So you've looked into how to become a video game designer. Being serious, you've enrolled in and graduated from an accredited program where you learned the ins and outs of computer programming, graphics, animation and computer systems. You've got a killer idea for a new video game. All you need is a chance to develop it.
But as the old adage goes, it may be difficult to get a job without experience, and it can be hard to get experience without a job.
There are other ways to get video game designing experience, however. Some of those ways include landing an internship or apprenticeship with a video game designing company, adding levels to existing games and working on your own games that you can test and share online.
Many video game companies offer internships and apprenticeships for qualified students. Such programs help the company maintain direct contact with its key markets -- serious gamers -- while also providing the company with cheap (sometimes free) labor. You won't get rich as an intern or apprentice, but the experience you gain is a huge step in your career. You also will have the opportunity to make contacts with people already in the industry. Internships and apprenticeships aren't always widely advertised, so it's a good idea to be proactive in searching for them.
Another way of getting experience involves being hired as a freelance designer to invent new aspects of games. You can also design your own games using the wide array of readily available software for this task. Developing your own game is like building a portfolio -- it gives an employer a chance to evaluate your past work and future potential.
Another way to gain experience and make connections is finding a job as a video game tester. While the roles of game designers and testers are separate and unique, they do work in the same arena.
Now that you know how to gain experience as a video game designer, how much can you make? Check out the next page to find out.