How to launch your career in Game Design
Image via Shutterstock

Do you think you have what it takes to become a Game Designer?

For many people, game design seems like the perfect job, resulting in a lucrative and competitive global employment market. But if this field is of interest to you, here’s what you need to know to get ahead and begin the career of your dreams.

Video games have come a long way in the last 40-years, from their humble beginnings as little more than novelties passed among programmers for fun, to the thriving $80 billion global business that keeps us hooked today.

The fact that gaming is such an accepted part of life for people of all ages means that there are more opportunities than ever for enthusiasts to carve a successful career in game design. So do you have what it takes to turn your hobby into a career?

Got what it takes?

First and foremost, you need to have a passion for gaming. That doesn’t just mean you spend all day playing Candy Crush, you really need to have an interest in different types of games, and an enquiring mind is needed to consider how they’re put together, as well as the creative formula that makes them so successful.

As far as applied skills go, it will be useful for you to have a little basic programming knowledge and some artistic ability in producing 3D designs. More important, though, are soft skills that can’t be learnt, including the ability to work under pressure, or being a good team player and communicator.


The best designers have a strong combination of practical and academic experience. On the practical side, you might consider starting out in testing or development, as this provides a great grounding in all aspects of game design.

You will also need a formal qualification in the field. You might be surprised to hear that there are more than 40 such courses available throughout the UK, from 15-hour evening school classes to four-year undergraduate courses.

Career Development

Most designers start out as testers, but from there you can mould your career in a number of specific directions, from full-on structural game deign including setting, characters and rules, to creating scripts and story arcs to keep the player engaged. After a few years, you might even decide to help develop the next generation of designers!

There are currently more than 4,000 game design jobs advertised on Reed. Starting salaries are around £18,000 a year, while experienced designers typically earn £35-£40,000. Rise to the top, and a Technical Director can realistically look to be earning £70,000 a year or more.

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

No Man’s Sky is not the limit: The infinite possibilities of a career in game development

University research finds positive correlation between playing online games and high academic scores