What is your favorite way to unwind? Binge-watching TV? Listening to music? Browsing the internet or scrolling on social media? If you are a Gen Z or Millennial, your answer may be “none of the above.”
While people in all age groups play video games, a Deloitte survey shows that younger generations play the most, and their passion for playing is fueling impressive growth in the industry. So if you are a video game enthusiast, or just value the elements of digital narrative, earning a bachelor’s in video game development can help you land a career doing something you love.
Lamar University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Game Development focuses on programming and development. Topics include 3D modeling and computer graphics applications, 3D animation, multiplayer networking, artificial intelligence in game design and more. Degree candidates develop the technical and artistic skills to advance in wide-ranging careers, including the following five, with their average salaries from Glassdoor.com.
1. Video Game Designer
Are you always thinking of ways to make the game you are playing better? Do you want to be part of gaming’s next big thing? If so, a game design career may be for you.
A video game designer’s job begins with creating the concept for a game and planning the story. Then, video game designers develop plots and characters, create rules for winning and losing, write code, fix bugs and more to bring a game to life.
Median Annual Salary: $95,277
2. Video Game Developer
Game developers are involved in the entire process of building a video game, from prototyping to the playable game. The role of a developer can be all-encompassing. Depending on the project’s scope, a developer may be involved in developing storylines and characters. But the primary focus is typically coding, testing and fixing bugs. In addition to programming, helpful skills include 3D modeling, animation and storytelling.
Median Annual Salary: $112,539
3. Video Game Programmer
Video game programmers specialize in creating the code that runs the game. Lamar University’s B.S. in Computer Game Development includes coursework in C++, one of the most popular programming languages.
Median Annual Salary: $97,695
4. User Experience (UX) Designer
UX designers study the game through the eyes of the player in order to deliver a satisfying experience that keeps players coming back. UX designers need technical skills, but because their work focuses on player interactions, an understanding of psychology and human behavior comes in handy.
Figuring out how to elicit intended emotions is part of creating an immersive player experience. For example, as with music in a movie, a game’s soundtrack has the power to create a mood and build emotional connections. Related to UX, the user interface (UI) designer is another important role in video game development.
Median Annual Salary: $101,356
5. Video Game Animator
Animators work with the designer’s storyboard to give characters believable movement, personality and emotions. Animators also animate game objects. A career in video game animation blends art and technology, making this a great option for tech-minded creatives. Animators typically work with programmers and 2D and 3D artists on game development teams.
Median Annual Salary: $76,035
6. Video Game Tester (also known as Quality Assurance Tester)
If you love video games, what could be better than getting paid to test them? Video game testers provide quality assurance for companies that produce video games. Instead of focusing on having fun, game testers assess the user experience.
Are the game’s instructions and rules clear? Are there any bugs, errors or other issues? Video game testers may be involved in the early stages of game development through post-production.
Median Annual Salary: $59,559
The COVID-19 pandemic caused declining revenues across many industries, including the entertainment industry. The video game industry, however, saw a big bump. According to Accenture, the gaming industry is valued at over $300 billion, more than movies and music combined.
Video games have been around for decades, and their popularity is only growing. According to Statista, 3.24 billion people across the globe enjoy gaming. An advanced degree in computer game development will position you for careers in a field that is growing in many spaces and ventures.
Learn more about Lamar University’s B.S. in Computer Game Development online program.