Master's Degree in Game Design: Salary & Jobs

May 31, 2020

Technologies are evolving at a fast pace, and pursuing a master's degree in game design allows students to hone their skills, stay up-to-date, and be competitive in the job market. A master's degree in game design incorporates a wide variety of artistic and design skills along with specialization options in producing, programming, and sound design that can be applied to several different careers. Here we examine a few of the related careers that may require and/or benefit from a master's degree in game design.

Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Game Design

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Video Game Designer $64,800 (2020)* 10% (for computer occupations, all other)
Video Game Producer $79,254 (2020)* 10% (for computer occupations, all other)
Video Game Programmer $64,744 (2020)* -7% (for all computer programmers)
Sound Designer $51,724 (2020)* 8% (for all broadcast and sound engineering technicians)
Postsecondary Computer Science $85,180 (2019)** 4%
Multimedia Artists and Animators $75,270 (2019)** 4%

Source: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Descriptions

Video Game Designers

Video game designers are involved in a variety of tasks during the creation process of a video game, which requires designers to possess various technical skill sets such as coding and software development. Designers often collaborate with team members and contribute to a game's storyline, rules systems, and overall gameplay. Possessing a master's degree in game design gives these professionals a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving industry.

Video Game Producers

Video game producers oversee and coordinate activities amongst team members, as well as ensure games are completed on schedule. Along with managing the day-to-day activities and any business-related issues, these professionals create marketing strategies in anticipation of the game's release. Due to the multiple tasks requiring advanced knowledge and leadership, completing a master's degree in game design could give prospective producers a competitive edge.

Video Game Programmers

Video game programmers generally focus on coding the game's design sequences and applications, and utilize problem solving skills to fix any bugs that occur during or after testing. Programmers draw on advanced technical knowledge in coding, debugging tools, and design theory. Given the overlap between video game programming and design, a master's degree program in game design would provide aspiring programmers with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful.

Sound Designers

Sound designers are in charge of synchronizing sound bites to game features, which requires experience and knowledge in video games and music. They produce, record, and edit sounds to enhance gameplay. Some master's degree programs in game design may offer a sound design specialization, which would give students both the experience and knowledge desired for this career.

Postsecondary Computer Science Teachers

Computer science teachers can exclusively focus on one area of specialization, including game design. Along with creating and delivering curriculum in a classroom environment, postsecondary computer science teachers may also work with students one-on-one with in a computer lab. Many postsecondary teachers focusing on game design have years of experience within the gaming industry. A Ph.D. is required for many postsecondary teaching jobs, but some positions are available to those with a master's degree.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

This career field encompasses a variety of topics related to game design, including 3D-modeling, visual effects, and animation, which may be applied to creating and editing video game animations. Often their work is completed on a strict timeline and takes into account the opinions of the director, other game designers and additional creative staff members. Many graduates with a background in game design may choose to pursue a career as a multimedia artist or animator. A master's degree in the field can greatly improve these artists' skills in creating visual effects and animations for video games and other sources of entertainment within and outside of the gaming industry.

A master's degree in game design offers graduates career choices in the areas of design, production, programming and other fields. Many of these careers offer a median salary exceeding $50,000 annually.

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