Game Design Career Training: Start Here|Turn Your Game Design Hobby into a Career

Turn Your Game Design Hobby into a Career

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Whether it's the original Centipede, or the latest version of Guitar Hero, people love to play video games. But where do games come from, and why are some more popular than others? In many cases, amateur game enthusiasts provide some of the brightest ideas for bestselling games.

From Amateur to Professional
If you tinker with games as a hobby, there may be more serious career potential than you think. The manufacturers of video games often hire less experienced developers as game testers. Professional game testers contribute to the game development process by analyzing video game software in detail to detect flaws in the game's software code.

The average video game takes about two years to create. Toward the end of this process, game developers ask testers to play the game over and over again, tracking down errors that occur during gameplay. If you are interested in finding a job as a game developer, working as a tester might be an excellent way to get a feel for the gaming industry, and potentially work your way up to a management or software development position.

Playing the Game of Game Design
So how should you go about turning your video game hobby into a career? Like any career path, there is more than one route to your goal. Some gain designers choose to enroll in graphic or digital design degree programs that specialize in training artists and innovators in game design. Some art schools offer specific game design programs that can result in promising career opportunities following graduation, such as internships at large software companies or entry-level jobs with commercial game development companies.

Succeeding as a Game Designer
Game manufacturers don't buy just any idea. Thousands of games are pitched to software companies every year, and only the very best make the cut. How can you set your gaming ideas apart from the rest of the pack? Probably the single most important thing you can do to improve your chances is to gain experience in the gaming field, and develop a toolbox of useful skills. This can be accomplished through experience in game testing and development, or by earning a degree in the digital arts or software development. With the right skills and a little luck, you can transform your game design hobby into a lucrative career.

About the Author
John Tuthill is a biologist at the University of Montana. His previous experience includes laboratory work at the University of Washington and Duke University, studying mechanisms of vision and biological imaging.

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