaining programs and software, or you could create 'how to' manuals for clients or simplify instructions.

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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