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8 Careers for Video Game Enthusiasts

8 Careers for Video Game Enthusiasts

The video game industry has come a long way since the days of Pong and Duck Hunt. What was once an industry aimed almost exclusively toward children and teenagers has evolved into a multi-billion dollar entity comparable at times to the movie and television industry. The old mainstay that video gamers are just grown-ups who refuse to put away childish things has been completely obliterated by the fact that millions of successful adults across the globe consider themselves hardcore gaming fanatics. Furthermore, many children who grew up with a love of gaming ended up pursuing a career within the industry, proving nagging parents across the world wrong once more. If you have the talent, passion, and drive to dedicate your life to video games, you might find yourself working as a:

Video Game Artist

Remember when your teacher used to tell you to put away your sketchbook full of awesome cartoons and characters? Take it back out immediately. Every video game needs talented artists to bring the designer’s ideas to life by creating vivid characters and environments from scratch. Game artists also must be able to animate their creations in a life-like manner if they wish to immerse their audience in the world they’ve created. Harnessing your artistic talents to create video game characters can net you around $50,000 yearly.

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Audio Programmer

Audio engineers are responsible for recording a game’s music, sound effects, and voice overs. While this may have been a fairly simply task back in the days of the original Super Mario Bros., nowadays video games include fully orchestrated soundtracks and A-list celebrity character roles, so it’s no easy feat. Audio programmers work tirelessly to create the perfect ambiance throughout a gaming experience. Some of the most accomplished audio programmers can pull in over $100,000 yearly for their work.

Writer

Another position which used to be fairly straightforward, writing for video games has become much more complex throughout the years. Today, video game scripts can be thousands of pages long; and the lines aren’t cookie-cutter, off-the-cuff remarks, either. Writers have to create dynamic characters that react uniquely in different situations while staying true to the essence of their personality. They also are responsible for all of the documentation that comes with a game, such as instruction manuals and in-game menus. The best video game writers in the industry can earn up to a $200,000 salary if their game ends up being successful.

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Game Programmer

If you have a knack for coding, as well as a love for video games, you might do well as a gaming programmer. You’ll work to improve upon previously created engines to enhance gameplay through a variety of facets. While the artists have created the characters and their animations, you’ll be ensuring that the characters are playable and controllable. You’ll also create the artificial intelligence that makes interacting with non-playable characters as realistic as possible. If you’re able to make a designers ideas come to life through a computer screen, you could earn a salary of around $95,000.

Game Designer

Maybe you’re not an artist and you don’t have much experience with computer coding, but you’ve had an amazing idea for a video game ever since you were a child. As a designer, your job is to assemble a creative team that can handle all the specialty work and make your dream game a reality. You’ll describe the characters, the environment, and the overall purpose of the game, and guide your team as they work their magic. As I mentioned in the intro, game design is becoming increasingly complex; you’ll need a college education to get started. But you’ll quickly be reimbursed by the hefty salary you could end up earning.

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Game Producer

As a producer, you’ll put your love of video games in the spotlight. While you’ll definitely have to deal with boring office-related work like budgeting and project management, you’ll also be tasked with promoting your game to the “powers that be” within the gaming industry, as well as the most important people in the industry: the fans. Successful producers can make anywhere from $50,000 to over $100,000 depending on their experience and abilities.

Game Tester

Woo! You actually get to play the game rather than design it! Sounds great, right? Well, it’s really not all fun and games. Think back to your teenage days of working in an ice cream parlor; I bet you never chose ice cream for dessert on your time off, right? Unfortunately, being a game tester is less “having fun playing games all day” and more “inching your way around the environment, taking notes on whether or not you found a glitch in the system.” In it’s simplest terms, imagine having to “play” a level of Super Mario, jumping ten times in one spot, moving forward an inch, jumping ten more times, moving forward again…you get the idea. You won’t make much money, but at least you’ll be doing your part in the industry!

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Professional Gamer

But you definitely can make some major cash playing video games for a living. Of course, you either have to be incredibly talented or extremely entertaining to make it big. Creating Let’s Play videos has left some gamers with more money than they know what to do with. Competitive gamers can also earn hundreds of thousands of dollars through sponsored tournament winnings. So the next time your mom yells at you for all the Dorito crumbs and Mountain Dew stains on your couch cushions, show her this article to get her off your back…maybe.

Featured photo credit: rachel takes a break from playing video games with nick – _MG_3350 / sean dreilinger via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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