What Training Is Needed for a Career in Video Game Development?

Video game development careers include technical jobs in video game programming, design and production, as well as creative jobs producing game art and sound. A career in video game development typically requires a bachelor's degree, but an applicant may need a higher degree or experience to get a job in this competitive industry. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

According to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA, www.igda.org), the video game development process requires a team composed of audio and visual artists, game designers, programmers, producers, and business people. O*Net OnLine ('www.onetonline.org') reports that video game developers usually need bachelor's degrees and experience in their areas of interest.

Important Facts About Video Game Designers

Key Skills Creativity; communication, time-management and computer skills
Median Salary (2018) $72,520 (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Similar Occupations Computer programmers, web developers, art directors, graphic designers, software developers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Audio

Video game developers working in the audio field should earn a bachelor's degree in music or have an established portfolio detailing their experience. They are musicians first and need to know how to compose music in many different styles using electronic and traditional methods. Career titles include:

  • Sound Engineer
  • Composer

Design

Video game designers create the story line, characters, and level architecture for video games. They're responsible for creating the game 'blueprint' that artists and technicians turn into reality. They may also write the dialogue for the game. A video game designer usually has a bachelor's degree in English, art, or computer science, but degree programs specifically for aspiring designers are increasingly common. Many schools offer associate's and bachelor's degrees in areas like video game design and programming and game design and development. Some video game design job titles are:

  • Game Designer
  • Level Designer
  • Fiction Writer or Screenwriter

Production

Video game producers determine the technical standards for a game. Becoming a producer requires experience in game development, as well as a bachelor's or master's degree in a field related to video game development. Job titles for video game producers include:

  • Project Manager
  • Game Tester

Programming

A video game programmer needs to learn advanced programming techniques by completing a bachelor's or master's degree program in computer science and gaining video game development experience, usually through an internship. Some computer science departments offer specializations or even B.S. or B.A. degrees in game design and programming or video game development. O*Net OnLine expands on technology skills needed for video game professionals including C++, Perl, and Python. Some other specialties might include:

  • Adobe Systems
  • Programming
  • Sound Development
  • 3ds Max
  • Graphical user interfaces (GUI)

Art

A foundation in 2D and 3D graphic art is necessary to land a job as a video game artist. Game artists can improve their career prospects by getting an associate's or bachelor's degree in game art, graphic design, or a traditional art degree. Here are some career titles for video game artists:

  • 2D Texture Artist
  • 3D Character Builder
  • Art Director

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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