Would a computer science degree be helpful for a career making video games?

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In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Chris B., who’s wondering whether a computer science degree would be helpful to a video game design career, or in the video game industry in general?

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why a computer science (CS) degree is helpful for a job in game design
  • How a CS degree could help you get one of the highest-paying jobs in the game industry
  • How a CS degree can provide critical job security when times get tough

If you have a question you'd like to get answered on the podcast, leave a comment below or ask me anything here.

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Hello and welcome to the Game Industry Career Guide podcast, Episode 6. I am Jason W. Bay from gamingcareerindustryguide.com. And this is the podcast where I answer your questions about getting a job and growing your career making video games.

Today’s question comes from reader Chris B. who is wondering whether he needs a computer science degree to get a job in games. Chris asks,”How beneficial do you think a computer science degree would be to a video game design career and in the game industry in general?” Chris this is an excellent question because many people in the video game do have computer science or computer related technical degrees. Is that required or is it helpful? I think that if you are interested in getting a computer science degree, then you should absolutely do that. There are at least three very good reasons why it can be super helpful for your career.

First, when you get a computer science degree, you’ll learn how to do computer programming. And knowing how to program will help you as a game designer. Game designers are often required to use scripting languages which are similar to programming languages to create the game’s levels, missions, and other player interactions. I talk a bit more about game design and scripting languages in episode one so check out episode one of this podcast.

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Secondly, getting a computer science degree will open the door for you to become a game programmer if you wanted to do that. Game programming is a really fun job if you like programming, but it also has the highest salary in the gaming industry. Game programmer salaries start at about $40,000 a year for entry level jobs, and they can grow to over $120,000 a year. It’s a very big salary. Very few jobs in a game industry pay more than game programming pays. If you want more details about the average salaries and all of the various games jobs, check out the developer salary articles on the game industry career guide website. I’ll link to them in the show notes.

The third reason that it’s a good plan to get a computer science degree is this. If you have trouble getting into the game industry for any reason or if the game industry is having a rough patch around the time that you graduate and there are just aren’t many jobs available right away, a computer science degree will allow you to more easily get jobs outside of the game industry. There could be opportunities in game related industries such as serious games or medical or industrial or training or simulation. You could probably get a job as a programmer making business software, creating desktop applications or mobile applications, and you could probably get a job as a web developer.

So to answer to Chris’s question about how beneficial would a computer science degree be in the game industry, in short having a computer science degree is definitely better than not having a degree for either a job in design or game programming. It will make it easier to get a job in games and it will highly result in a higher salary throughout your care. And it creates more job opportunities for you to choose from both inside and outside of the game industry.

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That wraps up today’s episode. Thanks to Chris for the question and thank you for listening. Did you like what heard? please tell your friends about this podcast or take a few seconds to leave me a review on iTunes. It will help others aspiring game developers to find the show. For more information and inspiration on getting and growing your job making video games, please visit gameindustrycareerguide.com. Thanks again, and I will see you next week right here on the Game Industry Career Guide podcast.

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