Q: Can someone actually make enough money developing video games to earn a living?
A: You can earn a good living working in the video game industry. It is a growing industry that is opening up many doors for qualified job applicants. However…some people think that because the product is a game, that this is a job for slackers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. People working on video game design put in long hours when they are developing a new game. There is a large investment of time and money to bring a new game to the public, and companies are looking for job applicants who not only have the creative chops to work in the industry, but they also value the ability to work as part of a team.
Q: What kind of training do I need to get started in the video game industry?
A. There is no single path to getting hired to work on video games for a living. There are some people who work as game developers, for example, who are self-taught. Other people working in the industry have obtained an associate’s or undergraduate degree in one of the following areas of study:
Other people working in the video game industry come to it with a more general education, such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Fine Arts.
One approach to deciding what kind of training you would need to work in the industry is to figure out what job title you are interested in obtaining on graduation and then working backwards to find out what type and level of education you need to get hired in that capacity. It’s also a good idea to choose a program that is flexible enough to qualify you for other positions if you are not successful in getting hired in the video game industry right away.
Q: How do I find my first job in the video game industry?
A. The computer and video game industry, like many others, is highly competitive, and networking is a great way to get your foot in the door with an employer. If you choose a program offering an internship or co-op program, take advantage of it to show a prospective employer what you can do. Your instructors and professors can also be a good source of leads, so be sure to ask them who they know that you should be approaching about employment opportunities.
You do have the option of applying to studios directly. Keep in mind that these companies are receiving applications constantly. One way to make sure yours doesn’t get discarded is to follow the instructions you are given to the letter. Many otherwise qualified candidates have had their information discarded because they didn’t apply at the time and in the manner the employer requested.