The Video Game Career market is huge. With the explosion in the last two decades the need for new developers and other gaming related career paths have started to increase. So what career paths are available?
Video Game Career: Journalist
A video game journalist involved a lot of different types of writing. For the most part they usually review new games and even ones that haven’t come out yet.
It’s a great way to get hold of games that you want to play. But, usually you will receive any games that need reviewing which may or may not be the genres you would like to play. In my brief tenure as a journalist I received gamed I would never have bought. This isn’t always a bad thing.
Depending on if you are a freelancer or working for a media outlet, you may also have to attend events such as E3 and Gamescom. You will then get first hand experience of new gaming tech. Which is a great opportunity. But if you are introverted it may not be the best career for you.
You will get opportunities to interview video game industry people such as developers, producers, designers and influencers. To find out how the industry truly works and why. If your not a people person however, there are plenty of other opportunities.
To become a video game journalist you don’t need any formal qualifications. One way of getting your foot in the door is to take up freelance work. One website I found useful is Video Game Journalist Jobs where you can apply for freelance work.
Unlike the other roles, a video game journalist salary can vary greatly. From non-paying to £50,000 depending on experience.
Video Game Artist
Games are an extremely visual media. Therefore they need designers to create the look of the game. From characters to the user interface, and also the environments.
Unlike journalism there is no need to go out and meet people. If your an introvert this is a perfect job for you. Depending on the size of the studio you may only need to liaise with a few people.
The range of artwork that a artist will need to produce can either be 2D or 3D. 2D elements can be the graphical interface or maps.
The 3D work can range from the environments to character models. Usually taking the work from the 2D artists and turning them into 3D elements. It is important that both artists liaise with each other to produce the best assets.
There is a lot of opportunity for an artist to grow. They can specialise in a specific area and become a senior artist. Or they can become a lead artist, who runs the team and makes decisions to meet the studios needs.
To become a video game artist you will need a degree in computer games design, graphic design or animation. The salary ranges from £18,000 to £35,000 a year
A Video game developer works on the coding sections of the game. They can focus on a wide range of applications within the video game.
Depending on the size of the studio and the size of the game in development, will require a different amount of workload and expertise.
If the studio is relatively big, then a game developer will focus on one specific area. They may work on the game’s physics or the interaction between the user and user interface. Or they could be coding the story or quest system.
For a small studio with fewer employees, a gaming developer needs to be a jack-of-all-trades. They will need to develop all aspects of the game via the code. Even in a small team they will need to have at least some understanding of all the areas of the game.
For most roles in a big studio, you will need a Bachelor’s degree in gaming design or computer science. However many of the smaller studios will accept you if you are self taught. The salary ranges from £28,000 up to £72,000 per year.
A game tester, or quality assurance is where you have to test the game for various bugs and any issues that the game may have. These may not be a result of a bug but a design choice which the tester must advise.
This requires the game tester to repeatedly play the game over and over again while trying to find ways to break it. Games are now very large, so finding a bug and repeating the steps to create it can be a very time consuming task.
Another aspect is checking how the user interfaces with the system. If there are design choices that may harm the enjoyment of the game, a game tester needs to bring this to the attention of the developers so that the game can be as bug free as possible.
To become a video game tester you will need a degree in computer science programming or a related field. There are opportunities to get into the role without a degree, but there are very few of them. The salary can range from £18,000 up to £24,000 per year.
Gaming Audio Engineer
Though most of the game is played visually. The audio is also a very important part of the game. This is more so depending on the genre.
A video game sound engineer needs to create a library of audio clips that can be used for the game that is currently in development. Sometimes these clips are readily available from a previous project. But at other times the audio engineer needs to be able to create them.
The video game sound engineer isn’t just limited to creating sound effects, but also the music that is played in the background. They need to be able to either find or create music that compliments the game’s themes.
This is a perfect role for someone who enjoys either making music or listening to music. But to apply for one of these roles you will need a degree in a related field such as Sound engineering. The salary can range from £18,000 up to £40,000 depending on years of experience and education.
These are the main roles that the video game industry have. There are many other roles such finance, customer service, publishing etc. So if the above careers don’t interest you, there are many more roles out there with fewer requirements.