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Is College Degree Required to Become a Video Game Designer? Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Media & Entertainment.

Many people assume that by earning a college degree, they can become a video game designer. The degree is only a way to enter the video game industry. Most game designers have a degree in video game design or a related discipline like computer science. But they do not know about basic knowledge required. There are more and more routes starting for people who have not been college-educated to get into game design.

Education and Portfolio

There are two significant aspects to any job application for a game designer position:

  • Your education
  • Your portfolio

With ‘education’ you may immediately think of a degree, it is more explicitly explained as a skill-set which you hold. While your portfolio is a compilation of previous works that help you to showcase your skill set.

Procuring both is something that is somewhat difficult for young designers who wish to enter the world of video game design.

Benefits of a College Degree

A college degree is the easiest route into game design because it gives you the space and opportunity to develop your education in a formal environment and make your portfolio. Your education will be formally acknowledged, which gives you more chances to crack your interview. Your portfolio can be made of the coursework pieces or things you have designed in your spare time. Some employers will consider you directly if you have been to college, so it immediately gets you past the first barrier. The downside of a college degree is the cost of the course.

What if you could gain these same skills in a different fashion, without the expense of your college degree?

Alternative Routes

Nowadays, people prefer taking alternative routes to enter into the video game design industry, including people who totally bypass college. Many people get a job in a relevant industry such as software programming straight out of high school as they have been working on games as a hobby.

A portfolio is doubly necessary for those who have not attended college. They need to showcase their skills, as they have not been awarded an official degree for them.

Alternative routes include:

  • Extensively Modding existing games
  • Trying to launch a game you wrote as a hobby
  • Starting your own micro-studio

As long as you can prove your abilities through a portfolio of work, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be treated as equal to someone with a college degree. There are also online skills websites where you can gain certificates and qualifications, which may help you in your hunt for employment.

Demonstrating skills

Getting a job as a video game designer is all about showing your skills.

Spend some time working on projects related to your profile, and you’ll be rewarded with many interviews for positions in the games industry, regardless of whether you have a college degree or not.

Are you a game designer? What are your views on game design requirements? Tell us in the comments section or tweet us @essjay_ent!

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21 thoughts on “Is College Degree Required to Become a Video Game Designer?

  1. mizzusangel says:

    True, a college degree could be really expensive much more if you take up a video game designer or computer science course. I would prefer the alternatives, also there are a lot of short courses that you can take. But if you have the skillset in the first place, no need for a college degree but be ready to compete with the degree-holders though.

  2. redeye13 says:

    Nowadays I think it’s easier. Especially with the advent of the Android and iOS platform, writing gaming apps can give you a needed headstart. Given that, it’s still not that simple; so it’s better to get a college degree.

    Aaaaaaand then there’s game modding too. Now that’s a good thing to do too. For me, I’d choose games I love (Star Wars Kotor series/The Elder Scrolls) as games to try and mod. There’s a lot I’d love to add into those games.

  3. Dindin says:

    We’ll in that case it depends, it’s true that you cannot get the Job if you don’t papers to show but sometimes, talent is something that you cannot get from school, though if you have that talent, school might be able to enhance it.
    Creativity is most of the time what a person need to create a design and it cannot be taught in schools.

    Q: how about game savvy, who cannot afford to go to school, who has alot of ideas in designing for a games will be given a chance to create out of their ideas, and the company helps them to go school? Isn’t it better if you produce a talent of your own? Give and take?

  4. luffyzorro says:

    Be your own developer is easier said than done. It requires a lot of back up funding connections and not to mention education to pull off. So yes Education is key in this unless your super lucky where in your so skilled.

  5. Aditya says:

    Reading through the comments, I think most people here would think that it is not important to have a diploma to get a job in a video game company. And I agree with you guys. If you’re a hardcore gamer and developed your own games, why get a job when you can be your own game developer, right?

  6. Alan says:

    I feel like the gaming industry is so casual and laidback; anybody who has created a great game in their bedroom will have an equal chance of getting a gig compared to a college graduate. It’s the experience and passion for gaming that will get you the job.

  7. Rain Santos-Ocampo says:

    I think people shouldn’t be discouraged to go into their passions as a video game designer especially when they are self taught and talented. Work hard to get where you want to be and you’ll get there. Not everyone has got money for education but hard work gets you places. I know of some really great video game designers who didn’t go to formal school but are doing really great at their jobs!

  8. Amanda says:

    I think it would be great if your degree inline with your passion. Its a perfect combo.

  9. Kyo Kusagi says:

    In any job education is an edge I will admit it. However these days you need something extra to land a job like personality.

  10. Kadoya Tsukasa says:

    I feel this depends on the circumstances. What I mean by that is one could never know where he will end up to. However a good education never hurts.

  11. Charlie says:

    Nowadays, people get hired because company bigwigs got wind of viral stuff on the internet. You’re looking for a job in the tech industry. Then get your game/software out there for people to play on. If it’s good enough, then these gaming companies will come knocking at your door.

  12. Mansoor says:

    If I am an employer, I would be looking for talent and skills. If say, an applicant has an exceptional portfolio and job experience but lacking a degree, I would definitely consider hiring him/her. But I will do a background check.

  13. Elaine says:

    “A college degree is the easiest route into game design because it gives you the space and opportunity to develop your education in a formal environment and make your portfolio” What I think that, no matter which career, it might be good to have better education background. It is because you might add your college life experience to your career.

  14. Pitrain Umali says:

    In this kind of industry, I think an impressive portfolio will help you more than a degree will. When an interviewer talks to you, they’re not gonna wanna know what you learned in the classroom. They already know that. They’ll be more interested in seeing what you can actually do. So instead of sitting in a classroom learning about theories, put your time to good use!

  15. Marquis Narte says:

    You can either go for a degree or start designing games right away. I think both will just take the same amount of time and effort.

  16. Adjuji says:

    If you have skills and abilities as a video game designer then a degree is not required as long as is your passion and closely mastering it by creating and presenting your own creation.

  17. Rebi says:

    These days what employers wanted is to really have an experience in doing IT things. But if you are really seen to be talented, you can actually make ways to be paid for game designing like freelancing.

  18. Mau says:

    Sad but true — you probably wouldn’t be able to get a game designer job if you don’t have a degree or experience. If you’re really interested in video game designing and don’t have the means to get a degree, make it a hobby and just create, create, create.

    Also — “◾Extensively Msodding existing games” — I believe “Msodding” is a typo.

    1. Great comment and feedback May. Thank you!

  19. Dayanara says:

    They say experience is the best teacher. It doesn’t matter if you’re from a reputable college or gained a diploma or certificate for a short course or training or workshop. If you’ve got the skills then that’s all that matters. Just continue improving your software skills from experience and don’t forget your creativity too!

  20. Sushmita says:

    There’s still no replacing a college degree. When you get into college, you can learn a lot of things, which means you can also experiment on a lot of stuff and develop your own game. You can then add it to your portfolio.

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