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How to Become a Video Game Designer: Best Career 2023?

Cover image for How to Become a Video Game Designer: Best Career 2023?

You want to know how to become a video game designer? Maybe you’ve played video games for many years and figured you could easily create awesome games that people would enjoy playing. Most video game designers love their jobs. Still, it’s a competitive industry that can be hard to crack for new game designers.

The gaming industry is vast, and blockchain-based games are evolving and becoming hugely popular, especially the play-to-earn platforms. Above all, if you genuinely want to know how to get a job in video game design, it’s essential to take the proper steps to learn game design.

The gaming industry also serves a real-world purpose to society beyond playing games for fun. Glitchers, a UK-based company, created a mobile game that gathers data for scientists to work on implementing a dementia diagnosis. The U.S Navy used the Wii Fit game by Nintendo for physical therapy. Moreover, Microsoft has a gaming peripheral called HoloLens, developing game applications with NASA for jet propulsion design.


What does a video game designer do?

Video game designer jobs may be confused with video game developer roles. The former designs games for various platforms and formats, such as mobile phones, the Internet, NFT platforms, wireless applications and consoles.

Video game designers may construct the purpose and overall design of a game. After that, your role depends on the individual project. You may sometimes focus on specific design aspects, such as the characters, layout or storyline, though you may collaborate with a video game writer.

Every video game has a template for guidelines and game balance so that the structure is seamless and makes sense to a player. For that aspect, a game mechanics designer is the person working on making sure the game foundations make sense. In addition, an environmental designer, or level designer, creates the game environment and scenarios.

A video game designer creates or develops: –

  • User-friendly, appealing video game ideas
  • Gameplay ideas
  • Themes and genres
  • Plots and storylines
  • In-game characters
  • Game maps, scenarios, and levels of game difficulty
  • Multiple ways of winning and losing the game for all levels
  • User interface (menus and controls) concepts

Video game designers are also often asked to improve existing games.

Game designer vs game developer

Video game developers write the coding to bring the designer’s concepts into reality. It’s a far more complex job that requires significant coding skills. Above all. if you want to enter the video gaming industry, the quickest route is that of a game designer or video game writer because it takes time to learn the prerequisite coding skills for game development.

In a video game designer work environment, designers and developers co-exist. One cannot work without the other. If you are studying video game design, work on gaining an overview of how a game developer works. Understanding the coding that underpins a game can help you create more innovative designs knowing that coding is possible to make the game work. In addition, a bit of knowledge aids in a better collaborative relationship if you understand the core functions of each other’s roles.

Above all. if you’re starting with no experience, game design might be the best entry point, so let’s find out how to become a video game designer with little to no experience.

How to get into video game design with no experience

What qualifications do you need to be a game designer?

Firstly, become familiar with game design and game principles. Find out what makes a video game successful and what makes a game fail. Play games and notice what excites or frustrates you. What improvements do you think could increase user appeal? Make notes and implement the changes when planning your game designs.

Secondly, you won’t get far without video game training. It’s not a role where you can wing it because you’ve played video games since childhood. Companies will only take you seriously if you have measurable qualifications and a portfolio of work.

Qualifications and training

Many companies list a degree in game design, animation, graphic design, or computer science as a prerequisite and expect to see a portfolio of work samples.

If you choose the pursue a game design degree, here is an example of what to expect: –

Video Game Design: Gain a University degree

A degree in game design is an excellent entry point into one of the hottest and most sought-after industries worldwide. The beauty of this degree is that, should you change your mind about a video game designer career, you have multiple options.

Suppose you gain a video game design degree. In that case, you can utilise the coding, design, programming, and engineering skills to apply for other careers in the computing or technical sector—for example, data science, software development and even forensic computer analysis.

Modules you may choose to study:

  • Character animation techniques
  • I. scripting for games
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Computer games marketing
  • Indie game development
  • Experimental gameplay
  • Games engine creation
  • Theory of games design

Entry requirements for a Game Design degree

Most universities don’t have specific entry requirements, but good math and computing skills help with the programming and coding aspects of learning game design. Above all, universities look for applicant qualities with soft and hard skills relevant to game design, such as: –

  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Artistic Direction
  • Curiosity
  • Data Handling
  • Programming
  • Analytics

When writing your application, focus on the area of specialism you’d like to pursue. Universities have different requirements for entry, but it’s possible to find one that suits your abilities.

Coursera: Introduction to Game Design

Coursera has an excellent range of low-cost courses for budding game designers, from an introduction to game design to game design and development.

The introduction to game design is the first of five courses. It’s certificated 100% flexible online learning for beginners, taking around six hours to complete. The course is through the California Institute of the Arts. It’s perfect if you want to discover if a video game designer education is the right career for you to pursue.

Course Modules

  • Week 1: The simplest games: Basic principles of creating a simple game
  • Week 2: Rules and Discovery: Learn the mechanics and rules of gameplay concerning players
  • Week 3: Tell a story: Learn how to use storytelling to create a compelling game
  • Week 4: The Friend and the Enemy: Looking at the protagonist and antagonist in a game. Do games work without an adversary or goal?

The course introduces the student to gaming concepts and how gamers interact with games. It teaches the mechanics and rules of different styles of games.

Each module has an assignment to help you learn how to create compelling games and learn game concepts. There are no entry requirements for the course as it is suitable for complete beginners.

Choose a suitable direction for how to be a video game developer or designer, and once you are confident to test your video game design skills, move to the next step.

Build a game design portfolio

You are ready to find out how to get a job in game design, but before you start applying for positions, you must create a portfolio to showcase your skills. A qualification in video game design is an excellent way to demonstrate an understanding of the theory of game design. Still, potential employers want to see examples of your creativity. Moreover, studios look for applicants with a demonstration of games with “kerb appeal” that users enjoy playing and are eager to move through levels in the game.

Consider a game design intern position

If you’re struggling to find a job in game design, a position as an intern could be an option. If you believe in your skills, offer your services to a video game studio. Subsequently, you can gain valuable experience, and it could end up becoming a paid position.

Send your resume and portfolio links to suitable studios and follow up on your applications. Don’t give up if companies fail to respond or send rejection letters. Keep trying and you will get an interview.

Above all, if you are successful, negotiate with the company about claiming expenses and work towards a goal of getting a paid position. Unfortunately, some studios can take advantage of interns as free creative talent, so believe in your abilities and set boundaries.

Other options for getting into the gaming industry

Once you start working for your first studio, you’ll be up and running. Still, if getting a job as a video designer proves to be problematic because of your lack of real-world experience, consider the following ideas: –

  • Post samples of your work on gaming discussion boards: Stay open to criticism because it will help to improve your work
  • Start a personal gaming blog: Add your portfolio and share your ideas or tips about game design
  • Become a game tester: Immersing yourself in testing games helps to develop your design skills
  • Design and build Indie games: Designing and creating games of your own is a fantastic way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers
  • Take part in game jams: The Global Game Jam attracts many thousands of game designers and developers. Above all, it’s an excellent route to join a community of like-minded people in the video game industry

How much do video game designers make?

You have learned how to become a video game designer, and now you’d like to know, “how much money can you make as a video game designer?” Salaries vary across different studios and countries. The median salary for a video game designer in the United Kingdom is £28,500. As an entry-level video designer, expect a salary range from £18k to £20k.

At the senior level, video game designers can earn £45k+

Conclusion: How to become a video game designer 2022

The growth of the video game sector is exponential, with digital game sales overtaking music and film combined. Moreover, there’s a lot of money in the industry, with multi-million-pound prizes pooled for winning video game tournaments.

Above all, a degree in game design doesn’t restrict your career to video game design. It opens a plethora of promotion opportunities, such as: –

  • Computer Games Developer
  • Computer Games Tester
  • Systems Analyst
  • Software Developer
  • Animator
  • Computer Service and Repair Technician
  • Data Scientist
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Web Designer
  • IT Project Manager

Well done if you have learned how to become a video game designer. After that, it’s time to be persistent and never give up pursuing your new career. Yes, you may encounter a few obstacles, but you are embarking on a journey into an exciting and rewarding career, perhaps your dream job.

The pleasure of knowing that gamers are enjoying playing the game that you designed is genuinely fulfilling. Moreover, one day, you could create the hottest game in the space. After that, you may become a sought-after video game designer from some of the top studios. It could happen.

However, let’s be realistic. It’s not easy. You must commit to completing video game designer training before you can apply for video game designer jobs. Subsequently, if you discover a passion for video gaming and pursue a niche you enjoy, you’ll be on your way to a fulfilling career in the lucrative video game space.

Finally, CB Recruitment can help you on your path to working as a video game designer. Upload your resume today and let’s talk.


How do I become a game developer?

Becoming a video game developer is not dissimilar to the career path of a video game designer. The most successful route is to achieve a degree specialising in the development aspects of video gaming.

Is game design a good career?

Many video game designers describe their work as “awesome“. They love their work, accessing creativity and design skills and working with other creatives in the gaming space. However, it’s not a career for everyone. You may have to start working at an entry-level or even as an intern to get your foot on the first step to becoming a video game designer.

Is coding a game hard?

Coding isn’t difficult if you have learned how to code video games with professional training. The challenges may arise from taking a concept to a real-use video game, so the more practice with coding you can get, the better.

How hard is it to become a game designer?

It’s only as hard as you believe it is. Firstly, learn how to get a job as a game designer by not pursuing a career in video game design purely for the money because you’ll end up disappointed.

Above all. if you love video games and want a unique and creative career working with other video game creatives, you may discover it isn’t as difficult as you think.

About Author

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Jan Barley

Jan is a SEO copywriter, brand advisor, content strategist & case study specialist writing for crypto, recruitment, and SaaS companies. Jan lives in the Cotswold's UK with two rescue dogs. Since 2020, Jan has written hundreds of SEO articles for various crypto companies including CB Recruitment & Coin Bureau.

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