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Video Gaming Technologies Careers: Options and Requirements

Video game technology is a field that offers a wide vareity of careers, from designers to programmers. Each performs a specific function and requires different training. Continue reading for an overview of majors, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

There are many career options within the field of video game technology. Game designers develop original video games with a compelling story that will appeal to their clientele. Computer programmers work with game designers to help develop the program for the video games, while multimedia artists help design graphics that will be used in the games.

Essential Information

Game designers, multimedia artists and programmers are all employed by the video game industry. Although the requirements for each field may vary, most technology jobs require a foundation in computer science.

Career Game Designer Multimedia Artist Game Programmer
Education Requirements Associate's degree Certificate Bachelor's
Other Requirements Tech writing Bachelor's (optional) None
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2-4%** 6%* -8%*
Median Salary (2015)* $85,240 $63,970 $79,530

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

Video Game Designers

Designers use their creative talents - including advanced computer skills - to outline and bring to life their vision of a video game. The goal of the designer is to create an encapsulating game, with an intriguing plot and story to attract users and generate sales. They brainstorm ideas and concepts and then confer with technical associates like artists and programmers to develop preliminary animations and the user interface. Designers may also work with sound professionals to improve video game effects.

Requirements

Video game designers may consider pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science, computer programming or a related field. Although specific requirements vary, most of these programs include a basic introduction to computer programming languages like C+ and C++. Aspiring video game designers may also consider classes in technical writing to add to their writing and narrative skills.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*Net OnLine) reported that video game designers could expect slower than average job growth from 2014-2024, a rate between 2% and 4% (www.onetonline.org). It was also reported that the median annual salary for video game designers was $85,240 in 2015.

Multimedia Artists

Multimedia artists can apply their manual drawing and computer software skills to draft images, graphics, illustrations and models for video game projects. These professionals may draw anything from main characters to background settings. A video game artist may create a character's facial features or focus on improving background animation. Artists use various techniques including clay models and action sensors to simulate and improve believability.

Requirements

Prospective video game artists may consider certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in fine arts, graphic design or a closely related field. While certificate programs generally last 6-12 months and include introductory topics in color theory and topography, 1-2 year associate's degree programs expand on these concepts and may also provide training on sketching techniques, game design and digital imaging. Bachelor's degree programs generally take up to four years to complete and delve into advanced topics, including multimedia projects and portfolio development.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that multimedia artists could expect job growth of 6% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The agency also reported that people working in this job earned a median salary of $63,970 in 2015.

Video Game Programmers

Video game programmers apply their knowledge and experience with computer languages, operating systems and software to control characters, movements and game play. Programmers write algorithms, or sets of instructions for computer operations that command how the game functions.

Requirements

Programmers are required to complete a bachelor's degree program in computer science or a related field. Like designers, these professionals typically begin with core courses in computer languages. However, as aspiring programmers advance through the major they typically focus more on technical aspects of programming, like computer operating systems, software engineering and architecture.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS reported that computer programming jobs - including video game programming jobs - are predicted to increase by -8% from 2014-2024. Computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $79,530 in 2015, according to the BLS.

It's possible to enter the field of video game technology as a multimedia artist with a postsecondary certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in fine arts or graphic design. Video game programmers and designers typically have a degree in computer science and must be proficient with programming languages.


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