These days, Video Game Design and Animation are among the world's most popular high tech careers. The skills involved are a perfect fit for tech-savvy types with a competitive spirit, as well as for artists finally able to make a living at their art. California is the best state for this kind of work, with its abundance of professional training options and a wide open job market easily accessible to the heart of America's entertainment industry. In the United States, more than a third of all Video Game Design job opportunities are located in California. A surprising number of these are in San Diego County.
San Diego Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Several excellent colleges and Universities in the San Diego area offer professional degrees in Animation and Video Game Design. Students interested in pursuing this type of career might major in computer science with emphasis on digital graphics. Others may earn a degree in programming or math with emphasis on game design and animation. Top local schools offering degrees in Animation and Interactive Game Design include DeVry, California College and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, which offers an Associates Degree in Digital Media and Graphic Design. However, many lesser known schools throughout the county offer similar training.
Employment for Video Game Designers in San Diego
Professional animation specialists and video game designers are often former gamers themselves, now earning good money doing what they like. Their salaries depend on experience, effort, talent, ability, networking and geographic location. The average annual salary for an Animator or Video Game Designer in California is about $77,000. But this average does not reflect the salaries of self-employed individuals.
San Diego businesses currently employ thousands of interactive game specialists. Companies hiring for these positions include software publishing houses, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities and graphic design firms, as well as major advertising agencies like Gavin & Gavin, CHE, Advanced Marketing Strategies and L7 Creative. Leaders of the pack may work for top local film producers like Lauren International, Tina Real or the San Diego Asian Film Foundation.
Employers generally require a degree and several years experience for entry level positions of this kind. Fortunately, you don't have to work for a firm to succeed, considering the countless independent businesses and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Professional Animators and Video Game Designers often do freelance work, securing regular gigs as independent contractors for a number of different companies.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
Basically, a Video Game Designer makes up the rules of a game, decides on a scoring system and develops a series of logic puzzles or exciting challenges to keep players playing. Then the designer either creates the artwork or consults with professional Animators and other graphic artists to capture the visual style most appropriate to the nature of the game. Professional Video Game Designers study math, computer science, graphics, game theory, story lines and character development in hopes of creating realistic, action-packed interactive games downloaded by millions of enthusiastic gamers.