Finding Employment in the Video Game Industry

by John Stapel

Video game enthusiasts will often find themselves asking the question, "How do I get my foot in the door?" The industry is currently booming and employs hundreds of thousands. But how does one go about getting a job? There are many avenues for those interested to explore! For starters, they could look into internships or summer programs that allow students an opportunity to immerse themselves while learning new skills such as development software. This makes it much easier on employers who want fresh faces with experience when looking through résumés later on down the line. Another route would be setting up meetings at conventions like GDC (Game Developers Conference) where professionals from all over come together under one roof and network face-to-face instead of just scrolling past


In a previous article, we introduced the many educational opportunities that lay hidden in video gaming. Today's focus is on employment opportunities that are available as well.


Video games may just be teaching you to kill people and steal things, but they can also teach you how to make money! In this article we will introduce some of these different ways for gamers out there who want more than an education from their hobby


1. Working as a Video Game Clerk. Working at video game store or rental place - either permanently or temporarily - has got to be a teen gamer's dream. In a single place, employees have access to the first games and game systems hot off the market and they're privy to peek inside magazines hot off the press before anyone else. If that wasn't enough, gaming clerks get a discount on what would otherwise be too expensive (games, game systems, and game accessories) to even think about buying. Sweet!


2. Working as a Game Tester. Before a game hits the market, it has to go through extensive testing and if you think the programmers behind the game test their own material, think again. The gaming industry is extremely sensitive about what it puts out into the public. In an effort to remain competitive, it must make absolutely sure that the games it produces work as intended. This is where testers enter the picture. But it isn't easy to become a game tester. Becoming a game tester requires a little inside help but once you're in there, you'll not only have access to games that no one else knows about, you'll also have an opportunity to shape the game into an experience that you and your comrades prefer.


3. Working as a Game Designer. Do you have good artistic skills? Can you whip out a character faster than you can say, "I drew that"? If so, you may be able to get a career designing video games. Today's video games exude some of the most beautiful graphics ever seen and if you have a good imagination, are able to use some of the most advanced graphics software programs available, and can follow instructions, you could see your own artwork in the next popular video game.


4. Working as a Game Critic. The gaming industry is always looking for good content and if you have a flair for writing combined with a love for games, you could write for game magazines like Game Informer or you could write content for a highly popular gaming website.


5. Working as a Game Programmer. Not a career for everyone, a good game programmer is always in demand. As player preferences change and new technology is developed, someone with the right programming skills has to be there to fill the gap between what players want, and what the gaming industry can supply. Becoming a game programmer requires extensive training in several different development languages - so if you don't have a clue as to what we just said, skip this profession and look into some of the others.


The sky's the limit for this industry. With new technologies coming out on a yearly basis, and more colleges offering game design course work than ever before, there is no telling what might happen in five years or even ten!. You have a chance to merge your love for games with steady pay if you remain dedicated to looking out for opportunities and stay up-to-date on what's happening in the gaming world.


Check the employment section of your local paper for more, or visit the nearest college to find out what classes and training are available.