Why a Career in the Game Industry is a Viable One for Adults

Why a Career in the Game Industry is a Viable One for Adults | Technology | Emeritus

When we think of gaming, we inadvertently think of teenagers with consoles battling an imaginary enemy or buying a new lifeline on their parents’ credit cards. It is not uncommon for this predisposition to extend to a career in gaming, too. But is a career in the game industry only for the young and the restless, or does it have the potential to be a serious career that adults invest in? As a responsible adult working in the gaming industry, I am the answer, but before we get to my cents on this issue, let’s look at some numbers. 

In the year 2023, the gaming industry stood tall, boasting a groundbreaking profit of $406 billion. Intriguing statistics from Statista highlight that this vibrant media sector is projected to expand by an impressive 54% by 2028. This expansion is not just in numbers but also in the burgeoning diversity of career opportunities. In this blog, we will explore the industry’s evolution, the various roles it encompasses, and the financial stability it promises, underscoring why game design and development is a compelling career choice for adults.

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The Growing Multiverse of Gamers

The video gaming universe is more vibrant than ever, with an astonishing 3.38 billion gamers across the globe. This thriving industry shows no signs of slowing down. Today’s gaming experiences are more accessible than ever, thanks to consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. Coupled with technological advancements, these platforms have opened doors for a wide range of demographics to join the gaming community. 

This surge in popularity fuels a relentless demand for studios to not only develop innovative games but also to keep beloved classics alive. This demand cascades into the job market, creating a plethora of opportunities. In fact, the video game industry currently employs 273,379 people and witnessed a remarkable growth of 9.2% in 2023 alone, highlighting a talent shortage in a sea of open positions. The industry’s job landscape is as diverse as its player base, offering roles in UX/UI design, writing, coding, 2D and 3D art, and much more, reflecting the wide-ranging appeal of video games.

A Dynamic Skill Pool Needed for a Career in Gaming

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In the multifaceted world of game design, the demand for a diverse array of skills and qualifications is ever-present. The industry’s dynamic nature means artists, programmers, and designers must master various programs and software, often integrating multiple tools into their workflow. This necessity underscores the importance of having solid foundational knowledge, enabling professionals to swiftly adapt to new technologies and software.

Continuous learning is the lifeblood of success in game design. Whether it’s through formal education, self-teaching, or online resources, there are myriad ways to acquire and refine these essential skills. In my personal experience, the internet is a treasure trove of learning opportunities, from detailed tutorials to comprehensive bootcamps, each offering unique insights into the industry.

Skill Over School: The Gaming Career Code

While a bachelor’s degree can open doors, it’s not the sole focus of recruiters and hiring managers in gaming studios. They are more interested in tangible skills and a compelling portfolio that showcases your talent and adaptability. This focus on practical expertise offers aspiring game designers the flexibility to choose an educational path that aligns with their goals and learning styles.

In this rapidly evolving industry, staying current with the latest technological advancements is not just beneficial; it’s essential. Embracing a mindset of lifelong learning ensures that professionals can keep pace with the industry’s evolution, making them invaluable assets in the ever-expanding realm of game design.

Salary for a Career in Game Industry

Now that we have talked about the growing demand for talent, let’s talk about the monies. According to ZipRecruiter, a game designer makes an average of $149,118 per annum, with the highest salary of $156,000 and the lowest of $47,000, in the United States. Clearly, this makes a career in game industry a financially viable option. Moreover, as the number of people employed by the industry has increased by 3.5% on average between 2017 and 2022, the opportunity for job growth remains stable as well. 

Further underlining this potential is the consistent growth in employment within the industry. As per IBISWorld, the number of people working in the video game sector has seen an average increase of 3.5% annually between 2017 and 2022, pointing to stable job growth opportunities. 

The industry is constantly evolving, with new studios emerging and roles diversifying, ensuring that the skills and qualifications required are always advancing. These dynamic opportunities present both newcomers to the workforce and those considering a career shift with the right set of circumstances to enter the gaming industry.

The Creative Incentive of a Career in Game Industry

But beyond the impressive financial incentives, a career in game design offers something perhaps even more valuable: the opportunity for creative fulfillment and the chance to pursue one’s passion. Game design is not just a job; it’s a canvas for imagination, a platform for storytelling, and a means to bring fantastical worlds to life. For those with a love for gaming and a flair for creativity, the industry not only promises a financially rewarding career but also the satisfaction of seeing one’s visions come to life and the joy of contributing to a medium that captivates and inspires millions worldwide.

Challenges of a Career in Game Industry

While a career in the game industry offers immense rewards, it’s not without its challenges. 

1. Highly Competitive Career

One of the most significant hurdles is the intense competition. With many aspiring to join this dynamic field, standing out requires not only exceptional skills but also a unique creative vision. 

2. Tight Deadlines and Early Burnouts

Another concern is burnout, often stemming from tight project deadlines and the high-pressure environment typical in this fast-paced industry. 

Navigating these challenges is crucial to fostering resilience and adaptability. Building a strong professional network can provide essential support and opportunities while continuously upgrading skills to ensure relevance in an ever-evolving landscape. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital to prevent burnout. This can be achieved through effective time management, setting realistic goals, and ensuring time for relaxation and hobbies.

A Career in Gaming is Ideal for Lifelong Learners

Yes, a career in gaming industry is viable for adults and also deeply coveted, considering the scope for immense growth. However, this is an industry that needs its professionals to update their skills on the go. Embracing a mindset of lifelong learning and being open to feedback can also help one adapt to industry changes and grow as a professional. 

In conclusion, the gaming industry emerges as a great career option for adults, buoyed by its remarkable growth, financial viability, and job stability. The industry’s rapid expansion and the increasing global demand for innovative gaming experiences underscore its economic strength and potential for long-term career growth.

However, success in this field is not without its challenges. The competitive nature of the industry and the potential for burnout necessitate resilience and adaptability. Professionals in this field must continually evolve, honing their skills and expanding their knowledge to stay relevant and innovative. By embracing these challenges and viewing them as opportunities for growth, individuals can thrive in this dynamic and exciting industry.

Ultimately, for those with a passion for gaming, a penchant for creativity, and a willingness to adapt and grow, the game industry offers a fulfilling and prosperous career path. With its blend of artistic expression, technological innovation, and financial rewards, this industry stands out as a beacon of opportunity for adults looking to forge a rewarding and sustainable career.

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Emeritus.

About the Author

Senior Developer, NVIDIA
Ashley Goldstein strikes the perfect balance between an art enthusiast and a tech aficionado. She's got a soft spot for everything art-related, whether it's diving into art history or getting hands-on with drawing and photography. But Ashley's also a wizard in the 3D world, crafting digital environments and coding with the likes of C# and Python. Her journey from being a Middle School Art Teacher to a Senior Developer at NVIDIA is a testament to her love for the intersection of art and tech. She's a pro at online learning and loves to help others looking to shift their career gears and is an Emeritus learner herself! Plus, she'll likely sneak in a fun tidbit about her dogs when you least expect it.
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