An increasing number of international students are making the decision to turn their love of playing video games into a lucrative career in video game development in the United States. Video game development is a diverse field with many potential career paths. This article helps identify a number of potential careers in video game development and their average starting salaries.
With the thriving state of the video game industry both in the United States and around the world, one of today's most increasingly popular fields of study amongst international students is video game development. The reasons behind a decision to study video game development vary, but surely the exceptional prospects for careers in video game development play a key role in drawing students to the field. Besides being the dream job of many gamers, careers in video game development have high starting salaries, enjoyable and relaxed work environments and thrive on creative freedom. Development teams are made up of a group of like-minded individuals all hoping for the same thing: to turn their passion for video gaming into a career.
The process of creating a video game is a complicated thing. It is highly specialized and runs on a division of labor, that being the case, video game development jobs take on a very distinct role in the larger process of creating a video game. However, international students within the video game development field should be well aware of the diversification and specialization of the video game creation process, as video game development degrees are centered around seeing a project through the multiple phases of production and overseeing a specific aspect of production. This makes video game development a hybrid discipline, drawing from the fields of computer science (programming, software engineering, graphic design, etc.), mathematics and production. This means international students who study video game development in the US will be a jack-of-all-trades on their development team, and often asked to take the lead on a specific dimension of the project.
The form video game development jobs take on is membership on a development team. The diversification and specialization of roles on these video game development teams amount to a highly diverse job field, offering a number of outlets for the video game development degree international students will be receiving. Some example careers in video game development in the United States and their starting national median salaries include:
National Median Salaries for Video Game Developers in 2013
- Senior software engineer $90,000
- Game programmer $55,000
- Lead programmer $70,000
- Senior programmer $90,000
- Technical director $60,000
- Game artist $42,000
- Game animator $47,000
- Creative director $45-50,000
- Lead designer $81,000
- Executive producer $82,000
- Quality assurance $32,000
- Lead quality assurance $40,000
- Audio engineer $65,000
- Senior developer $90,000
- Software engineer $70,000
- Video game designer $55,000
- Video game producer $75,000
- Game software developer $60,000
Aside from the exceptional starting salaries and highly diverse range of applications available with this degree, video game development jobs also provide a highly rewarding work environment. Not only is the number of international students who are receiving video game development degrees quickly on the rise, the total number of video game development jobs have been steadily increasing also. This increase in international presence leads to diverse development teams and truly rewarding work experiences with a like-minded cohort all seeking the same goal: to use their passion for gaming and to create the next big gaming hit.
Students looking to study in a field with exceptionally high starting salaries and job opportunities that are full of creative promise should consider the flourishing discipline of video game development. Careers in video game development are numerous and their benefits impressive. The graduates of video game development programs go on to work with some of the most prominent video game developers in the world as members of a development team. Whether this field is chosen for the monetary benefits, the freedom, the atmosphere, or the number of potential roles on a development team, video game development can be one of the most rewarding fields of study for international students in the US.