One of the difficulties in pursuing a career in the gaming industry is due to the fact that most gaming studios are in one of only a few metropolitan areas, such as Seattle and Austin. Without local gaming industry support in the typical hometown, it’s not immediately clear to most individuals that jobs like a career in Game Programming or Game Design exist. This discourages people from seriously considering the gaming industry as a career choice, and most gamers dismiss their idea of working in gaming, and move on to thinking about another career.
Another factor to consider is that there just aren’t that many gaming-related jobs to go around – and the ones that are available are usually extremely hard to get. Many gaming studios are so bogged down with potential applicants that they never even have to create job posting ads. This is another reason why many gamers don’t ever hear about opportunities in the gaming industry; with such an overflow of applicants, studios can pick and choose their employees without ever having to create a “help wanted” posting.
Last but not least, there are not very many universities that give game design degrees. Full Sail University and a few game programming colleges are basically all that exist. Some state universities near the various studio headquarters do offer a video game curriculum, but this is often because gaming professionals work there as adjunct professors. In many cases, gaming-specific degrees aren’t needed to get jobs working for the studios. Bachelor’s degrees in computer science or programming are still passable for would-be programmers, and those interested in game design can get in with an art or graphic design degree in most cases. It’s the internships that really count, but those are just as difficult to come by as gaming industry jobs.
That might be all about to change, however. According to projections from everyone from gaming magazines to the United States Government, there is going to be plenty of job-creation in the gaming industry in coming years. This isn’t entirely surprising if you think about how gaming has changed in the past few years. The seventh console generation, which spawned the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, has brought gaming to a whole new audience – even grandparents are suddenly picking up a controller. More homes have computers than ever before, causing an increase the demand for PC and Mac-based games. And who could have predicted the runaway successes of cell phone gaming or games like FarmVille on Facebook?
As the demand for video games continues to grow, more gaming-related careers will become available. This means that more Video Game Testing, game design, and game programming degrees will continue to and increasingly be offered at universities. This will undoubtedly prove to be an exciting time for anyone that has ever wanted to to work a career in the gaming industry!