Many young people dream of getting into video game design, but they aren’t really aware of what that actually entails. Video games are more than just code – they require full teams of people who are experts not only in graphic design and art, but also with audio, storyboards, programming, and more. Because of this, game designers often specialize in one specific area more than the others. However, when ‘video game design’ is mentioned, it typically refers to the process of actually building the game through a set of specialized computer programs and tools.

What kind of jobs are there involved with video game design?
Those pursuing video game design as a career have the opportunity to work as an executive producer, producer, creative director, art director, 3D animator, texture artist, among many more positions. Because the number of people required for the creation of a single game is so high, skilled workers are in high demand.

However, most people do not get hired directly to the development team – they work their way up, typically starting in something like QA testing (quality assurance.) This gives them time to adjust to the specific atmosphere for the company and learn the intricacies of the operations before being involved directly with them.

The potential for employment is better than ever before. Smaller video game companies are springing up everywhere, with countless indie developers starting their own companies that are in desperate need of help. On the other hand, someone will graduate with enough knowledge to build their own basic games, so it’s entirely possible that a graduate will go on to form a company of their own if they so desire.

What degree to get?
Most people interested in video game design as a career should pursue a computer science degree. Certain colleges, like the acclaimed Full Sail University, have dedicated degrees for Game Designers, while others offer general degrees that can then be applied towards specialization through narrowing the focus of study.

Another possible degree is in graphic design. Designers skilled in CGI creation will find themselves helping to create the cutscenes and animations that make the game aesthetically pleasing. Although most video game design courses include a few graphic design studies, they are only cursory and not fully dedicated to it.

Where can I get a degree for video game design?
Not every university offers a degree in video game design, but almost every university offers a degree in graphic design or computer science. Plenty of online schools offer the chance to work from home on your degree, and many of these are equally as respected as larger, in-class institutions. Another option is to seek out a technical college, where more dedicated vocational courses are offered.

Certain colleges are designed entirely around this field, with Full Sail, The Arts Institutes, and several others creating dedicated coursework and standards designed to put students on the fast-track towards success. These schools are often paired with large companies such as Rockstar Games or Electronic Arts, meaning that students at these institutions have a better chance of catching the eye of someone influential at one of these major companies and finding gainful employment quickly.

Sources:
The Art Career Project
Full Sail
Academy of Art