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Careers in video games

Careers in video gamesWant to put your creative skills to the test with computers? Check out our lowdown on careers in the gaming industry.

Who makes video games?

A computer game, whether it is for a PC, console, the net or your mobile phone, can take years to produce. Each stage, from concept through design to building the software for the game involves a huge team of developers, designers and testers. Below are just a few of the roles that you could have within the industry.

Designer

Designers are the creative muscle of the industry. Senior designers develop the concept of a game, and junior designers flesh out the details: where the game will be set, the story behind it, etc. To be a designer you need to be flexible, creative and a great communicator.

Artist/Animator

Artists and animators flesh out the designers’ ideas. They put together storyboards of how the game will look, what kind of graphics will be used and the overall ‘feel’ of the game. Creativity is essential here, and many animators have qualifications in art or design, as well as a portfolio of work.

Programmer

Programmers take care of the technical part. They write the code that sits behind a game, whether it is an AI programme or a physics engine, every element of the game need to have a robust code behind it to make sure there are no glitches. Computer programmers should be hard working, have great attention to detail, and preferably a degree in maths or computer science.

Tester

Testers have one of the most appealing sounding jobs – they get to play the games! But the reality might be disappointing. Game testing is all about finding bugs and identifying what causes them, so you're likely to spend your time repeating the same actions over and over again, or meticulously exploring one small element of a game. However, it can be a good way to get a foot in the door of the gaming industry.

What qualifications do I need?

Jobs in design and animation usually require a relevant artistic degree or HND. Some colleges offer specific courses in computer games design, but it is also worth considering courses in interactive media, multimedia design, graphic design or animation. For these you will need three A-levels, or equivalent Scottish Highers. It also helps to start building up a portfolio of drawings or animations that you have done in your spare time.

To become a programmer, you may need a degree in maths, physics, computer science or information systems. More importantly, you'll need the coding skills, which most programmers develop in their own time.

Going it alone

Working in gaming doesn't have to mean getting a job at a development company. Many people design and make games on their own or in small, self-run teams. Some of these indie games have been big hits and make big money - but it's a difficult, competitive world and takes a lot of hard work.

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Comments

i would like to take part in this computer gaming system i would like to apply for a place, it seems fun and what a lot of people would enjoy doing.

Liam Collins 8-11-10

This is a great article because i want to be a computer game programmer and i have recently been searching for the grades i need to be one. This has been a great help

Rusty 17-1-12