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How to Start a Career As a Video Game Designer
By Andie Francese
OverviewVideo gaming is a growing industry and the need for new video game programmers and designers is expected to rise by 33% in the next five years. But becoming a lead designer, or a designer in general, is a difficult and long road that takes you from your education to the bottom rung of the industry. You must work your way up through internships, game tester positions, and development positions before you can expect to become a designer.
Step 1Enroll in an accredited computer programing school. A bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science can get you started in video game design.
Step 2During your third year of school, apply for internships in the video game industry. Many design houses will employ interns to work on games and help around the office. This is a good way to gain valuable experience. Work as many internships as you can between your junior year and graduation.
Step 3After graduating, become a video tester. A tester position gets you in the door and will help you make contacts in the industry. Testers don't earn nearly as much as designers, but it is the way into the gaming industry.
Step 4You will need to spend one to two years testing for a company and offering ideas before you can successfully apply for development and programming positions.
Step 5You will need a lot of experience as a programmer, plus solid feedback and top-level performance, to expect a chance at a lead designer position. It is best not to "jump" companies -- sticking with one will get you where you want to be faster.