Level Up: How to launch an awesome career in Video Game Development
Video games are to be found everywhere these days, not just at arcades. You can play them on consoles, over mobile devices, and on the Internet. With such diverse options and millions of us looking for the latest titles to add to our collection, the gaming industry now offers a huge selection of employment opportunities for those that understand it and its specialized needs.
For a professional aspiring to enter the video-game industry, the opportunities are plenty, as are the career trajectories. You can choose to become a programmer, a designer who is able to bring characters to life as a designer, or a scripter who comes up with nifty ways to control causality in a game, such as an evil character who has a hard time progressing in the game. Whatever you choose, you’ll find that a career in this field will never be boring.
However, it is worth keeping in mind that down the line, after you’ve worked in the industry a number of years, your responsibilities may shift to devising general game philosophy and production, rather than hands-on design.
What’s The Lure Of A Career In Game Development?
To begin with, talented game developers make some of the highest salaries in the industry. A qualified, certified game developer can also work on a variety of different roles over the course of their career, meaning career fatigue never sets in.
A culture of creative freedom pervades the video-game industry, and, as game developer, you often have a highly rewarding environment in which to work.
Demand for game developers: Over the last few years, we have seen a steady increase in the number of jobs available in this industry, drawing professionals from different backgrounds and differing skillsets. As a result, you’ll find a career in gaming professionally enriching, since you will have the benefit of fresh perspectives.
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Stages Of A Career In Game Development
A basic degree in computer engineering would be a plus, although not a prerequisite.
These days, there are a number of colleges and universities that offer courses specifically relating to game development and game design. The main benefit of actually choosing to enroll on such courses is that you get specific, hands-on training, as well as the opportunity to take up live projects in industry. Many such certified professionals often get their first job through work placement as part of their degree course. It is important to check out the course thoroughly to ensure that it is the right option for you.
Here’s a few courses you may wish to consider:
1. Computer Science
2. Software Engineering
3. Animation or Graphic Design
4. Fine Art or Illustration
7. Multimedia and Computer Game Design
The other option available to you is to get a job as a QA (Quality Assurance) tester in the gaming industry. For this job, you don’t actually need a degree, but it is important that you have plenty of gaming experience, and in-depth knowledge of the various gaming platforms, styles and genres. You may also find that basic programming skills prove useful.
When applying for such positions employers tend to want to see proof of your skills and creativity. So create a portfolio showing them what you are capable of, which might also include a complete project, such as a game you developed in your spare time. Even listing ideas for games would be useful. Don’t forget to also include any artwork or animation you may have done in the past.
Furthermore, attending events like games festivals, hackathons, or conferences can help immensely, as it helps you build and cultivate a professional network and demonstrates your commitment to the industry. Working on freeware games that are released to sample audiences for no price would be another way to increase the size of your audience\consumer-base.
Later on, you may want to think about learning more skills relating to software and programming. Especially in relation to programs such as C++, C#, ActionScript, Java, 3DS Max, Photoshop, DirectX, OpenGL or Maya.
Roles you may land
The kinds of roles you can expect to be offered as part of your career in game development include the following:
Animator – You get to work on 3D computer models designed by technical artists with animation packages like Maya, AfterEffects, and 3DS Max, designing a range of movements for the skeletal frame. You’ll work alongside programmers and testers.
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Digital Video Sound Editor – You will be involved in the editing of the audio for the games being created. You will work closely with directors, editors, and other professional staff to analyse and evaluate the sound effects.
Games Programmer – Your role is to program and code computer games using game development engines.
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Technical Artist/3D Artist – You will create and then manipulate images and models using 2D and 3D computer graphic software. You will be working very closely with animators.
Producer/Director – You are the person who plans, manages and oversees all game development projects.
Tester – This is probably a role that many would love to have. You would the one who actually gets to test the games out to see if they work or not. Testers are generally classified by the stage the product is in, in its lifecycle, such as alpha-testers, beta-testers, etc.
What’s Work In The Gaming Industry Like?
When you become involved in game development, you’ll be expected to work alongside a number of other people with specialist skills such as artists and programmers. But what you’ll find is that no two days in this industry will ever be the same.
As part of your job there are going to be a number of different tasks you may be assigned. The kinds of tasks that you will be expected to carry out include:
- Drawing up detailed design documentation that will include diagrams and charges outlining the numerous components and concepts involved
- You may be asked to modify and document changes to programme code in order to correct errors
- You probably get to test the game and suggest\incorporate changes that will enhance its capabilities
- Get to prepare digital graphics, animations, sound, video, images and photographs for editing.
- Asked to combine structural, mechanical and artistic elements within the games environment.
You can expect to be work with like-minded people who you admire, respect and trust. You’ll also find yourself being able to work on games that you are going to be really excited and passionate about.
What Does The Future Hold, For Game Developers?
As one of the biggest revenue generators in the world of business, the global video-game industry has an annual revenue of over $100 billion. As games are packaged and launched across a range of platforms, including mobile OSes, the industry is continually expanding, and there are going to be plenty of opportunities for you to forge a really great career within this particular sector.
Although slowdowns in the pace of growth of the industry are expected, the gaming industry will never run out of steam.
Simplilearn offers a number of courses and course-packages aimed at aiding aspiring game developers reach their full potential. Why not check out some of our offerings here?
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