Minecraft, Call of Duty, Super Mario and even our all too familiar online Ludo, are proof enough that the gaming industry is a fast-growing field in today’s market. Did you know? Mario was invented in the 1980s with a ton of resources and brainpower. But now with great developments in designing software, user-friendly platforms and coding languages, the gaming industry has seen an exponential rise over the past couple of years. So much so, that a recent study by Microsoft estimates that by 2022 this industry might be worth $196 Billion. But, given the current COVID situation where we’re confined to our homes and thanks to the improved internet connectivity, there’s a good chance the number might actually be higher.
Careers in the gaming industry have been gaining popularity among the young millennial generation, they are fulfilling, rewarding and more importantly you get to work along the path of your passion. But what exactly are the careers available here? Glad you asked, let’s take this step by step and try to get to the final product – the game.
First, you need a story and an outline for the game. Also, you need characters, models and the theory behind how they interact with each other to function in the game. For this job creative writers, storytellers, and more importantly, designers are needed. The responsibilities of a game designer include the creation of new game concepts, the storyline behind it, the flow and the interface design. In a gist, they are the brain behind the final product you see on your screen.
Are you familiar with the phrase ‘bad design’ in a mobile game? Here you will be in charge of finding out why it’s a bad design, thinking up ways for fixing it and making the final product more user friendly. The typical skills needed to be a game designer include creativity, good communication, problem-solving, great artistic abilities, and knowledge on using different 2D and 3D design platforms. Did you know? The average game designer salary is anywhere between $45,000 to $120,000. However, this is only one part, and designers have to closely work with game developers to bring their layouts to life.
Now we come to the technicality of it all. Game developers are in charge of what goes on behind the scenes. How are the characters and sets made? How do you make the character jump or go into a different dimension? All this is done through millions of lines of intricate code. As a developer, you will be working on programming the game, and you’ll also have to be constantly in touch with the design team to make sure their requirements are delivered. The qualifications to be a game developer are analytic skills, great coding caliber and at least one specific programming niche like iOS, android or C++.
Some other careers in this industry are Game Testing, Producing, Game Animation, Audio Engineering and Graphic design. All of which complement each other to bring you the final product. Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s talk about how to become a game designer/developer.
This is one of those fields where your passion matters most, and it’s totally possible to become a game designer without a degree, in fact, there are tons of certifications and online video game design courses that you can take. However, the competition is rather high and having a formal education in the form of a degree will prove to recruiters that you are worthy of a game designer job, and are serious about this as a career. Moreover, the university brand will help you in building your portfolio and connecting with companies for internships and jobs.
There is only a thin line between developers and designers. Most professionals in this industry are proficient in one and have basic knowledge of the other. So, if you’re looking to be either, the first step is to get a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Computer science, Computer programming, Game design, or Game art and animation to name a few. Having an engineering degree gives you an edge over the competition, but you can also pursue a liberal arts major if you’re interested in the storyline part of game design. A good university name will open you up internships and projects, both of which are required to build your profile.
If you have chosen a liberal arts course or any other less specific one, you can go to graduate school and pursue a specialized game design program. Many universities offer MS and MA degrees in this field, and some of the top names are:
- University of Southern California, USA
- University of Utah, USA
- Savannah College of Art and Design, USA
- New York University, USA
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
These are the bare minimum game designer qualifications, but having a little extra can put you at a better spot against your competition. So, while in school, take up various projects and apply to multiple internships. Work experience is of great value from a placement point of view, and it also helps in developing your professional portfolio and personal brand. You can make mini smartphone games, scripts, stories, illustrations, character designs or something that emphasizes your programming ability.
The Gaming industry follows quite an apt work hard, play harder motto. And this is a fantastic field if you have a passion for it. So, if you’re convinced that this is your true calling, reach out to our career counsellors to find more specialized programs and universities.