In today's high-tech professional landscape, employment seekers by the millions are pursuing careers in Animation and Video Game Design. The skills needed to work in this exciting field appeal as much to tech-savvy entrepreneurs as to artists finally able to earn a living at their craft. Businesses throughout the area employ video game specialists. The vast majority of local companies hiring for these positions are Washington DC. Many more opportunities exist in Baltimore, an easy commute from DC.
Washington DC Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Local colleges and Universities are meeting an increasing commercial demand by offering degree programs in Animation and Video Game Design. Some designers major in Computer Science with emphasis on Digital Graphics. Some earn Programming degrees with emphasis on Animation, or Math degrees with special focus on Game Theory.
Schools in Washington DC offering degrees related to Interactive Game Design include the Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts. Also accessible are the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of Maryland and Morgan State University, all located in Baltimore. Similar degree programs are available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Washington DC
Animators and video game designers with energy and a drive to succeed can achieve tremendous financial success doing something they enjoy. The pay scale for this type of work varies depending on experience, effort, talent, ability, personality, networking and geographic location, among other factors. The average annual salary for an Animator or Video Game Designer in the United States ranges from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year. A designer who works in Washington DC will earn (on average) around $60,000 annually. However, this data fails to figure in the unreported salaries of countless self-employed individuals.
Businesses in Washington DC hiring animators and video game designers include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, graphic design firms and animation studios. Some designers work with top local ad agencies like Adworks and Face Time. Others work for DC-based motion picture producers like Story House, People Tech and Corporation Public Broadcasting.
As a rule, entry level positions in the field typically require a degree and some professional experience, but be on the lookout for exceptions to the rule. You don't necessarily have to work for a firm, thanks to an infinity of websites and start-up companies featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Designers are often freelance professionals, setting their own schedules and telecommuting. Many find work as independent contractors for corporations and private businesses. Some create and sell games independently. Others build game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A Video Game Designer has an idea for a game, then develops a set of rules and calculates a plausible scoring system. The designer then enhances the game with intriguing puzzles, tricks, traps and other special features. The game is usually programmed so that the difficulty level increases with each successive challenge, and a time limit is often involved. Once the programming is complete, the designer creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animation artists to capture the visual style most appropriate to the game's theme. The designer also conducts play-testing sessions to help determine the potential of a game for commercial success.
Professional Animators and Video Game Designers study Math, Communications, Computer Science, Fine Arts, Digital Graphics, Game Theory, Story Lines, Character Development, Marketing, Promotion and other relevant topics in order to create realistic, action-packed, innovative products. Video Game Designers strive for mass market appeal.