What Is the Job Outlook for a Career in Game Designing?

Game designers plan the layout and set the tone for several types of video games. There will be job growth for these professionals, although outsourcing may have a negative effect. Read on to learn more about the employment outlook and salary statistics. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Game designers are responsible for the construction of many different computerized games, namely video games. As a game designer, you'll play the integral role of inventing the game's theme, setting its rules and creating a particular atmosphere for the players. You also might get to write the dialogue spoken by characters in the game.

Ideal candidates for a game design job are comfortable working in a fast-paced work environment and possess excellent problem-solving skills. You must strategize quickly on the job, since you'll need to explore every move a player may potentially make in your game. You should also have a vivid imagination since successful video games require interesting plots, settings and characters.

Important Facts About Video Game Designers

On-the-Job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Key Skills Creativity, artistic talent, computer, time-management, and communication skills
Specializations Interactive media, game design; specialized training can improve career prospects
Similar Occupations Computer programmers, web developers, art directors

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O-Net OnLine

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for multimedia artists and animators, including game designers, will be slow over the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). There were approximately 64,400 of these workers employed across the United States in 2014, and the growth rate of six percent is expected to result in an increase of 3,900 jobs by 2024.

Reasons for Growth

The BLS notes that there will be a demand for professionals who can create visual effects and animations for video games, which will positively affect job growth. In addition, games become more complex as new computer hardware is released, and this is expected to positively contribute to growth. Professionals will also be needed to design mobile games. However, companies may hire workers overseas because they are less expensive than designers in the United States.

Improve Your Job Prospects

Since many people want to join this occupation, you can expect competition. To improve your job prospects, you should have a good work portfolio that attracts the attention of employers. Having a diverse skill set may also be helpful as employers seek workers who can use the various software applications used on the job.

Education Options

Both bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in game design. Computer and video game knowledge are key skills to hold, but you also might want to take classes in communication, writing and liberal arts, to develop your artistic strengths. Most game design programs combine a computer-programming curriculum with courses on narrative techniques, project management and design theory.

Game design classes are project-based and usually involve collaboration with other students. You might be able to specialize in a particular game design topic, such as storytelling, production or leadership. Additionally, you may choose to explore serious video game design, which refers to games that are meant to inform or educate, rather than solely entertain.

Salary Potential

Securing a job in the gaming industry can be competitive, and those with greater gaming experience usually earn the highest salaries. According to PayScale.com, the middle 80 percent of all video game designers made a yearly salary range of $36,023 to $95,856 in September 2015. In addition, the median annual income was $58,408. The same source reported that entry-level professionals made $35,255 to $85,313 and had a median annual income of $53,396.

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