4 essential skills to start a career in the video game industry
As the games industry has grown in importance and sales have increased, there is a wider range of college degrees available.
There are a wide variety of career paths available in the video game industry, and those who work on the actual development and production of games. It is a competitive industry because it is so popular, but with the right combination of knowledge and experience, it is possible to start a career in video game development.
Early in the history of video game development, there were no education requirements due to the novelty of the industry. College degrees in game development didn't exist at the time. However, as the gaming industry has evolved, expectations have changed and since it is a very competitive industry, anything you can do to make a difference can help you get a job. As the games industry has grown in importance and sales have increased, there is a wider range of college degrees available.
The educational requirements for working in game development vary even now. However, employers may require or prefer a degree in something related to computer science or programming or coding, both of which provide an excellent knowledge base for more technical game development jobs. Increasingly, game studios expect their staff to have a relevant degree, as well as some experience in the field, even for an entry-level position.
One way new graduates can gain that experience is by developing their own games or doing personal projects in which they demonstrate their skills. A portfolio can be a powerful tool for game developers entering the industry. Some skills that can help you land a job in game development include:
Video game knowledge
Some basic video game knowledge is required for many development roles. There is a wide range of video games available today, from console games to computer games to mobile games with every genre you can imagine, and it comes in handy if you know what kind of games you would like to develop.
For example, if you are particularly interested in developing visual novel games, you will generally find that they are more often available on computers or mobile devices, rather than consoles. This could influence the types of companies you apply to, as well as the type of portfolio you will build on your own.
A general knowledge of computer programming can be helpful, even if you are not directly involved in game programming or coding. If you are part of a game development team and are regularly interacting with those who do the programming, you may find it helpful to stay on top of the work they are doing. Of course, if you're on the coding and programming team, you definitely need knowledge of that process, as well as practice in at least one programming language.
Some basic video game knowledge is required for many development roles / Image: Depositphotos.com
If you are working on your own game, you may be the only member of the team, but for most other careers in video game development, you need to know how to be a good team member to create quality games and advance your career. Skills in interpersonal communication, collaboration, and time management are important skills for teamwork.
Most video games have some kind of story, even if it's simple. Having an understanding of what constitutes good storytelling and how to create a decent story can help you be a better game developer. Also, if you are working on a portfolio to start a career in game development, you will probably create your own games and you will need to create a good story for them.