How to Become
a Video Game Designer

Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications

There are unlimited ways to start your game design career in 2021. You can attend a coding bootcamp, complete a degree program, and gain certificates. These are guaranteed ways to get the right skills you need to become a video game designer.

If you’re interested in this lucrative career, or you just want to learn more about game design, look no further. This comprehensive guide can teach you everything you need to know about becoming a video game designer.

Read below to learn about courses, job roles, opportunities, and more.

What Is a Video Game Designer?

A video game designer is a tech expert who develops games for consoles, mobile devices, websites, and computers. The designer is in charge of the overall design and look of the game. As a video game designer, you can specialize in character, layout, or storyline.

To be a successful video game designer, you must possess a certain level of skills. You must be creative, artistic, and innovative. You should also have strong analytical, programming, and collaborative skills.

What Does a Video Game Designer Do?

A video game designer has many roles in the process of game development. You can find many different design jobs in the gaming industry.

You can become a lead designer, game mechanics designer, or environmental designer. Below are some typical responsibilities of game designers.

Create Innovative Games

Video game designers are responsible for creating engaging video games. As part of the job, you will input computer scripting to generate commands, objects, and characters. Game designers rely on Unity, Unreal Engine 4, and GameMaker Studio to create high-quality content.

Improve Games

As part of your job as a video game designer, you may need to upgrade or improve past games. You should be able to find and fix any missing gaps or issues. This allows the user to have the best gaming experience possible.

Generate Gameplay Ideas

Video game designers need both creative and technical skills to create enjoyable games. This role requires you to develop unique characters, rules, plots, storylines, and themes. These all engage the user for the ultimate gaming experience.

Collaborate with Designers

The design process of a video game can be complicated. You will need to work with a team of game designers and game developers to find your end goal. As part of your job, you may find yourself managing different teams and projects. Nobody can develop a game by themselves.

Video Game Designer Education Pathways

If you want to start your career as a video game designer, there are lots of education pathways. You can choose to attend a four-year degree program, a short immersive bootcamp program, or a certificate course. Use program type, availability, schedule, location, and tuition cost to help you decide which option is best for you.

Video Game Designer Degrees

You can attend different game design degree programs to help you launch your career. Most video game designers have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with different programming concepts.

Other video game design degree programs include game design or interactive entertainment. These degree programs will put you at the forefront of the gaming industry. If you want to explore even more advanced concepts, you can opt for a master’s degree or even a PhD.

Video Game Designer Bootcamps

Bootcamps are a great option if you want to get real-world experience in a short amount of time. Video game development bootcamps offer an excellent alternative to four-year university degree programs. They also often offer career services to help you land a job as a video game designer after graduation.

These bootcamps are cheaper and take a much shorter time to graduate. You can find bootcamps for free or for less than $10,000. Bootcamps last from a few days to a few months. Some of the best video game design bootcamps are DaVinci Coders, Vertex School, and The Tech Academy.

Video Game Designer Courses

If you want to learn one specific topic at a time, online platforms can help you. These courses are popular among working professionals who want to increase their chances of getting a promotion or a raise. The courses are also instrumental for beginners who want to break into tech.

If you are still not sure of a gaming career, you should check out EdX courses. They can help you understand what video game design really is. Udemy also offers over 10 game design courses. You can learn Unity, C#, and other vital skills.

How to Become a Video Game Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Video Game Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Before you become a game designer, you should plan your education. This can help you stay organized and launch your career as soon as possible. Not every path is the same, but below are some general steps that can help you become a video game designer.

1

Watch YouTube tutorials

If you are foreign to video game design, you might want to learn more about it before signing up for a course. Watching different YouTube tutorials can help you know what to expect from the gaming industry.

2

Read a video game design book

Plenty of expert video game designers are ready to share their knowledge. Check out books by Jesse Schell, Tracy Fullerton, Flint Dille, and John Zurr. These are excellent books that can help broaden your horizons and learn more about the craft.

3

Attend webinars or training

In 2021, there are plenty of learning aids to help you acquire design skills faster. You can find online webinars and other training sessions to teach you different skills. This can also be a great way to network in the industry.

4

Enroll in a bootcamp

After you complete the above steps, you will be more than ready to commit to a full-time or part-time video game design bootcamp. Game design bootcamps will help you take your career to the next level in the gaming world. You can get a certificate in game design in just a few weeks.

5

Sign up for a degree program

If you have the time and money, a degree program is a great option. The University of Southern California, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Drexel University are all top universities with degrees in game design.

6

Practice

The only way to become the best video game designer in the field is by constant practice. You can work with other game designers to collaborate and work on personal projects. Maybe your idea will become the next indie game.

Top Video Game Designer Skills

Maintaining a successful career as a game designer requires more than just words on paper. You need to have video game design skills to do well in the industry. Companies want to employ video game designers who have the right skill set.

Read below to learn more about standard video game design skills.

Computer Animation

A game can have a great story and gameplay, but graphics can make or break it. As a game designer, you need to be able to visualize smooth and user-friendly animation. A course in 3D animation can help you acquire this skill.

System Analysis and Evaluation

As a game designer, you will have to closely monitor the systems you use. It is part of your job to determine how a system works and use it to your advantage. You should also be able to improve on processes or correct performance.

Programming

Most game designers have some knowledge of programming. Learning C++, Kotlin, and Swift will make you a well-rounded video game designer for Android and iOS development. However, having programming knowledge is not important unless your career path dictates it.

Video Game Designer Salary and Job Outlook

There are plenty of jobs in the video game industry. If you want to become a video game programmer or designer, you need to select an area of specialization. Video game designer jobs include lead designer, writer, content designer, and game mechanic designer.

According to PayScale, the average video game designer salary is $66,088 per year. Your video game design salary depends on your skill level and experience. If you want to increase your game design salary, you should consider adding your skills by getting certified.

Entry-Level Video Game Designer Job Requirements

If you love designing games, an entry-level design job is a great place to start. Entry-level video game designer job requirements may vary depending on the company and specialization.

To qualify for a video game design job, you should have a certificate or a degree in game design. According to ZipRecruiter, an average entry-level video game designer earns $52,169 per year. You can easily increase this number by getting more relevant skills.

How to Prepare for Your Video Game Designer Job Interview

If you want to prepare for a video game design job interview, you should check out different resources online. You can rely on YouTube for practice videos and key job interview pointers. You should always research and prepare before you enter the interview.

The gaming industry is getting more and more competitive by the day, which makes game design jobs harder to land. With the right preparation, you can land a job at a top-rated company.

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Video Game Designer Job Interview Practice Questions

  • Why did you choose to become a game designer?
  • What are your career goals as a game designer?
  • Which programming languages do you know?
  • Do you have any past game design projects?
Video Game Designer Certifications

Video Game Designer Certifications

If you don’t want to sit through a four-year degree, check out the best video game certificate programs. Having a video game certificate is instrumental if you want to start, change, or improve your career. You don’t need any formal certifications to become a game designer, but these certificate programs can showcase your skills.

Certificate in Game Design - Western Kentucky University

If you are in Bowling Green, US, you can attend two semesters of the game design program in the summer. This game design certificate course features a total of 18 credit hours. You will cover computer programming, communication, and art as part of the curriculum. This is a highly recommended course to learn game systems and game design.

Certificate in Computer Science for Game Development - Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the best schools in the country. If you want a comprehensive program from an accredited university, this is a great option. You can study full-time or part-time in Cambridge. It’s a popular course to learn different programming languages and the basics of computer science.

Video Game Design and Development Certificate - Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University offers this certificate course to help you become a video game designer. It is completely online with over 500 hours of coursework. You can learn everything you need to know about game design from the comfort of your own home. This certificate will be a great addition to your resume.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Video Game Designer?

It can take one to four years to become a video game designer, depending on which path you choose. The fastest way to become a video game designer in 2021 is by attending a video game design bootcamp. You can become a video game designer in a matter of weeks.

If you want to improve your career prospects, you might want to consider a more formal diploma. In the gaming industry, the more knowledgeable and experienced you are, the more successful you will become. There are lots of degree programs to help you get where you need to go.

Why You Should Become a Video Game Designer in 2021

You should become a video game designer in 2021 because games are more popular than ever. New technological advances and the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the number of users using gaming consoles and computers. This has led to a higher demand for video game developers.

Joining a video game design bootcamp or certification course can easily land you a job in the best gaming companies in the world. Do not miss out on the chance to have a successful tech career. You should become a video game designer in 2021.

Video Game Designer FAQ

If you are a freelance video game designer, you can work as much as you want and when you please. However, an employed designer works an average of nine hours each day.

It is highly recommended that you have programming skills, but it is not a requirement. Game designers rely on game developers to write code for projects.

Game designers use a wide range of software to create a game. However, the most prevalent is Unity. It allows you to create 2D and 3D video games for any system.

Yes, it is one of the most rewarding careers you will get in the gaming industry. You can receive a high salary as well as the satisfaction of knowing your games have made people happy.

Find a training program that will help you start your tech career journey.

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