The good ol' U.S. of A. is No.1 in a lot of things, including the video game market. Whether on mobile phones, social networking websites or game consoles, millions of Americans are playing games; others are making those games and making six-figure salaries. How? They're bright and well-educated. They have to be, to understand the computer programming languages, advanced math (yep, like "matrix mathematics" and "quaternion algebra"), physics and even artificial intelligence that's needed to design and develop a video game.
Most video game designers have a four-year bachelor's degree, but until recently, a video game design degree didn't even exist. Artists picked up experience in computer development and computer programmers picked up skills in design. These days, there are more tailored programs for aspiring video game professionals. If you have other education or training, you may only need a few video game design courses or a certificate in video game design to transition to the career or get an entry-level position as a video game tester.
Fun work makes for a fun work place
In addition to getting paid to make video games, you can work in what's typically a relaxed office atmosphere. At Bethesda Softworks in Maryland, employees play video games at lunch. What better victory to beat an opponent at a game he or she created--and at work! The building has a pool table, a movie theater and its own chef. With a career in video game design, why would you want to go home?
Video Game Designer Career Outlook
- Video game industry stats, 2009: More than $10 Billion in sales
- Video game industry employment, 2009: More than 32,000 people in 34 states
- Average annual pay in 2010: $49,000 for quality assurance testers to $107,000 for business professionals