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How to Become a Video Game Designer

A man designing characters on a computer

A generation ago, the idea that video games could be anything more than a novelty, much less a career option, might have seemed laughable. Today, however, video games are emerging not only as one of the hottest sectors in tech, but as a genuine cultural force that transcends nation, language, and even age. Millions of people tune in just to watch other people play games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, and hundreds of millions play games like Fortnite every day. Video games are a booming business and offer people passionate about gaming, art, and design excellent career prospects in the near and long-term future.

Why Become a Video Game Designer?

A professional video game designer should be passionate about video games, of course, but there is so much more to it than that. Video games combine elements of visual storytelling, graphic design, programming, artistic creativity, world building, strategy, and more to ignite passion. If a career that blends these fun and challenging elements sounds interesting, then a career as a video game designer might be a good fit.

What Does a Career in Video Game Design Look Like?

Like many careers, a video game designer's job may vary greatly depending on where they work. Big game companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, and Electronic Arts cultivate a fun and laid-back atmosphere that encourages collaboration and camaraderie. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of designers (59 percent) are self-employed as freelancers who may be hired on by larger companies to complete special projects. Many of these designers work from home. The average salary also varies based on who designers work for and where they work, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean annual wage is around $72,200 for multimedia artists and animators.

What Skills Does a Video Game Designer Need?

At its core, video game design bridges the divide between art and technology. Designers need computer skills as well as artistic skills to be successful. Video game design is also not a traditional nine-to-five type job, as major projects often have hard deadlines. That means people in this profession need to be skilled at time-management and meeting deadlines, working both independently and as part of a team to complete tasks.

If you are interested in learning more about a career in video game design, the Tulane School of Professional Advancement can help. Our digital design degree offers a track specializing in game art and animation. We offer financial assistance to qualifying students and the possibility of earning credits for prior learning. Learn about the Tulane SoPA student experience or read more about the exciting digital design program.

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