May 24, 2023
10 mins read
As the massive popularity of video games continues to grow around the world, so does the expansion of jobs in the video game industry. In fact, the volume and variety of video game careers will probably surprise you. Read on to learn about 18 exciting game industry jobs that you might want to pursue after earning a college degree in a video game-related field.
8 Potential Entry-Level Jobs in the Video Game Industry
All kinds of game-creating jobs exist among the moving pieces of the video game industry. Many of these jobs are available to newcomers with the right education and credentials. Here are just eight of the many positions you could secure with a relevant bachelor’s degree.
1. Game Designer
Video game designers play an integral role in the game development process by assisting in rule formation, user interface, storyline creation, player objectives, operational mechanics, and the design of both characters and levels. To ensure that each game is as engaging and enjoyable as possible, game designers try to maintain an ideal pace of play and a perfect balance between difficulty and reward. They typically work under the direct supervision of senior team leaders.
2. Video Game Programmer
A highly technical part of the video game production and programming process involves writing the computer code upon which games are based. In fact, all video game elements, from visual design and sound effects to play mechanics and environmental physics, are a product of these codes. After writing code to develop a game, programmers must test that code thoroughly to ensure that it delivers on all expectations. Through testing, programmers can eliminate bugs and glitches to ensure the game runs smoothly.
3. Game Animator and Artist
While these titles are often used interchangeably and the positions share much in common, the video game animator and artist have slightly different professional focuses. Concentrating on visual appeal and fluid motion, animators are responsible for using software tools to bring characters and other onscreen elements “to life.” This might include difficult and detailed work such as delicate facial animation and syncing lips to voiceover dialog. Video game artists pay more specific attention to the aesthetic design of each visual element to achieve an overall artistic vision. Larger video game development teams might include art directors, character designers, setting artists, texture artists, and user interface artists.
4. Video Game Writer
In the very earliest days of video game production, onscreen visuals often lacked any accompanying gaming storyline. But today, a good narrative hook is just as important as the overall look and feel of a video game. In fact, the modern video game has grown to reflect many of the priorities of a Hollywood movie, with aesthetic design and gameplay elements serving the game’s underlying story. Video game writers not only script this story, but they are responsible for composing all onscreen text and character dialogue. As the narrative arcs of video games continue to get more complex, the demand for good video game writers continues to rise.
5. Audio Engineers and Sound Designers
While the animator/artist focuses on visuals and the writer focuses on narrative, the audio engineer focuses on the audio elements of a video game. Working closely with other team members, they endeavor to create a highly immersive sound experience that is compatible with the game’s look and storyline. Auditory components common to video games include sound effects, dialogue, ambient sounds, and music. While audio engineers do not generally compose the music for video games, they are responsible for mixing it with other sonic elements and ensuring that it sounds as good as possible. Audio engineers typically work under a sound designer who is responsible for managing all audio on a video game project.
6. Video Game Tester
After a video game is made, it must be thoroughly tested to ensure it’s free of bugs, glitches, and other problems that might negatively impact the gameplay experience. For this reason, video game companies employ teams of testers who repeatedly play each game before it is released to the public. Although it may sound like a dream job to play video games all day, testers must be adept at creating test plans to assess each game clearly and accurately they play. They must also excel at producing bug and feedback reports that give game developers the information they need to drive improvements.
7. Technical Support Specialist
The technical support specialist is in a unique position to help improve video games even after their release to the public. A solid entry-level position in the video game industry, technical support revolves around fielding complaints from and providing assistance to players experiencing technical problems with a game. While helping customers directly, tech support specialists also report bugs and other issues to the development team, who can use this information for game optimization.
8. Creative Director
While it may be possible to land a creative director position with an undergraduate degree, you will likely need to garner a significant amount of professional experience in preparation for this leadership position. The creative director oversees all creative video game development processes and operations, from initial concept brainstorming to final product rollout. Much like the director of a film, these directors are ultimately responsible for all creative project elements, including narrative, characters, setting, visuals, sound design, and music. They try to get the very most out of the available budget to create the most original, compelling, innovative, and (ideally) profitable game possible.
Five Video Game Jobs Attainable with a Relevant Master's Degree
With some targeted advanced training and workplace experience, you can acquire any number of senior positions in the video game industry. Most of these higher-level positions come with compensation and benefits to match. A master’s degree in the right discipline can go a long way if you want to take one of these five career paths.
1. Video Game Producer
Much like a video game creative director resembles a film director, a video game producer resembles a film producer. Although they leave most artistic decisions to the director, the producer (of either a movie or a video game) is ultimately responsible for leading the entire project from start to finish. After ensuring that the project at hand has sufficient funding, the producer guides its progression while remaining on budget and maintaining the proper scope. Specific duties of a video game producer include hiring, scheduling, and managing effective communication with all internal team members and external partners.
2. Product Manager
While producers are generally in charge of all aspects of a single video game product in development, a product manager typically directs business strategy for multiple video game products with a focus on maximizing profitability. Therefore, product managers rarely work directly with individual creative or developmental team members but rather with producers, executives, investors, and other professionals on the business side of the video game industry. For this reason, video game product managers must have significant business administration skills and may hold an MBA in addition to game design expertise.
3. Network Manager
While early hardware and cartridge/disc-based video games were largely self-contained, today’s games support online connectivity that allows players to interact with a central game network and compete against other players from around the world. The network manager is tasked with establishing and maintaining all the technical and operational components of a game’s servers and network infrastructure. In addition to ensuring stable and reliable gameplay, network managers must direct appropriate security measures to protect game networks from cyberattacks and cheating.
4. Gaming Technical Manager
Oftentimes, the level of technical expertise needed to develop various aspects of video games exceeds that of the programmers and other professionals on the team. This is where the gaming technical manager comes in. Working closely with project producers, creative directors, and individual team members, the gaming technical manager oversees the highly technical components of the development process, from the basic game engine to the final online network infrastructure.
5. Executive of a Video Game Company
Business-minded video game professionals may ultimately want to establish their own companies or assume administrative control of an existing company. To succeed in this high-level leadership position, you will need the proper knowledge and skills in both the technical and business arenas. In addition to assuming final responsibility for all daily operations and finances, the top executive of a gaming company must make strategic decisions that impact the growth and future success of the company.
Five Careers that Interact with the Video Game Industry
As the video game industry continues to expand, it requires a considerable amount of assistance from professionals in other sectors and fields. Whether it comes in the form of business partnerships, contract work, or technology services, the help provided by these industry-adjacent professionals is extremely important. In fact, it would be impossible to make a good video game without them.
1. Game Investor
Of course, video game development comes at a financial cost, making game investors an indispensable piece of the development puzzle. Providing upfront development funding in exchange for a share in future profits, investors will seek out projects most likely to make them the greatest return on investment. Game investors can be individuals or organizations and embrace venture capital, private equity, or angel investment lending models. Depending on the approach taken, investors may provide strategic guidance along with financial support.
2. Composer or Orchestrator
While some large video game companies may hire full-time composers or orchestrators to write the music for their products, the industry standard is to work with independent contractors who may make music for independent release or to pair with a broad spectrum of commercial or artistic projects. After writing the music for a particular game, these professionals generally use digital production techniques or record live human musicians to deliver finished music to game producers and creative directors. Because music often overlaps with sound effects and ambient sounds within the audio design of a game, composers and orchestrators often assume or share responsibility for these sonic elements as well.
3. Virtual Reality Creator
Any video game company that wants to introduce a virtual reality (VR) game into its product line must have at least one expert in this field on its development team. Whether they are in a leadership position or hired to play a support role, virtual reality creators design and implement immersive VR experiences that use special computer equipment and user interfaces to transport users to an entirely digital, 3D environment. A range of highly specialized processes and tools are needed to accomplish this marvel of modern technology, and a VR creator has a firm mastery of them.
4. Translator or Interpreter
One factor fueling the ongoing success of the video game market is its truly global nature. No matter what its country of origin happens to be, the typical popular video game knows no geographic borders when it comes to player appeal and unit sales. However, games must be translated into other languages before they can attract players in other places. Therefore, the video game industry is in constant need of translators and interpreters to complete this complex process. These skilled professionals must remain true to the original verbal content while ensuring that all translations are culturally sensitive and idiomatically correct.
5. Voice Actor or Game Actor
In days gone by, actors in the video game industry could display their vocal talents alone, performing line readings of the dialog that will be spoken by onscreen characters that are entirely digital. For this reason, these jobs were commonly performed by voice actors or voiceover artists. While voice talent still plays a prominent role in the video game production sector, modern motion-capture technology has made it possible for creative directors to record the physical performance of actors as well. This means that actors can control the actions and provide the voice of their onscreen characters, essentially “puppeting” a digital avatar.
Take the Next Step with Lindenwood Online!
At Lindenwood University Online, we can help you make your video game industry dreams come true no matter what specific career path you choose to travel. In addition to offering both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Game Design, we have a broad spectrum of technology, art and design, communications, and business programs that can get you closer to the professional future in gaming that you have long imagined.
To learn more about Lindenwood University Online and the programs we offer, fill out a secure request information form.
Share this article: