If you’re a video game enthusiast then you’re in good company. 2018 video games statistics show that 67% of all Australians play video games and not just for leisure, 34% of us have used games to improve our work knowledge and 26% to learn health and safety skills. On top of that, video games have become a big part of Australian family life with over 60% of parentsplaying with their children.
It is only natural that such a popular and dynamic hobby should lead to a growing interest in video game careers. The video game industry is big news and is currently showing stable future growth and looking for highly skilled candidates to fill gaming jobs vacancies. This means that, although your enthusiasm for and knowledge of computer games will stand you in good stead when you look for jobs in gaming, you are far more likely to be successful in your search if you have games-specific qualifications that will give you the skills you need to turn your well-loved hobby into an interesting and fulfilling career. We look at the 3 top video game careers available for those with enthusiasm for the subject and a commitment to learning.
This is one of the most highly skilled gaming jobs out there. Without excellent programming it is impossible to enhance game characters and their animations. It is the game programmer’s responsibility to bring the game designer’s ideas to life. Today’s gamers demand character interaction that is as close to reality as possible and a good working understanding of artificial intelligence programming is a key to this most sought after of video game careers. You will eventually need to gain experience working with programming languages C++ and Objective C (for iOS) but GameMaker, RPGMaker, Unity and learning C# are a great place to start.
Qualification level: Vendor specific training plus a Bachelor degree level qualification
Required skills: Information Technology including applications and programming, customer service, design and communications media
Training suggestion: Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games (ICT50215) - which includes vendor specific training towards Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft C#.NET Language
Rewards: Between $48,000 and $74,000 a year, with top jobs attracting higher amounts
Example roles: Game engine programmer, AI programmer, sound programmer
Video Game Artist
If you love the game industry but also enjoy drawing graphic characters and have an imagination that can create strange and wonderful worlds, then creative jobs in gaming such as video game artist might be right for you. The gaming industry isn’t just made up of computer programming whizzes and every video game needs artists to create immersive worlds in which enthusiastic gamers can lose themselves. This is the more artistic end of video game careers but you will find yourself working with game designers and game programmers so a basic understanding of how they work will be very useful. You will need to gain experience working in Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP, Blender (for 3D) and zBrush (educational versions available). You will also need to familiarise yourself with working with a graphics tablet. According to the latest Australian Jobs Occupation Matrix, the job growth for ‘Graphic and Web Designers, and Illustrators’, which includes video game artists, will be an impressive 16.1% in the five years to 2022.
Qualification level: Some formal training required, usually Bachelor Degree level
Required skills: Information technology including digital media, customer service, design and communications media
Training suggestion: Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology – Interactive Gaming and Programming Specialisation (ICT30118)
Rewards: $72,252 to $85,800 per year, with top jobs attracting higher amounts
Example roles: Concept artist, animator, background modeller
Video Game Designer
Of all the video game careers, the job of video game designer requires the widest level of understanding. Whilst you may not need top end computer programming skills or unprecedented artistic flair, this is one of the jobs in gaming where you’ll want to be able to understand how each of these work and, more importantly, how they come together to create outstanding gaming worlds. If you can get others to enthuse about your great ideas, are good at pulling different aspects of a job together and can oversee the work of professionals, then you would probably suit the game industry job of video game designer. It is worth bearing in mind however that game design has increasing levels of complexity and, in order to succeed in this most exciting of game industry roles, you’ll need to demonstrate a good level of specialist knowledge.
Qualification level: Usually Bachelor level but experience is also valuable
Required skills: Information technology, communication, digital media, customer service, design and communications media
Training suggestion: Dual Certificate IV in Programming and Digital and Interactive Games (ICT40518/ICT40915) (which includes, amongst others, vendor specific training towards MTA: Database Fundamentals, MTA: Software Development Fundamentals and Microsoft C#.NET Language)
Rewards: $29,087 to $103,646 per year, with top jobs attracting higher amounts
Example roles: Writer, level designer, game developer
Getting your first foot on the ladder to one of these fulfilling video game careers is not just about enthusiasm. Employers in the game industry will expect you to have two other key elements to your resume. The first is a portfolio that demonstrates the consistency of your passion and flair for your prospective gaming job and the second is evidence that you are at least working towards a solid set of relevant qualifications. The great news is that, with the availability of high quality game-related online courses, both of these can be achieved without you leaving an existing post. Our advice to you is to get creative and get studying if you want to turn your eagerness for your video game hobby into a satisfying and lucrative video game career.