Video Game Designer Career Profile

There are many different video game designer jobs in many different fields. However, each field has a very different profile. Below, you’ll find detailed profiles for the 4 most common video game design jobs.

Programmer

The average programmer with less than 3 years of experience can expect to start at around $50,000 a year. As you gain experience, you can be promoted to game engineer, lead programmer, and eventually to technical director. The more experience you have and the more promotions you achieve, the higher the salary goes.

Programming video games is a time-consuming, repetitive process that involves months of tedious coding. You are required to have a degree in programming, preferably in video game-friendly C++, and the ability to enjoy this kind of work is a huge plus.

Concept Artist

The inexperienced concept artist can expect to make about $41,500 a year, which increases along with your experience.

Almost the complete opposite of the programmer, the concept artist rarely goes anywhere near the nuts-and-bolts code of the game itself. Instead, they are given assignments to flesh out something visually from a description the game writers have concocted. They sketch, paint, model and sometimes create 3D computer models of vehicles, characters, landscapes, buildings, weapons, and pretty much anything else that is presented visually to the player.

An artistic background, preferably from a video game-specific design program, is required in this field. A natural flair and a creative imagination are also huge plusses.

Sound Designers

One of the highest-paid positions in the video game industry, sound designers have a starting salary of around $55,000 a year with less than three years experience. This salary increases dramatically as their experience allows them greater creative power.

Everything audible in a video game from the sound of the weapons all the way to the light dripping of water needs to be recorded, edited, and produced by sound designers. In the case of games like Halo and Gears of War, sound designers must create new sounds completely from scratch to give voice to fictional weapons, creatures, and vehicles never before seen on Earth.

A degree in sound design is crucial, since the recording process requires dense technical knowledge and an appreciation of minor differences in recording levels.

Quality Assurance


There are two different types of quality assurance personnel; the game testers and quality assurance leaders.

Game testers start at around $30,000 a year, but can make a name for themselves within the video game industry and rise to $50,000 or more in a relatively short space of time.

To become a game tester you need to follow industry news, play the latest games, and review them based on strict quality standards, with a focus on glitches and bugs. Keep a written record of your reviews, and apply to game companies regularly.

Quality assurance leaders have an opening salary around $40,000 with less than 3 years of experience. Once 6 or more years of experience are obtained, the wages can be expected to hit $50,000 or more, up to a record $215,000 yearly salary.

I hope this helps you choose your new career wisely, and good luck!