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What Can I Do with a Master's in Game Design?

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If you are considering achieving a masters degree in game design you are in the perfect moment in history for such a pursuit. There are so many excellent programs for game building and development enthusiasts that can lead you to video game project manager jobs among others. First off, it is important to address the fact that there are many fields, or specializations that work with game design, so it is critical at this stage in your education, that you are clear how you want to plug in or what pathway you are the most interested in pursuing. Keep this in mind as you are looking at the myriad of game design offerings.

Some people choose a certificate program instead of a masters; either way, things to consider are finding programs that explicitly engage your area of interest and goals for future employment. Many programs offer hands-on learning opportunities while pursuing schooling that will help you land a career in Game Design upon graduation. you may want to figure out if you are interested in the creative aspects of game design or favor the technical forces that make the programming run. There is obviously quite a bit of crossover, however, a masters of fine arts will explicitly address the artistic end of the field. This includes the way the images look, the lighting, structural design, and in some cases, video production or even the storytelling behind the games. Some programs even offer a cultural and anthropological framework that enable students effective background information and context for the stories they are implementing. You can get many of these things from a bachelor’s program, though a master’s will deepen your knowledge and experience.

There are many careers that tie into the discipline of game design, and specifically for those who have achieved advanced degrees in the field. For example, video game project manager jobs are not only lucrative but have many points of emphasis that can apply to a wide variety of people. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, depending on the game design/ development niche, there is an estimated projection of career growth that is between 8 and 24 percent between the years of 2012 and 2026. 

Career Highlight: Video Game Project Manager Job Description 

First off, according to payscale, getting a project management job in game design will project an average salary of $80,490. You will find that video game manager jobs are multifaceted, They are not only often producers, but also responsible for a great deal of coordination. They ensure that all of the tasks related to a project get done, including the creation and distribution of content. Video game management jobs are not only for professionals that know how to build the games from a creative and technical standpoint, but also for those who have the business, leadership, and communications skillsets to lead teams, facilitate workflow, and exchange and offer information regarding the complex ideas of video game development. Those who achieve master’s degrees in game development are generally the ones who are competitive candidates for video game manager jobs. Some of the skills that are emphasized in many video game development graduate programs include strategy development related to game design and the subsequent ideas related to a project. Video game project manager jobs are also the ones who communicate with all of the departments of a game management company. They engage internal teams and institute a workflow that aligns with the goals of all parties. 

In addition, there are some jobs that you may not have considered that masters degree holders in game design could be perfect candidates for. Let’s look at a few here:

Video Game Producers

These are the professionals that coordinate the majority of activities that the teams collaborate on. They are essentially project managers with added tasks. It is their job to ensure that projects are completed on a schedule. They not only manage production, but they are also often responsible for the business end of the story. When a game is about to be released, they are responsible for creating strategies for it’s marketing. 

Video Game Programmers

These professionals are responsible for the back of the house operations related to the game design applications and sequences and all of the subsequent coding. They continue to fix bugs that emerge after and during the testing process. Video game programmers have an advanced skill set that engages technical knowledge related to coding and program design. 

Postsecondary Computer Science Educators

Many people go all the way in a field because they want to teach at the college level. It is nice to have the option to work within the industry as a coder, programmer, and/ or designer while also teaching. This is a great way to have a multifaceted career. Many experts in the field are also the ones who are training the next generation of game design professionals. 

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