How To Get Into the Gaming Industry
Updated December 9, 2022
If you enjoy playing video games and want to build your own or otherwise be involved in the processes, perhaps you should pursue a role in the gaming industry. There are many job opportunities available in this field well-suited for your strengths, qualifications and interests. Landing a role in this industry can a challenge, but there are ways to get your work noticed by gaming professionals. In this article, we explore what the gaming industry is, how to get into it and the different types of careers you can pursue within this field.
What is the gaming industry?
The gaming industry is a cluster of jobs centered on the marketing, development and overall creation of video games. Those who work in the gaming industry typically learn how to build video games that entertain players and contain visually appealing graphics. There are several different specialties within the video gaming field, from animations to audio engineering to program development.
How to get into the gaming industry
Since it's a popular industry, it can be difficult getting into the video game creation field if you have little to no experience. Luckily, there are various ways you can gain expertise and knowledge in the industry to eventually earn a career in it. Follow these steps to successfully get into the gaming industry:
1. Spend time on video game discussion boards
There are many online video game discussion boards where users share advice and tips on the video game industry. This allows you to gain extensive knowledge of video games and what it's like to work in that field. Some users will also publish their own video games and receive feedback from others on what to improve.
If you have prototypes of video games you've created that you'd like to share, you can post them on the discussion boards as well. Some executive game designers browse these boards, so they may view your game and provide helpful feedback. They may even offer you a role at the gaming company where they work.
2. Build a gaming blog
If you're interested in writing about gaming or if you'd like to demonstrate your advanced gaming knowledge to potential employers, you can do so with a blog. You can create a blog for the gaming community that features stories about your gaming experience, tips to follow when playing certain games or reviews about newly released games. Experts in the gaming industry may locate your blog, enjoy your work and reach out to you for feedback or potential opportunities.
3. Create your own games
Many employers require or prefer candidates to have experience creating games, which can be difficult for entry level employees to obtain. Take courses online to learn how to make games and earn certifications in certain software systems that you can include on your resume.
You can also build a portfolio that features your homemade games. This way, you can still showcase your experience creating games, even if you haven't worked at a video game company. There are also some companies that hire freelance video game developers to design or help build their games. Showcasing your freelance work is another way to make your resume stand out, even if you don't have experience physically working in a video game company.
Related: Types of Video Game Designer Jobs
4. Earn your college degree
A great way to learn about the video game industry, develop an advanced skill set and gain valuable connections is to pursue a bachelor's degree in video game development or game art and design. Apply the skills and education you develop toward the career you pursue. You can also feature your class projects on your portfolio to showcase to hiring managers. When pursuing this program, you can take courses that teach you coding, animation, scripting, drawing and using common software systems.
5. Pursue entry level and internship roles
Conduct research to locate available positions within the video gaming industry and find ones that appeal the most to you. Some entry level roles involve testing video games, which rarely require a degree or professional experience. Working as a video game tester can help you better understand how the gaming industry operates to help you realize if you still want to work in it. If you perform well as a video game tester, your chances of moving up to more advanced designing or developing roles will grow.
You can also pursue an internship in game development if you have basic art, sound design or programming skills. Research potential internship programs that video game companies may offer. This is a great way to build connections within the industry and to learn which specific career you'd like to pursue, if you're unsure. Some companies choose to hire their interns full time if they're impressed with their work.
6. Work in a gaming studio
Once you've gained extensive knowledge, experience and abilities, you can pursue a role at a gaming studio. Update your resume to include any related job duties, education or skills you've earned that make you a great fit for the role. You can also share your portfolio featuring your projects or games to stand out to hiring managers. Some gaming studios hire employees to work in non-development roles at first and allow them to later move up to development, animation or design positions.
Jobs in the gaming industry
There are a wide variety of gaming industry jobs available that you can pursue depending on your skills, interests and education. Below you will find a list of common jobs within the gaming industry, where you can also find up-to-date salary information from Indeed by clicking on the salary link by each job title:
National average salary: $44,397 per year
Primary duties: An animator uses computers, software systems and other technical devices to design moving images that relay certain messages, information or stories. Their main duties include creating storyboards, reviewing writers' scripts to accurately tell stories, altering animations according to clients' needs and presenting final designs to clients.
Related: Learn About Being an Animator
National average salary: $48,341 per year
Primary duties: A computer programmer designs, builds and maintains software systems and computer infrastructures. Other responsibilities are using coding languages to build and debug programs, testing and building computer structures, writing computer instructions, editing source-codes and applying updates to systems according to users' needs.
National average salary: $59,435 per year
Primary duties: Game designers use coding languages to create the characters, stories, props, settings and rules for video games. Additional responsibilities include pitching new game stories and ideas to clients and other employees, managing artists, programmers, audio engineers and animators, creating prototypes for new games and conducting quality control on games before releasing them.
National average salary: $91,890 per year
Primary duties: An application developer, also known as a software developer, creates and modifies coding for software or mobile applications. Their main duties include customizing software systems for certain computer or phone programs, designing prototype applications, testing source codes and troubleshooting current software or mobile applications to add updates.
National average salary: $96,882 per year
Primary duties: Audio engineers use different types of sound equipment to enhance, record, create and edit sound on various media forms, such as radio, television, video games, music or film. Other responsibilities are assembling sound equipment for events or studio recordings, selecting the right mixing and sound equipment according to client needs and preferences, designing various audio systems and troubleshooting sound equipment regularly to ensure it operates properly.
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