Video Game Design Careers & Job Outlook

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Now that you’ve become interested in earning a video game design degree, you may be wondering about video game design careers and salaries. The average video game designer salary may vary because there are several different aspects of the industry which you may consider entering. You might be drawn to a technical job or you may lean more toward a creatively conceptual position—your path depends on your passion. Below, you’ll find some job titles associated with the skills that may be in demand in the video game industry. Keep in mind that job titles, opportunities, and salary may be contingent on region, industry, experience, and demand at the time.

life cycle of video game design

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Multimedia Artist and Animator

Several of the job titles that are in the video game industry may fall under the heading of a multimedia artist and/or animator. Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data for individual titles that are found in the video game design world—such as storyboard artist, 3D animator, character animator, user interface artist—below is the median information for jobs that may be listed under multimedia artist and animator descriptions.

Median annual salary: $61,370[1]
Job projection: 6% through 2022[1]

Graphic Designer

Either by hand or by computer software, graphic designers are the people who bring ideas and concepts for video games to life in the visual sense. If a video game creator comes up with an idea for a character, he or she might go to a graphic designer to sketch out how the character will actually look. Similar to a multimedia artist or animator, job descriptions for specific art jobs in the video game industry may be broadly listed under graphic design. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that about 24% of graphic designers were self-employed in 2012.

Median annual salary: $44,150[2]
Job projection: 7% through 2022[2]

Art Director

Nearly any business that puts out a visual product—magazines, television production, video games—needs an art director to oversee the production of art. An art director may be in charge of creating a project’s concept design and overseeing other artists in order to bring the creative concept into fruition.

Median annual salary: $80,880[3]
Job projection: 3% through 2022[3]

Software Developer

Software developers are the designers of computer programs and applications, which can include developing the concepts behind video games. A software developer in the video game industry may be the person to test the game with users and fix any issues that come up during play. Software developers often need to gain highly proficient technical skills and sometimes work first as computer programmers, garnering experience that warrants the significantly high median salary.

Median annual salary: $93,350[4]
Job projection: 22% through 2022[4]

Computer Programmer

In the video game industry, a computer programmer may be in charge of taking a concept that a software developer has for the game and turning it into the actual computer code that controls how the game functions. Computer programmers are involved in the very technical side of video game creation and usually work with writing code.

Median annual salary: $74,280[5]
Job projection: 8% through 2022[5]

[1] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm  [2] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm  [3] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm  [4] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm  [5] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm

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