How to Hire a Game Designer

If you are looking to remain on the forefront of gaming technology, it is important that you hire people who can keep up in a rapidly changing industry, and who have the knowledge and creativity to design games that are going to stand-out in a competitive market. In 2015, the Entertainment Software Association estimated that consumers spent 23.5 billion dollars on gaming content, hardware, and accessories. With numbers like that, it is crucial that companies recognize gaming talent and capitalize on the abilities of designers to create games that take their company to the next level.

Game designers work with business leaders to create the “story,” of the game, which includes the game’s motive and possibilities for earning points and advancing. The game designer may also be a game programmer, or they may work with a game programmer, to input the computer script that is going to generate the game or its pieces. Game designers must be attentive to detail and have strong mathematical skills in order to recognize mistakes and correct them or to be able to advise the programmer on discrepancies in the company’s vision for the game and how the coding appears in their product.

Background and Experience for a Game Designer

Similar to IT professionals, game designers may be self-taught and have years of experience designing as a hobby or professionally that could substitute for educational background. You will want to see examples of the prospective employee’s design work or their portfolio especially if they do not have a college degree. For those who have an education but lack a lot of experience, you will want to look for a degree in a subject like computer programming, software engineering, web design, or another computer-related field, coupled with relevant experience. It would be ill-advised to hire a game designer based on education alone. Also, depending on whether or not they will be involved in the development of the game’s content, it may be advantageous to hire someone with experience in your field be it healthcare, education, finance, or something else.

Skill Sets You Need to Look For

Game designers should possess excellent communication skills, both written and oral, and have an ability to “read,” consumers. People with a personal interest in gaming may be able to predict what will and won’t work and could make the difference in a game’s entertainment value meeting or exceeding its technical use. If possible, look for a person who follows industry and consumer trends and who is excited by the prospect of studying human behavior as it relates to gaming. The starting salary for a game designer with less than 3 years of career experience will typically fall in the $50,000-$60,000 range but some game designers with more experience, and maybe even just more talent, can make upwards of $100,000. A person with education, experience, and a specific-industry background is likely in high-demand and may be inclined to negotiate for a higher salary or additional benefits.

Game designers are just one part of the whole industry of simulation and gaming. When it comes to choosing a game designer, experience may outweigh education but they should have demonstrated skills in coding and programming, as well as creative and technical abilities using design software.