Careers You Didn’t Know Existed in the Video Game Industry - Undergrad Success
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Careers You Didn’t Know Existed in the Video Game Industry

Careers You Didn’t Know Existed in the Video Game Industry
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The video game industry is booming, with thousands of new positions opening in both major and independent studios.

Whether you want to design your own indie game for Xbox Arcade and the Playstation Network, or work as a small part of a blockbuster release, there are dozens of associated careers perfect for an introduction into the field.

If you’re interested in writing, design, composing, or basically any major in the liberal arts colleges, there are opportunities across the spectrum of video games for you to get involved.

Even some traditional degrees, like marketing, are applicable to a career in the industry.

Take a look at our top five unique careers in the video game industry that you might not have known you were qualified to pursue.


Unique Career #1: Composer

Associated Degree: Music Composition

From Legend of Zelda to Final Fantasy and Mario, some of gaming’s most iconic theme songs have propelled themselves into the popular culture where they’re more memorable than even the freshest pop song.

A video game with a bad soundtrack just doesn’t have the same appeal, and with a degree in music composition, you could be the next Koji Kondo.

How to Get Started

You’ll start by creating your own themes to your favorite video games and loading them up on YouTube, where remixes of video game soundtracks are a popular trend.

Next, come up with some ideas for your own games, and write their soundtracks using whatever instruments you have at hand.

Remember, the most important element of a game’s theme is its memorability and catchiness.

Once you have a few dozen tracks, upload them to YouTube as well, and start building your fan base.

From there, you’ll have a portfolio you can submit to open positions, giving you a better chance of being recognized.


Unique Career #2: Marketer

Associated Degree: Marketing

Like any form of entertainment, video games rely on marketing to move from studio to living room.

Television commercials, Spotify ads, and placement on gaming sites bring your game to the attention of the community, building hype and anticipation for the product.

The biggest sales come in the first few weeks of a game’s release, so it’s essential to have placed it in the public consciousness before the release date.

How to Get Started

Get your degree in marketing from any university.

While an advanced degree will set you apart from the competition, it isn’t necessary.

When you’re in school, try freelance writing in video game journalism.

Marketers are expected to be well-rounded and capable of composing press releases and writing detailed and industry-specific copy that is not only informative, but gets gamers excited about your product.

Once you have your degree and a little experience, start applying for marketing agencies that represent video games, and from there, it’s a straight shot into the industry.


Unique Career #3: Tester

Associated Degree: None

Every kid fantasizes about playing video games for the rest of their lives, and with this position, you can spend your days not only playing them, but testing them and helping to polish the final product before it hits stores.

While you’ll have to play the bad games, too, you’ll be head of quality control, whipping games into great shape and working to discover their flaws.

Begin by playing games you love and looking for their flaws.

They could be anything from minor glitches like incorrect shadow rendering and pop-in, to game crashing bugs that ruin your experience.

Note all the errors you see and keep track of them.

This will be part of your portfolio, which you’ll use to show employers that you’re not only dedicated, but observant.

Start hunting for game companies hiring testers.

You can usually find these listings on sites like mediabistro.com and other entertainment-related employment services.


Unique Career #4: Writer

Associated Degree: Creative Writing

You know that feeling when you’re playing a game with terrific graphics and fun gameplay, but you just don’t connect with the characters in a meaningful way?

Some studios, like Naughty Dog and Bethesda, are fixing this issue and setting a higher industry standard for engrossing narratives, but most companies are lightyears away from their level.

Here’s your chance to get in the action and fix the things that bother you most as a gamer.

How to Get Started

While a degree isn’t totally necessary, it’s a great experience for a writer.

You’ll take apart books and scripts and discover what makes them good, and workshop your own writing with your peers.

Having that degree will also be a point you can bring up on your resume.

Since the video game industry is booming, and those who grew up with them dream of creating them are applying for the positions, you’ll need to stand out as best as you can.

Once you collect some experience and feel comfortable crafting realistic worlds, it’s time to start applying.

Write some short stories and short scripts to prove to employers that you’re able to craft a universe, and use them as submission materials when they ask for your portfolio.


Unique Career #5: Professional Gamer

Associated Degree: None

This might sound like the dream job for anyone who grew up gaming, but it’s a lot tougher that it sounds.

Not only do you have to be a master at competitive gaming, including Call of Duty, Starcraft, Super Smash Bros, and Counter-Strike, you have to be willing to travel across the country for tournaments and make enough money to support yourself when you’re home training.

You are expected to be on the front lines of new releases, picking them up and mastering them faster than anyone else.

It takes thousands of hours of practice to reach the level where you’ll win money, but once you’re there, there’s almost nothing as rewarding.

How to Get Started

There’s no school needed.

You need to be practicing as soon as you can, as often as you can.

It isn’t enough that you’re the best in your neighborhood or city, you have to be best in the world, so play online and play often.

Once you begin making a name for yourself online, start registering for local tournaments.

This is a difficult step for those of us who live away from major cities, but there are also minor online competitions where you can get your feet wet. If you find yourself doing well in these smaller tournaments, begin registering for larger, more competitive tournaments.

These usually have an entry fee, but a cash prize goes to those in the top three results.

The only way you can make a career in this industry is to be the best and consistently rank around the world.

It’s a skill set derived from years of practice, but if you have the talent, you can become a legend.


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