The gaming industry is considered to have one of the fastest growing job markets in the country. This industry makes over eight billion dollars in revenue annually. Because of this, employers are looking for the best designers, programmers and quality assurance techs in the field. The video game design salary will depend on the company you work for, the position you work in (assistant or lead designer), and the state you work in. Educational background will also play a part in determining your ultimate salary, in addition to work experience.
Video Game Design Salary: Entry Level Jobs
If you work as a programmer, it does not matter if you specialize in graphic engines, networking, or AI, you will earn one of the top paying salaries in this field. This is because of the extensive amount of education and training it takes to qualify for these positions and also the amount of responsibilities and tasks that are required of the programmer. To start, working in this position can offer an annual salary of around $52,000.
A design director will have a lot of responsibility as well, so they are paid at the managerial level. For individuals who have less than three years of experience in the industry, they will make an average of $58,000 annually. Those with more than four years of experience can expect to make more than $100,000 annually.
Animators with more than three years of experience in this field will make a video game design salary of $52,000 annually. Once an animator has obtained more than four years of experience, their salary will increase to $64,000. During the first few years of working in this position, the animator will work as an assistant. Advancing to independent or managerial positions after obtaining more experience will allow them to potentially make over $90,000 annually.
A game designer will make an average of $60,000 annually, according to statistics provided by the BLS. America is currently the top paying country for this field, followed by Canada.
This position can progress from a junior role, which involves working on small pieces of a game under supervision of lead designers, to a lead position, which will involve supervising junior employees. As a senior designer, they will oversee several projects at once, from start to finish, and will motivate and hire junior members of the game design team. The salary for a senior position will range from $80,000 to $98,000 annually. The higher end salary can be obtained after more than ten years of work experience.
States that Offer a Higher Video Game Design Salary
Currently, the West coast offers an average annual salary of $78,000. The lowest compensation for the video game design salary is found in southern regions, with an average of $66,000. States that offer the higher salary for the gaming industry include California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. States that offer the lower salary for this field include Alabama, Texas, Kentucky and Arkansas.
Type of Experience Required to Succeed in This Career
Now that you know the salaries can vary depending on your experience and also on where you live, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the type of experience needed in this field. While the points mentioned below are geared toward those who desire to become a designer, these are the basic skills that people look for in every position mentioned above.
What Type of Education Will You Need to Succeed in Gaming?
Because gaming has become such a highly competitive field over the last few years, it is wise to make yourself stand out in any way possible if you want to succeed in this career. That being said, like any other occupation, those who have degrees and education in the area they are applying for already put themselves a step above those who do not.
It does not matter how much experience you have in other areas, or how long you have been doing this. If you are the only one in a pile of resumes who does not have some sort of official education in this area, you will be pushed to the bottom of the pile.
You can attend a traditional college or university to get your education. Many schools offer countless classes that are directly related to video game design. However, if you really want to stand out, you should attend some type of technology or art institute, where they actually focus on this type of work and have specialized programs for aspiring gamers.
Another option is online school. You can find countless ways to receive your education online which is great if you are busy, or unable to attend classes.
It is wise to have at least an associate’s degree to even be considered for an entry-level job. However, having a bachelor’s or anything higher will put you in the top pack when it comes to employers sorting through applications and finding the perfect person for the position.
Different Classes to Consider Taking
Whether or not you are going to a school that focuses on design education, you should consider a handful of classes to take to increase your knowledge in these areas. You can either take these on your own time, or they may be required for your degree.
You should take several graphic design classes, since this is one of the key things you will be focusing on if you do this for a living. You also must enroll in any type of animation class offered, computer programming and computer science classes, and any type of tech courses. These will all have something to offer you to help expand your education and knowledge in these areas and make you the perfect candidate when it comes time to look for a job.
The best way to make a career out of gaming is to have experience. If you have a degree in what you do, you are not only proving you care enough to attain the knowledge needed to succeed, but you prove that you are aspiring to be a professional gamer.