Can You Get a Job in Video Game Design with a Computer Science Degree?

Though you might think that video game designers have specialized degrees, you can get a job in video game design with a computer science degree. Your computer science degree shows that you have a strong understanding of how computers work and that you know how to use software on those computers. While there are schools that offer degrees or concentrations in game design, you can apply for those same jobs with a general computer science degree.

Game Designer Duties

Some people think that video game designers have the best jobs around, because they just play video games all day. If you think that you’ll spend hours playing the hottest games and watching others turn your ideas into full games, think again. It can take years from the time a designer creates an idea to the day it lands in stores as a playable game. Many games take even longer to develop, and some companies lose funding or experience problems that lead to games disappearing. Designers spend more time working on small teams to design the backgrounds, characters, scenes and game play than they do playing those games. They also face competition from other companies that try to put out similar games faster.

How Much Do They Make?

While you can get a job in video game design with a computer science degree, you may find that you can make more money in other computer science jobs. The average salary for game designers working in the United States is $85,000 a year, but some designers make a salary of around $21 to more than $60 an hour, according to Sokanu. Hourly employees are often independent contractors or freelance employees who work for more than one design house. Working as an independent contractor gives you the option of designing computer games and working for companies that make games for consoles like the PS4 and XBOX One.

Computer Science Degree

If you have the option of majoring in video game design or majoring in computer science with a minor in game design, the second option may be better for you. A computer science degree allows you to work in a range of different fields. You can work as a game designer, in a computer repair, for a tech company and for a firm that designs computer software. If you find that game design isn’t as exciting as you thought, you can easily change career paths.

Additional Experience

Companies that hire game designers want workers with more experience. While you can get a job in video game design with a computer science degree, you need to show that you can design games from the ground up. Try building a few simple games and apps while in college that you can show prospective employers as part of your portfolio. You should also play some of the more popular computer games, which will give you something to talk about during interviews and something that shows you’re on top of market trends.

Related Resource: Game Engine Design

Video game designers create computer games, social games and games for popular consoles. While some go to college and study game design and creation exclusively, others major in computer science as they take classes in game design and design their own games. That additional experience might help you get a job in video game design with a computer science degree.