Job hunting. No one likes the anxiety that comes with resumes and interviews. It’s even tougher if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. After all, how can you tell an employer that you’re dedicated and passionate in what you do when you’re not entirely sure what you want as a career? We might be a little biased. OK, OK, we’re more than a little biased, but we can’t help it. Careers in gaming can be fun, exciting, well-paid, and did we mention fun? Here are five reasons why becoming a game designer is a great career option!
1. You get to enjoy an evolving industry
You can say a lot about the gaming industry, but one thing you can’t say is that it never changes. New types of games and new technology are always on the horizon. Working in the gaming industry will have you on your toes, as you’ll have to keep stride with current trends – i.e. What are gamers buying? What features are they demanding? – and the technology you get to use to build your games.
2. Competitive Salary
Although you shouldn’t get into a career just for the money, it’s still a nice bonus if you’re paid well. The average salary for game designers, audio workers and artists is at least $68,000 according to the “Work for Play: Careers in video game development” report, released in Fall 2011 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not too shabby for getting to put your artistic vision into new video game releases.
3. Multiple paths to take
According to the BLS report, the barrier to entry into the video game development field is lower than ever. Entry-level video game designers no longer have to struggle to get into a large game studio, because there are inexpensive design tools they can use to start building a portfolio independently.
Casual, mobile and social games have also given smaller companies a good spot in the gaming market, so there’s room to break into several different kinds of work environments.
4. Flex your creative muscles
Game designers are responsible for developing the overall feel or theme of a game, according to the BLS report, “Working so Others Can Play: Jobs in video game development.” They create storyboards, develop character sketches and write a design document after the initial concept is planned. Working as a game designer puts you in the driver seat – think Ryan Gosling’s “Driver,” but of the video game world. We can’t guarantee you’ll look as cool in a denim jacket as he does, but as a game designer you get to decide the features that will make your game irresistible.
It’s not all fun and games, though – pun intended. You’ll have to make some tough decisions, which could alter the entire feel of the game. You’ll have to decide which game elements fit with your overall concept and objectives and find ways of editing out the ones that don’t. In other words, there’s pressure. But it’s good pressure. It’s the pressure that comes with being a leader.
5. Work with people as passionate as you are
We won’t lie to you and say making a video game is easy. It’s not. It takes a lot of time and effort to design a good game, but that also means the people you work with in the game industry are passionate about video games (why else would they dedicate large chunks of their lives to designing them?). Long hours and strict deadlines are worth it when you love what you do – and you can look around the office to see just as much passion in your coworkers’ faces.
Have you already thought about a game design career? What kind of games would you want to make? Which features do you consider essential to the games you play?