Computer and Video Game Designers
Software publishers (such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard) are found throughout the country, though most are located in California, Texas, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts. Electronic Arts is one of the largest independent publishers of interactive entertainment, including several development studios; the company is known worldwide. Big media companies also have interactive entertainment departments. Jobs may be available at these companies as well as with online services and interactive networks, which are growing rapidly.
Some companies are involved in producing games only for play on computers; others make games for various platforms.
There are a couple of ways to begin earning money as a game designer: independently or as an employee of a company. It is more realistic to get any creative job you can in the industry (for example, as an artist, a play tester, a programmer, or a writer) and learn as you go, developing your design skills as you work your way up to the level of designer.
In addition to a professional resume, it is a good idea to have your own Web site, where you can showcase your demos. Make sure you have designed at least one demo or have an impressive portfolio of design ideas and documents.
Other ways to find a job in the industry include going to job fairs (such as the Computer Game Developers Conference, http://www.gdconf.com), where you find recruiters looking for creative people to work at their companies, and checking in with online user groups, which often post jobs on the Internet.
Also consider looking for an internship to prepare for this career. Many software and entertainment companies hire interns for short-term assignments.
Just as with many jobs, to have better opportunities to advance their position and possibly earn more money, computer and video game designers have to keep up with technology. They must be willing to constantly learn more about design, the industry, and even financial and legal matters involved in development.
Becoming and remaining great at their job may be a career-long endeavor for computer and video game designers, or just a stepping-stone to another area of interactive entertainment. Some designers start out as artists, writers, or programmers, learning enough in these jobs to eventually design. For example, a person entering this career may begin as a 3-D animation modeler and work on enough game life cycles to understand what it takes to be a game designer. He or she may decide to specialize in another area, such as sound effects or even budgeting.
Some designers rise to management positions, such as president or vice president of a software publisher. Others write for magazines and books, teach, or establish their own game companies.
Tips for Entry
Visit http://aidb.com for a database of thousands of animation-related companies.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
- Animation World Network: http://www.awn.com
- CreativeHeads.net: http://www.creativeheads.net
- GameJobs.com: http://www.gamejobs.com
- Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com
- Dice: http://www.dice.com
Attend the Game Developers Conference (http://www.gdconf.com) to network and interview for jobs.
Start developing a digital portfolio of your work, or create your own Web site, so that you are ready to begin looking for jobs once you graduate. Include only your best work.
Participate in Women in Games International's GameMentorOnline program. Visit https://getwigi.com/mentoring for more information.