Many gamers dream of one day making a living designing video games themselves. A video game job is possible, but a job working as a video game designer is usually earned from years of experience doing other work in this field. Fortunately there are many types of jobs from which to choose, both on the technical side and on the business side of the industry. And what a booming industry it is. According to a press release from market research firm NPD, "combined video game software unit sales across the world’s three largest games markets experienced growth of 11 percent" in 2008 (2008 Video Game Software Sales Across Top Global Markets Experience Double-Digit Growth, February 2, 2009). Beginning with technical careers, here are some options people who want a video game job can consider (See page 2 to learn about business careers in the video game industry.) For additional information, you can also take a look at How to Get a Job in the Game Industry on the About.com Game Industry Site.
Game DesignerA video game designer will come up with a concept that will eventually become a video game and see that idea through to fruition. He or she will work with other members of the development team, including artists, programmers and audio engineers. Video game design jobs are not entry-level positions — one will have to work himself or herself up to this position by working in other jobs in the field. Video game design jobs include game designer, lead designer and level designer.
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ProgrammerVideo game programmers design and develop the code that make video games work. They work with the design team to implement its vision for the final product. Video game programmers specialize in one area of programming and are usually computer software engineers and computer programmers.
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AnimatorAnimators make video games come to life visually and are an integral part of the video game development team. They create the series of pictures that form the images in a video game.
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Audio EngineerAudio engineers are responsible for anything you hear during a video game. They give voice to characters and create a game's sound effects.
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WriterWriters fill different roles within the video game industry. Script writers create the story the game is based upon and write dialogue for the characters. Technical writers are responsible for the documentation and instructions that accompany video games.
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TranslatorA translator converts the audio aspects of a video game, including the characters' dialogue and instructions, to other languages. A translator can also convert written instructions and documentation.
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Video Game TesterA game tester provides quality assurance for a video game company. He or she makes sure a game functions as it is supposed to, identifies problems and bugs, and reports findings.
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Technical Support SpecialistTechnical support specialists are the link between the video game company and the public. They help customers who may have problems operating a game or related equipment.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/.
- Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. O*NET Online on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/.
- Crosby, Olivia. Working So Others Can Play: Careers in Video Game Development. Occupational Outlook Quarterly (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor), Summer 2000 Edition.
- Electronics Arts Jobs. Electronics Arts Company Web Site.
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