If your parents ever lectured you about wasting your time playing video games, getting a job in video game development is one way to prove them wrong. The industry is currently thriving, and there are many career paths you can take to get there. The best part of it all is that it typically pays well if you can get your foot in the door. The world of video game development is highly competitive, which means you need to gain as much education, experience, and passion as possible to enter the field.
What Is Game Development?
Video game development is simply the process that goes into making a video game for a computer, gaming console, or other platform. It may take a single individual or an entire global team to complete the process. In a team setting, a producer typically oversees the development, while the publisher is the company that funds and distributes the game. The development team may place people in different roles, such as designers, programmers, sound engineers, artists, testers, and level designers. Anyone seeking a career in the field can specialize in one or more of those roles, or you can choose to work independently, thanks to the tools available and easily-accessed courses you can take, such as those available in the Udacity Catalog.
Unfortunately, spending your teen years playing video games every chance you get isn't enough to land you a career in the video game development field. You need to start by taking courses in high school in computer science, advanced math, and technology. Learn everything you can about these subjects. Once you go to college, seek an undergraduate degree in computer science or game science or design if it's offered, and take as many classes related to video game development as your school offers. You may also seek nontraditional education opportunities, such as earning a Udacity Nanodegree certificate that relates to the field.
Building a Portfolio
Much like an artist or writer, it's also a good idea to start a portfolio of any work you do related to video game development. This might include some practice games you worked on for yourself while learning game design at home, or it could be projects you worked on for college courses. Once you enter the job market, you can continue to build that portfolio for when you want to seek a promotion or move on to a different job.
Beating the Competition
Again, this is an extremely competitive field, and it can be hard for just anyone to break into it. If you are a student, you might want to consider looking for internships that place you with video game studios and publishing companies so you can get to know some of the important players in the industry. If you're not a student, try reaching out to a video game developer, and tell them you're interested in getting into the business. Ask if you can interview them about their jobs and maybe even shadow them for a day. Making contacts may lead to job interviews in the long run. Entering video game design or programming competitions is another way to get your name out there and make new contacts.