How Long Does It Take, What Degree Do You Need, and More
Video Game Designers design core features of video games. Specify innovative game and role-play mechanics, story lines, and character biographies. Create and maintain design documentation. Guide and collaborate with production staff to produce games as designed.
Table of contents
|Degree||No degree required but most Video Game Designers hold a Bachelor's degree|
|Degree field||Video Game Design, Computer Science or a related field|
|License or certification||Not required|
|Duration to become one||4 years|
|Difficulty to become one||Hard|
Video Game Designers Requirements
Step 1: Develop Programming Skills in High School
Video Game Designers typically need programming skills, which you can start developing in high school. Many high schools offer basic programming courses. If this is not an option at your school, you can find online tutorials and programs for self-guided study.
Along with programming skills, you will need knowledge of the video game industry. Familiarize yourself with different types of video games and video game platforms.
Step 2: Enroll in an Online Video Game Design Program
While there are no specific educational requirements for working in the video game industry, most employers now require candidates to have some type of relevant training. To obtain the necessary skills, you can enroll in an online program.
Completing an online video game design program may take several weeks or a year to complete, depending on the depth of the program and skills taught. Choosing this path is more suitable for those that already have transferrable skills for working in the video game industry, such as a related degree.
For example, if you have a Computer Science degree or a Graphic Design degree, an online program can fill the gaps in the knowledge and skills needed to become a Video Game Designer.
Step 3: Earn a Video Game Design Degree
For those that do not already have an undergraduate degree, consider enrolling in a Video Game Design program instead of an online program. A growing number of colleges and universities offer Video Game Design degrees.
You can earn an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design or a related field to increase your chances of finding work in the video game industry. A degree provides an education in the concepts used for video game creation, including coding, scripting, illustration, design theory, and graphic design.
An Associate’s Degree typically takes two years to complete, allowing you to complete your education sooner. However, a Bachelor’s Degree offers additional training and increases your career prospects immediately after graduation.
Bachelor’s Degree programs tend to offer specialized training in different areas of Video Game Design. For example, you may choose to specialize in one of the following areas:
- Game Design
- Game Art
- Game Development
- Mobile Game Design
Depending on the Video Game Design Bachelor’s Degree program, you may also find internship opportunities. You can gain firsthand work experience and may even go on to seek employment at the studio where you completed your internship.
A Video Game Design degree is not your only option for becoming a Video Game Designer. Many related fields can be used as stepping-stones for this career, including Graphic Design, Computer Science, and Animation. However, you may need to take additional courses to round out your education in coding, 3D modeling, and other essential Video Game Designer technical skills.
Step 4: Build a Portfolio to Showcase Your Skills
When you finish your education and start seeking employment, employers will primarily look at your portfolio. Having a degree from a reputable college can help you stand out compared to other candidates, but you still need to demonstrate your skills with a detailed portfolio.
If you earn an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design, the projects that you complete as part of your studies can be used in your portfolio. You may also complete projects through internships or freelance projects.
Your portfolio may include some of the following types of projects:
- Web-based video games
- Mini-games for mobile devices
- Animated short videos
- Illustrations of characters and environments
For those that decide to skip a Video Game Design degree, create independent projects to build your portfolio.
Step 5: Become Active in the Video Game Design Community
During your education, you need to remain aware of the latest developments in the video game industry. Become active in online communities dedicated to video games and video game design. You should network with other designers and developers and keep track of the newest techniques.
Many Video Game Design programs also provide the chance to join clubs or chapters. A video game club can provide access to additional resources and networking opportunities.
Step 6: Start Looking for Entry-Level Video Game Designer Positions
To find an entry-level position, you may need to start your job search with smaller game development companies. There are hundreds of smaller mobile game development companies that require junior game designers. While the games that you help create may not receive a lot of exposure, they help build your portfolio and provide more work experience.
Along with junior game designer positions, you may look for other entry-level positions in the video game industry. Examples include programmers, level designers, and video game artists. After you get your foot in the door, you may find it easier to transition to the role of Video Game Designer.
What degree do most Video Game Designers have
We did a survey to ask other Video Game Designers what degree they had when they first became one. Here are the results.
How long does it take
Becoming a Video Game Designer may take up to four years, depending on your educational path. Some designers start looking for work with no formal training other than online courses. However, many designers first earn an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design, which can take two to four years.