11 Video Game Jobs for Gamers

Careers in the Gaming Industry


The Balance / Ashley DeLeon

Many young people dream of someday being able to turn their favorite pastime into a career, but few ever get the chance to do so. However, with the video game industry thriving, there are plenty of opportunities for someone who loves gaming to land their dream job, whether on the creative side, the technical side, or something else entirely.

“Recently, the video game industry became one of the largest industries in the world,” Dakota Vincent, a developer at Future House Studios, told The Balance. “For the last couple of decades, it has become more mainstream, and demand has gotten larger, ultimately leading to more jobs and job security for people working within the industry or wanting to be a part of it.”

If you’re considering a career in the video game industry, you’ll have no shortage of options. And no matter what your strengths are, there’s a good chance you can find a career path that lines up with them. Learn some of the top video game jobs and how you can get your foot in the door.

Key Takeaways

  • The video game industry has many creative professionals, including artists and writers, who have the vision for games and are responsible for the first stage of the production process.
  • Technical professionals such as programmers and engineers take the vision of the creative professionals and use coding and technology to turn it into a reality.
  • Some of the key business jobs in the video game industry include the project and product managers, who keep the project on track and look for profit opportunities.
  • Other jobs in the industry include those you would find at any other company, including human resources, marketing, finance, quality assurance, and customer support.

Creative Video Game Jobs

The creative jobs in the video game industry are some of the most important. People in those positions often have the initial vision for the game and use their creative abilities to bring it to life.

Video Game Artist

Given what a visual industry gaming is, artists play one of the most important roles. Artists are involved in the preproduction and production stages of video game development. Artists are responsible for creating the visual elements of the game, from the characters to the setting. They create the art, which technical roles then can build from.

There are several different types of artists who work on video games, including art directors, character designers, UI artists, texture artists, environment artists, and animators.

Generally speaking, someone working as an artist in the video game industry will have attended art school or have some other sort of education or training. According to Glassdoor, the average video game artist's total annual pay (salary plus bonuses and additional compensation) is $91,727. However, compensation can run as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars for these roles.

Video Game Writer

In addition to the artists who design the visual aspects of a game, the industry also has writers who handle the storyline. Video game writers create scripts and text for the game, which is especially important in role-playing games and those heavily reliant on dialogue for the storyline.

According to Glassdoor, the average annual pay for a video game writer is $92,159, including bonuses and additional compensation. However, it’s not unusual for these professionals to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Technical Video Game Jobs

It’s no surprise that the video game industry relies on many heavily technical jobs. The professionals in these positions take the vision and work of the artists and turn it into a game that operates correctly. They’re most active in the production and postproduction stages.

Technical video game professionals are made up primarily of programmers and engineers.

“Engineering roles often fall within two teams: core and game technology,” Tiffany Feeney, a creative recruiter in the gaming industry, told The Balance. “They compromise engineers who develop the infrastructure, pipeline, and technology to support all games within a studio, from artists' tool pipelines to payment systems for mobile games.”

Programmers and engineers create the actual code that allows the game to run as it should. Many jobs fall within this category in the gaming industry. Some of the key programming jobs include lead programmers, AI programmers, graphics programmers, network programmers, physics programmers, and UI programmers.

Some of the top engineering jobs in the industry include gameplay engineers, infrastructure engineers, rendering engineers, tools engineers, and animation systems engineers.

Generally speaking, programmers and engineers need at least a bachelor's degree. They may also need certain certifications for the different programs and languages they use.

In return, these professionals can earn excellent salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a computer programmer is $93,000. However, programmers and engineers in the video game industry specifically are likely to earn between $60,000 and $200,000.

Business Jobs in the Video Game Industry

In addition to those roles directly involved with the creation of video games, there are also plenty of other career paths in the video game industry. In fact, many of the professionals you would find at a video game company are the same as those you might find at any other company. They help the business run smoothly, manage the people who work there, keep the finances on track, and more.

Video Game Producer

One of the most important roles in the video game industry is the producer, who is responsible for bringing the project from start to finish. “Producers are the project manager of a game's production,” Feeney said.

Responsibilities of a video game producer include scheduling meetings, keeping the project on scope and on budget, maintaining the project schedule, and communicating with all parties involved, from the artists and programmers to the executives.

Video game producers usually need at least a bachelor’s degree. According to the BLS, project managers in the computer systems design industry earn a median annual salary of $114,930.

Product Manager

Another important business role in the video game industry is the product manager. According to Feeney, the product manager is assigned to certain games to identify profit-earning opportunities.

Rather than being the liaison among those actually working on the game like the project manager is, the product manager communicates with executives, stakeholders, and other parties to ensure the project will be profitable for the company and will meet the needs of the market.

Like video game producers, product managers usually must have at least a bachelor’s degree, but they often also have a Master of Business Administration (MBA). According to Glassdoor, the average annual base pay for a product manager is $96,488, but the normal range goes up to about $170,000.

Other Business Jobs

There are several other business jobs that have nothing to do with video gaming but that you’d expect to find at every video game company. Rather than helping to create video games, these professionals help to keep the business running smoothly. The following are just a few examples:

  • Human Resources (HR): HR professionals manage the human capital (aka people) within a company. They handle recruiting, payroll and benefits, terminations, and more.
  • Marketing: Those in the marketing department are responsible for marketing and selling the product to the end user (in this case, gamers).
  • Finance: Professionals in the finance department handle the company’s budget, maintain financial records, and take care of all other financial responsibilities.

For each of the careers above, the education required and expected salary can vary widely. You can find jobs ranging from entry-level to company executive, and salaries ranging from very low to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Other Jobs in the Video Game Industry

There are a couple of other jobs that are vital to the video game industry but that don’t necessarily fall into any of the other categories discussed.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance (QA) is one of the most important roles in the video game industry and one that many kids probably dream of having when they grow up. The job of a QA professional, also known as a video game tester, is to test the product before it makes it to the market.

The job of a video game tester is important for a couple of key reasons. First, QA professionals test the game to ensure it has the intended effect on its audience. They analyze the storyline, the instructions, the flow of the game, and more.

The other reason video game testers are so important is that they look for bugs or technical errors within the game. Once they’ve completed their job, the game returns to production to have the kinks worked out.

The salary range and required education for a video game tester can vary dramatically depending on the company, the type of testing you do, and more.

Customer Support

Like any other industry, video gaming needs customer support professionals who interact directly with the customers. These individuals respond to customer concerns via phone, email, online chat, and other communication avenues.

Some customer support professionals may help customers with a particular issue, such as technical support or purchases. Others may serve general customer support roles.

According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for a customer service representative is $17.75, with only a high-school diploma required. However, depending on their specialty, some professionals may need more education. Someone with technical knowledge or working as a customer support manager may need more education and earn a higher salary.

The Bottom Line

Video games aren’t a new invention, but they’ve seen major growth throughout the past several years. According to Bloomberg, the video game industry benefited greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic and saw 23% growth in 2020 alone. As a result, it’s easier than ever to find jobs in this thriving industry.


The advent of cryptocurrency and the metaverse have also had positive impacts on the video game industry.

“Some people find satisfaction in bringing artistic vision to life; others are happy discovering a gameplay mechanic that is satisfying or fun,” Vincent said. “There are even people who are passionate about the communities that video games create and how it brings people together. Overall, that's the fun part of being in the video game industry; there is something for everyone there.”

Whether you’re a creative individual looking for an artistic outlet, a programmer looking to find your next project, or simply a professional who also happens to be interested in video games, there’s a career in this industry for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where are most video game jobs located?

According to Statista, the U.S. states with the most video game industry jobs include California, Washington, and Texas. Additionally, website GameDevMap has a world map that shows where video game companies are located, as well as which are located in each city.

What are entry-level video game jobs?

The best entry-level video game jobs are likely to be those that require little specialized education. These jobs often include quality assurance and customer support. However, other departments such as human resources, marketing, and finance often have entry-level jobs. Regardless of where you hope to end up in the industry, taking advantage of an entry-level job in any department can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door of the industry.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Glassdoor. “Game Artist.”

  2. Glassdoor. “Game Writer.”

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Computer Programmer.”

  4. Glassdoor. “Game Engineer.”

  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “May 2021 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.”

  6. Glassdoor. “Product Manager.”

  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Customer Service Representative.”

  8. Bloomberg. “A Pandemic Is a Dream Come True for Gamers.”

  9. Statista. “Leading U.S. States With the Highest Direct In-State Video Game Industry Employment in 2019.”

  10. GameDevMap. “Homepage.”

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