What Is the Best Degree Path to Becoming a Computer Game Designer?

Computer and video games aren’t just a source of entertainment. For professionals who work in the field of game design, computer and video games are an industry in which they can build a rewarding career. Aspiring game designers should determine what aspect of design appeals to them and get an education to prepare for that career.

Types of Game Designers

Designers are the creative professionals who conceptualize a game, from its plot to its characters and its appearance to its gameplay. They spend more of their time working with concepts than they spend actually programming or creating the art for the game. They also use scripting languages to create a prototype of the game in which they can experiment with ideas.

Various career opportunities exist in computer and video game design. Lead designers manage design teams and assemble the various ideas into an organized concept. Content designers create storylines and characters that are consistent with the game’s theme. Game mechanic designers devise the gameplay, or how players will navigate the game. Level designers are responsible for conceptualizing the settings, which include props and additional characters. Some games have writers who are responsible for creating the dialogue and other text that appears in a game.

A Computer Game Designer’s Education

A relevant college education is one qualification an employer will look for in a candidate. Some aspiring game designers approach the career from a specialized academic background. They major in degree programs like game design or game development. Others start out with a more traditional and widely available major, such as computer science or software engineering. The title of the degree program matters less than the subject matter the student studies. Aspiring game designers must learn programming and scripting knowledge, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, even if their dream job is more closely related to developing game themes and storylines than to actual programming. Mathematics and the use of other software, like 3D modeling programs, are also beneficial. Most candidates who aspire to roles like lead designer will have to work their way up to that creative and management role. They may start in programming or art design, doing the actual work of creating the game and proving their skills along the way.

Work in this industry isn’t for everyone or even every individual who enjoys playing video games. However, if you make the decision to major in software design or a related field, you may want to consider a career in this industry. As an up-and-coming career field, computer game design and the professionals who work in the business stand to benefit greatly from the drastic growth expected in the gaming industry. Internationally, the gaming industry is expected to bring in $82.4 billion a year by 2015, which would be an almost 50 percent increase from 2010’s $55.5 billion market. For computer and video game designers, this growth could translate to high earning potential.

Find Your Degree
BestDegreePrograms.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.