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Game Designer: Job Info and Requirements for Becoming a Game Designer

Game designers work with a team to design and develop video and computer games. Learn about the training, skills, salary and employment outlook for this occupation to see if this is the right one for you.

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Career Definition

Game designers work with a team developing and designing video games. Video games are a $30 billion industry in the U.S., especially as more people play games on their mobile phones, according to Reuters. Game designers are an important part of a comprehensive team of designers and developers that coordinate the complex task of creating a new video game. Game designers have duties like designing characters, levels, puzzles, art and animation. They may also write code, using various computer programming languages. Depending on their career duties, they may also be responsible for project management tasks and testing early versions of video games.

How to Become a Game Designer

Education Requirements

As the video game industry grows, more universities are creating curricula to support careers in video game design. These courses are usually offered within the computer science or media departments. Video game designers typically have a bachelor's degree in game design, computer engineering, or computer science which takes four to five years to complete. Courses in a game design degree program may include project management, integrated video design and technology, game prototyping and level design.

Skill Requirements

Game designers typically work in a managerial role on a video game project, helping to manage budgets, work schedules and project timelines. Attention to detail is important, as are clear writing and communication skills and enthusiasm and knowledge about the video game industry.

Career and Economic Outlook

Game designers are likely to be part of a fast-growing industry as video game designers try to meet a seemingly limitless demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS states that the software development industry, of which video games are part, is enjoying growth spurred by rapid utilization of Internet technology. As of May 2012, the BLS states that software application developers (which include game designers) made a median annual wage of $90,060.

Alternate Career Options

Web Developer

With just an associate's degree in Web design or a similar field, these developers can seek employment creating and designing websites, sometimes also creating the content. Faster than average job growth of 20% was expected by the BLS for this career from 2012-2022. In 2012, the BLS also reported their annual median salary as $62,500.

Computer Programmer

Normally having a bachelor's degree in computer science and specializing in several programming languages, these professionals create software programs by writing code. The BLS predicted average employment growth of 8% from 2012-2022 for computer programmers and noted an annual median wage of $74,280 in 2012.

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