Best Careers for People Who Like to Play Video Games
For many gamers and video game enthusiasts, getting a job in the gaming industry probably seems like an unreachable goal. But because video games are so popular, an entire industry exists for designing, creating, and marketing them on a global scale. So if you have the motivation and desire to gain the skills necessary for success, you’re more likely to land that dream job.
Programming and Development
Video games are not unlike CGI films. Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure Pixar film, and you’re starting to imagine the kind of work that goes into the projects. Programmers and developers constitute the foundation of the project, and work on everything from physics engines to artificial intelligence.
For any game from Angry Birds to the next installment of the Halo franchise, the “code monkeys” are responsible for how the game works, and without them, there is no game. If you’re interested, a technology-based degree will help you get there: computer science, web development, or something similar is what you’ll want to look into.
Art and Animation
The people who told you in school that you can’t make money as an artist have clearly never played a video game. Graphic artists, illustrators, 3D artists, and animators are all responsible for how a game looks. These people are responsible for taking a concept and turning it into the things you see on the screen. The characters, weapons, vehicles, locations, and backgrounds are all created by artists of one kind or another.
So if you like drawing pictures in your spare time, you might consider turning it into a career. A degree in animation or graphic arts can help make that happen.
Video game development is like any other business—to function, they require the work of a whole host of people who don’t touch the product directly. Administrators, marketers, accountants, human resources—the list goes on. Getting a business degree is a good way to qualify yourself for a job in the industry you love.
Audio and Acting
Games wouldn’t be the same without sound. Consider the difference between Pong and The Legend of Zelda. There’s a lot of audio engineering that goes into these products, and that means there are jobs to be had. Music composers, sound effects technicians, and voice actors are all among the jobs available seeking to add to the audio of video games.
The Written Word
As Fred F. Finklehoffe once said, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” There’s a lot of writing that goes into a game, from the plot of the gameplay, to the lines written for the voice actors, to the manual and the copy on the game’s case. Some games receive critical acclaim for having a well-written story, like the 2016 SXSW Gaming Awards' Excellence in Narrative recipient The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. There are even game reviewers and game journalists, whose job revolves around writing about and critiquing new games.
Testers play a lot of the same game, and those games aren’t even finished. Most of the time, what’s handed to them is the “alpha” of the game, indicating it’s essentially the Minimum Viable Product. These days, beta testing is often crowdsourced, so you’re only likely to be paid for that earlier iteration of the game—and don’t expect to be paid much. But there are jobs for it, and it is a way to get your foot in the door with larger companies, meeting people in the business and getting your name out there.
For those who really want to make a career out of the things they love, looking into the right degree is the first step. Prepare yourself with the right education, build some work experience, keep applying, and don’t give up—sometimes it takes a few tries to finish the level before you can move on to the next one.
The college does not guarantee a job. Gaining employment is the graduate’s responsibility. For graduation rates, the median debt of graduates, and other data, see www.cc-sd.edu/student-information.