10 Jobs in Video Game Development
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published April 26, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Video game development is an attractive career and an increasingly popular industry due to the large demand for video games. Careers in this industry can be lucrative and fulfilling, especially for individuals passionate about video games. Knowing about different jobs in video game development, including their primary duties and salaries, can help you decide whether this career path aligns with your professional goals. In this article, we outline career paths available within the field of video game development and provide information about their duties, salaries and qualifications.
What is video game development?
Video game development refers to creating a video game—starting with an idea or concept and ending with a real product that users can interact with on their consoles or gaming devices. The video game development process consists of four major parts, including:
At this stage, a game development team determines the purpose of a game, the intended audience, the market and the publication platforms. They also determine the monetization plans, the budget, staffing requirements and the project's timeline.
Game design document (GDD)
The game design document helps guide each team member working on a game development project. It includes information about the concept of the game, the genre, story, characters and game mechanics. The document also covers gameplay, artwork, monetization strategy and level and world design. Game designers and developers continue to update this document throughout a project's life cycle.
Game developers use prototyping to test elements of a proposed game to ensure that there are no glitches or technical issues. They start with sketches and paper designs to test their ideas and validate concepts. Any game that passes through this stage moves to the production stage.
During production, programmers write programming code for the game, designers build levels and the entire team refines the assets and creates rules. Here, they determine the visuals, sound, colors and environment of the game, making sure they have a combination that appeals to a specific audience.
10 careers in video game development
Here are some of the best video game development positions for qualified candidates:
National average salary: $43,259 per year
Primary duties: A video game animator uses specialized software to develop the graphic elements and images in a video game. Their work is essential in game development because they create appealing visual effects for games. Animators create elements in the game environment, including characters, scenes and settings. They also ensure that background items and settings complement the gameplay.
Read more: Learn About Being an Animator
National average salary: $43,802 per year
Primary duties: A technical support specialist troubleshoots problems that customers may experience while playing games. Although this role becomes useful at the end of the development cycle, it is still important to the entire game development process. Technical support specialists are often familiar with both the software and hardware of a game, making it easier to provide solutions to problems that video game users experience.
National average salary: $47,767 per year
Primary duties: A computer programmer writes code that powers applications such as video games. These professionals update video game software to enhance gameplay and fix issues that can hinder a user's experience. Becoming a computer programmer often requires mastering several coding languages and having excellent attention to detail.
Read more: Learn About Being a Computer Programmer
National average salary: $54,318 per year
Primary duties: A video game tester provides quality assurance services for game development companies. They play games to detect errors and glitches that could affect a user's experience. Video game testers continue to test the game throughout the development cycle. These professionals report errors discovered during mock play sessions to the development team for correction.
National average salary: $58,112 per year
Primary duties: A technical writer for a video game company writes guides and instruction manuals that explain how to operate game software and hardware. A technical writer provides customers with information to install and play video games without experiencing technical issues. These professionals are important in game development because they explain complex gameplay instructions for gamers.
Read more: Learn About Being a Technical Writer
National average salary: $61,301 per year
Primary duties: A video game designer is a professional who designs the elements of video games by collaborating with other professionals. They create the underlying concepts guiding the gameplay and design the internal mechanics of a game. Game designers also create characters, develop plot lines for video games and control the aesthetic aspects of a game, such as its themes, to increase its appeal.
National average salary: $66,521 per year
Primary duties: A marketing manager coordinates the marketing activities for a company's products, services and branding. A marketing manager uses research data to formulate strategies to increase customer engagement, revenue and brand recognition. They collaborate with advertising and promotions managers to generate awareness for product launches.
Read more: Learn About Being a Marketing Manager
National average salary: $77,219 per year
Primary duties: An audio engineer is responsible for producing distinctive sounds for video games and other media applications. These professionals combine creativity and technical knowledge to develop sounds. They record and edit character voices, sound effects and background music. An audio engineer is also responsible for creating the soundtrack that accompanies a game. They mix and master artists' recordings and edit them to match a game's themes and mood.
National average salary: $92,710 per year
Primary duties: A creative director oversees the visual aspects of a game or other visual content or products. Creative directors develop a plan that guides the visual development of video games. They work with designers, actors and animators during a product's development cycle. They usually oversee the gameplay, audio assets, visuals, storyline and marketing materials.
Read more: Learn About Being a Creative Director
National average salary: $100,480 per year
Primary duties: A technical director for a video game development company oversees the operations of a game development studio. They work with programmers and developers and facilitate the creation of quality code that enhances game performance. A technical director is one of the highest-ranking individuals in a game development studio. They coordinate various aspects of the technical development of a game and ensure that the final product meets client requirements.
Read more: Learn About Being a Technical Director
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