Top 10 Jobs for Gamers

There are currently more than five million video games in existence. Love gaming and want to make it your life's work? Discover the best jobs for gamers.
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Shauna Blackmon is a journalist and writer specializing in the intersection of technology and humanity. She is also currently finishing her master's degree in international relations, focusing on future technologies and smart borders....
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Madison Hoehn has worked as an associate editor for BestColleges, focusing on coding bootcamp rankings and the skilled trades. She is passionate about providing readers with alternatives to a traditional four-year college. She holds a BA in English l...
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Monali Chuatico is a data engineer at Mission Lane and a data analytics captain at the nonprofit COOP Careers. There, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on ...
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  • More than 276,000 people work in the video game industry in the U.S. alone.
  • The industry includes roles in development, marketing, monetization, and more.
  • It takes both creative and technical people to make a successful video game.

Back in 1995, there were around 100 million gamers worldwide. If you think that sounds like a big number, wait until you hear that that number has now reached 2.6 billion, according to the 2017 Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends Report.

Gaming is not just for gamer kids anymore, either. According to the same report, the average U.S. gamer is 35 years old. There are more female gamers over 18 than there are male gamers under 18.

Designing and creating video games can be a dream job for artists, programmers, testers, and many more. The video game industry has been steadily increasing since the creation of video games, with no end in sight as technology continues to develop. By 2026, the gaming industry is expected to be worth $321 billion.

What Companies Hire Gamers?

When it comes to game development and creation, there are companies of all types and sizes worldwide. In nearly every part of the world, you can find both giant gaming corporations as well as smaller indie game developers.

While there are gaming companies on every end of the spectrum, some of the largest video game industry employers worldwide include:

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    Activision Blizzard
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    Electronic Arts
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    Epic Games
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    Take-Two Interactive

Top 10 Jobs for Gamers

Game Developer

Game developers can have a variety of specialties, including design, art, and programming. In addition to various specializations, different game developers might specialize in different types of gameplay devices, such as consoles or mobile.

Smaller studios might have game developers handle a diverse set of roles, while larger companies might specialize more. Throughout the production process of a game, developers will continuously improve versions of a game until it is finally ready for production.

Average Salary: $84,640

Game Designer

Designers fuel the imagination needed to envision the fantastical worlds and plots in video games. Small- to medium-sized teams will work together to create the plot, characters, and gameplay. They work closely with developers to ensure they follow the fine line between pushing the boundaries of novel ideas and design while still being able to produce a deliverable, which may be a storyboard, mockup, or prototype.They often use game engines such as Unity, art software such as Adobe Illustrator, and scripting languages such as Python & C#. However, game designers focus more on concept development, game developers focus more on coding.

Average Salary: $66,470

Marketing Analyst

Marketing analysts are responsible for market research, data analysis, and reporting. They provide key insights into game demographics and how a game company can best reach and appeal to its target audiences. They also identify key trends, establish revenue estimates, and analyze market changes. Their primary responsibility is to create a prediction model on how well the game might sell in order to plan out the release and prospective performance of the game.

Median Salary: $63,920

Video Game Writer

Writers create dialog or written descriptions and storytelling in video games. Sometimes this role can be rather small for genres such as puzzle games, which may only give a few sentences to introduce a player to the basic gameplay. Or, the role can be extensive in genres such as role-playing games, where dialog is key and often quite complex.

Often the level of dialog is dependent on the genre of the game.

Average Salary: $67,500


An animator is a type of artist who manipulates models to give movement to the characters and scenes. There are a variety of different tools used in animation. Some animators know how to draw, and some do not. Also, some know how to code, and others do not. It is all a matter of what tools the studio uses and what animators are most comfortable with.

Knowing at least a bit of drawing or coding will help make your life as an animator easier, though. Some of the most common languages are HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Other common tools include 3ds Max and After Effects.

Median Salary: $78,790

Video Game Artist

Designers might construct the gameplay, but video game artists bring it to life. They work to create the various styles that will then be woven throughout the entire game and marketing strategy. Should the characters have a creepy undead vibe or be colorful and happy? Ubiquitous styling makes games memorable and helps bring gamers into the game's world.

Some artists prefer to use more traditional artistic methods such as sketching or freehand drawing, while others might use more modern tools such as ED modeling and motion-capture technology.

Median Salary: $58,840

Game Tester

No matter how many times you go over something, there is always likely to be something you miss. Game testers are the fresh set of eyes that give the final check before the game goes to market. They pay particular attention to any inconsistencies, glitches, or bugs and are responsible for writing up a final report clearing the game. It might seem like they play video games all day for a living, but they play a vital role in ensuring a game comes out right the first time.

Median Salary: $87,550

Professional Gamer

For all of the parents out there who have yelled at their children that playing video games will not help them get a job … well, it turns out that is not always true. Of course, the chances of becoming a video game pro are about the same as playing sports professionally, but some people achieve that goal. These men and women often play full-time and compete in competitions. Those who win can earn lofty prizes or get picked up by sponsors.

Average Salary: $56,130


No one gets to see a video game quite like a programmer. Instead of fanciful characters and adventures, programmers see thousands of lines of back-end code. They often work in C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, or Python. Various types of programmers work on a game, often working in various languages and having different specializations and goals. In the end, their job is to make all of these ideas come together and create the backbone for the game.

Median Salary: $93,000

Audio Engineer

Media sound quality has improved immensely over the last few years, in large part to audio engineers and sound technicians. Without that woosh of a lightsaber, the booming sound of a firearm, or even the subtle change of calm background music to something more nerve-wracking to suggest imminent danger, your video game experience would not be as immersive. We often do not notice the work of audio engineers, but they play a vital role in the sound and musicscape that keeps players engaged.

Median Salary: $65,000

Frequently Asked Questions About Video Game Careers

What should I study if I like gaming?

This depends on what part of the video game industry you want to work in. If you want to work in the more technical creation and development of the game, you could get a degree in computer science or video game programming and development.

Or, study interactive media design, sound production, or graphic design if you prefer working more on the creative or artistic side of things. While a university degree is still important for some of these jobs, there are also more and more video game development bootcamps that can help students learn various necessary skills.

What is the highest-paying gaming job?

According to ZipRecruiter, game engineers are some of the highest paid in the industry, with salaries ranging from $92,500 to $189,000. In second place are gameplay engineers, with salaries ranging from $79,500 to $172,500. More than anything, salaries will likely depend more on the size of the video game company, if it is a big-name game or a small indie game, and where the job is located.

How hard is it to get into the gaming industry?

Even though the video game industry is constantly growing, it is still a notoriously competitive sector. There is often the cyclical problem of companies wanting to see potential employees' portfolios, but few companies are willing to hire those with little experience so they can build their portfolios.

Some recruitment agencies, such as Aardvark Swift, Avatar Games, and Game Recruiter, specialize in the gaming industry. As with many industries, proper networking is also crucial. Keeping up with online discussion boards and going to industry events and gaming conventions can help job seekers make connections and get a leg up on the competition.

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