The gaming industry is booming and jobs aren’t in short supply, but the knowledge about is. If you ask anyone to name a job in the gaming industry they’re going to say, content creator, professional gamer, community manager, and game developer. However, there are so many other roles in the gaming industry.
Roles like narrative design, audio engineer, scientific consultant project manager, concept artist, user experience designer and much more. Some of the well known roles like pro gamer can lead to being an analysis or a consultant.
Let’s go through a couple of six-figure careers in the gaming industry.
A narrative designer directs how the players interact with each other. While the writer will focus on the script and what the players say, the narrative designer focuses on how the characters get from one point to another and their in game experience.
This job is for people who like creative writing, crafting stories, and building out characters. Being a narrative designer means collaborating with or being a part of the content design, quest design, and game writing process. Like in Mass Effect, a narrative designer had a hand in deciding how to go about romancing aliens. If you’re interested in being in narrative design here are a few skills to build up:
- Writing experience in gaming, including dialogue, characters, treatments, and cinematics
- A diploma of College Studies in scriptwriting, literature, filmmaking or video games is a plus (not always necessary – experience will go a long way)
- Organizational skills
Building all of these skills are great but I know what you’re thinking, ‘what about the pay?’ Narrative designers can make up to six figures. The salary range is $37,000 to $160,000. Think about it, you get to be creative for a living, contribute to some iconic gameplay and characters.
As an audio engineer role or sound engineer you have an ear for sound effects, music, and ambient noises. This job could be for musicians, people really into sound effects, and like to edit.
As an audio engineer, you job is the entire game’s soundtrack: the voice, music, sound effects like footsteps sounds, animal noises, and sometimes figuring out how to create a sound that’s never been heard of. Like a twig snapping in space, would you even hear that? Here are a few skills to learn while entering the field of audio engineer:
- Knowledge of both audio equipment and the software needed to process effects, create sounds and mix
- Good timing within the editing process
- Be able to work on deadlines
- Ensuring audio is of high quality and consistent on all device speakers and external headphones
This job needs a lot of commitment, creativity, and patience. Audio engineers make anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000 a year.
This one is for the science lovers of any area, psychology, ecology, biology, etc. The best way to describe this role is by looking at Ninja Theory’s game, Hellblade. Ninja Theory hired a professor of health neuroscience from Cambridge University, Paul Fletcher, to ensure they were depicting mental health correctly.
By contacting a professional, Hellbalde was able to create an accurate view and empathy for people with psychosis. The requirements or skills for this role are going to depend more on your area of study and interest.
- Provide insights to the client with facts and studies to back it up
- In-depth research
- Extensive knowledge in your scientific field
This title could also intersect with a game consultant, a person who gives advice and recommendations throughout the game development. The average salary for a consultant of this caliber is $70,000 to $166,000 a year.
Project managers can be inserted in any field, you could oversee the development of the game or oversee the development of the environment, a chat function, or user experience.
The main responsibilities of a project manager or a game producer role are to manage priorities and milestones, make key decisions and ensure the team has the tools and resources needed. It’s the project manager’s job to keep up with people, keep deadlines and make sure everyone has what they need to succeed.
Here are a few skills to obtain to be a project manager:
- Knowing different managing methods like agile or waterfall
- Great communication in speaking and writing
- Ability to maintain and develop relationships within the cross-functional teams
Within the gaming industry project managers’ salaries range between $53,000 and $140,000.
Project managers can integrate into any area. You can be a general project manager or a project manager in IT, in this role you’d have to be a little familiar with the IT field. Things like SQL, Python, or a general idea of software development.
Concept artists or video game visual artists get to style the game. The amazing art style of the video game Control or the dope character designs of Arcane are crafted by concept artists who follow fashion and interior design trends. Concept artists have a hand in what textures and colors are in a room to what the characters are wearing. They are the first to draw the enemies, environments, characters as well as outfits.
A few skills to brush up on to start a career as a concept artist in the gaming industry:
- Photographic research (drawing inspiration and expanding on things in the real world)
- Digital painting,
- Basic 3d modeling
- Adobe InDesign
- Unreal Engine
- Knowledge of current trends
This role is a chance to inspire cosplay and fashion trends. $35,000 to $100,000 is the salary range for the concept artist role.
User Experience Designer
Do you like creating websites but don’t like coding? Do you look at game menus and attributes and think of ways to organize them better? Or do you think of ways to make technology or information more accessible? User experience design or UX design could be your thing.
Think of a PlayStation or Xbox startup sounds and visuals, a UX designer came up with those. Same with the game menus, adding a colorblind mode and a screen reader to make video games more accessible.
There are three main different areas in UX Design, one is visual, the next is research, the third is UX writer
Visual UX designers are in charge of how the user interacts with elements in the game.
The UX researcher talks to the users who maye play the game to see how they would interact with the game and presents them with concepts to see if they like them.
A UX writer in charge of creating text for tutorials and teaching players where the health bar is.
Here are a few skills to build up while considering the a career change into UX Design:
- Research skills
- Empathy for product users
- Passion for Accessibility
- Adobe XD/ Sketch/ Invision software knowledge
Anyone can enter the UX Design role, it’s just about learning the tools for the job. The average salary range for a UX Designer is $50,000 to $150,000.
Games need legal advice too, this is where lawyers come in. Lawyers help with patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
Video game companies can have significant employment issues, immigration issues, and privacy and data management issues. There are many areas of expertise:
- Analytical and research skills
- Technical skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Attention to detail
Being a video game lawyer your salary can range between $96,000 to $200,000
HR careers in the gaming industry are for support mains, meaning, you love the people, you want to create a safe environment, and nurture change. Some of HR’s responsibilities are recruiting, screening, interviewing, and placing workers in a role suitable for their talents. This just gets people in the door. Then HR is an investigator and handles employee relations, payroll, benefits, and training.
The gaming industry is due for an HR overhaul. Human relations is the gateway to creating a diverse workplace. Are you the person to help make this change?
Here are some skills HR personnel posses:
- Heart for the people
- Analytical and data-driven
- Decision making
- Organizational skills
- Know ethical Responsibilities
HR can get pretty intense but it’s the backbone of every company. The range for an HR role is $57,000 to $170,000 yearly.
It can be hard for people to get into the gaming industry due to nepotism, racism, and sexism. Another reason is the lack of skill. The industry needs to solve its diversity, equity, and inclusion problem. It’s looking to change but the problem can’t be solved just by opening up these roles. Minorities who have been locked out of the industry need to know how to get in, the skillset required, and the tools needed. No matter the age or stage in life, they should be able to get into the gaming industry. Sugar Gamers’ solution is a workforce pipeline solution.
Just like any other industry, it’s important to know your options in gaming. That way you don’t get pigeon held to one area or one thing. Remember, you can always branch out or up no matter how you start.