As the gaming market expands and the influence and popularity of e-sports grows, many people are looking to turn their love of gaming into a career. The world of video game development and creation offers both an enjoyable work environment and a lucrative salary, making it a boon to prospective employees. If you’ve ever wondered how to take your hobby and turn it into a professional passion, we’ve compiled some need to know information to get started.
Despite what some might think, the world of video game based careers is a highly competitive field involving many challenging processes; students especially need to be aware of the specialization and diversification involved. Degrees in the discipline are focused on the production aspects, making video game development a mix of disciplines including mathematics, graphic design, software engineering, and programming.
The world of video games offers a wide range of career opportunities, including:
Game design is the catch-all term for a field that has many specializations; including but not limited to disciplines such as graphic design, creative writing, computer programming, and even science! While the exact role of a game designer may vary from project to project, their primary task is to oversee the overall design of a game.
Game developers ar a core part of the creation process in video games, and oversee many aspects of a game throughout its development. Their primary function is to make the game development process run smoothly and to assure the overall quality of a product before launch.
Game testing deals with the rigorous testing of a game’s software to document any bugs or defects within the code or the programmers and developers to rectify before a game’s commercial launch. As games become more and more complex, and new technology is interfaced, a large part of game testing has also started to involve monitoring overall quality assurance of the product.
Game programming involves the building blocks of video games, concerning the creation and writing of the code which brings a game to life. Game programmers work closely with not only producers and developers, but other departments as well to help translate a shared vision into a playable format.
While salaries in the gaming world vary depending on the job, here are the average industry standards for the above-mentioned careers;
Salary for a programmer often depends on the employee’s years of experience; for entry-level, this is around $70,825, mid-career nets near $70,000, and a high-level designer can average anywhere from $80,000-$92,438.¹
The salary of a game developer can be flexible and depends on your position or specific discipline you work in. On average, you can be in the ballpark of $83,739, but there is a wide range between $52,000 to $127,000 that you are likely to fall into as well, depending on your job.²
The average salary for a game tester in Australia is $55,000 but can reach within the range of $70,000 on some occasions depending on where and what company you work for.³
Salary for a programmer depends on experience, but on average a game programmer in Australia will receive a base pay of $61,253 a year.⁴
The field of video games and game development requires a corresponding degree, so we’ve some options and information on the schooling involved with the mentioned careers;
The average degree in game design will require anywhere from 3-4 years of schooling depending on the university of your choice. While universities will often time offer a wide range of disciplines, to better give you a more diverse skill set, be on the lookout for those that specialize or offer work-study opportunities as well; proficiency in a specific skill set can make you desirable to employers, and work-study opportunities can help you to get a foot in the door of this competitive field.
Since game development covers such a wide variety of jobs, ranging from animation to design to programming, the degree you study will depend on what discipline within the industry you want to pursue. Keep in mind that high-level software skills and IT proficiency are recommended, if not required, no matter what field you end up pursuing.
Game testing, in general, does not have a standardized course of classes or a dedicated degree. However, as video game testing becomes a more competitive field, a degree within the technology and development sphere has been shown to sway prospective employers when seeking new employees; a degree in the realm of game design, video graphics, computer, and programming, can only help when applying for a game testing position.
A career in programming will at the very least require a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, though a Master’s degree with catch the eye of an employer especially well. The fields to focus on for these degrees are computer science, software engineering, and others within that vein.
Game Creation As A Lucrative Career
We hope this article has helped to show you can turn your hobby into a future career with a push in the right direction and the proper dedication and schooling. With its wide range of opportunities and high starting wages, the benefits of a career in this field are many. Consider looking into the possibilities around you for job opportunities in Australia.
 Payscale. “Average Video Game Designer Salary in Australia.” PayScale. Accessed July 31, 2020. https://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Video_Game_Designer/Salary.
 Caruana, Anthony. “How Much Do Game Developers Earn In Australia?” Lifehacker Australia, September 13, 2018. https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2018/09/how-much-do-game-developers-earn-in-australia/.
 PayScale. “Average Game Tester Salary in Australia.” PayScale. Accessed July 31, 2020. https://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Game_Tester/Salary.
 Glassdoor. “Salary: Game Developer.” Glassdoor. Accessed July 31, 2020. https://www.glassdoor.com.au/Salaries/game-developer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm.