Millions of Americans in today's job market seek careers in Animation or Video Game Design. The skills involved in this lucrative field appeal as much to competitive tech-savvy types as to artists who can finally make a living at their craft. Chicago is an ideal place to embark on an exciting career as an Animator or Video Game Designer, with so many advertising agencies, film producers and high tech businesses, not to mention first rate educational opportunities. In the United States, nearly 1 out of 25 jobs for Animators and Video Game Designers is situated in or near Chicago.
Chicago Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Several Chicago colleges and Universities offer degree programs in Animation and Video Game Design. Gamers interested in pursuing this type of career can major in computer science with emphasis on digital graphics, or perhaps programming and math with emphasis on game design and animation. Top Chicago schools offering degree programs in Animation and Interactive Game Design include De Paul University, Columbia College and the University of Illinois, among others. Many more Universities and lesser known schools in the area also offer similar training programs.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Chicago
Gaming enthusiasts who become professional Animators and Video Game Designers can make quite a lot of money if they have the drive to succeed. As you might expect, the pay scale for these jobs varies with the experience, effort, talent, ability, personality, networking and geographic location of the designer. A Video Game Designer working in Chicago can expect to make, on average, about $80,000 a year. Unfortunately, this statistic is not too precise, nor does it account for the salaries of self-employed individuals.
Chicago businesses hiring for these positions include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities, graphic design firms, animation studios and top advertising agencies like Monogram Group, Plan B and Michael O'Rourke. Some of the best local Video Game Designers work for corporate giants like Cine Space Studios, the largest film production company outside of Hollywood.
Employers generally require at least an Associate's Degree and several years of experience for entry level positions in the field of Animation and Video Game Design. But you don't have to work for a firm, considering the expanding number of independent businesses and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Professional Animators and Video Game Designers often get freelance work, securing consulting gigs as independent contractors employed by different companies. These designers can work from home, make their own schedules and sometimes earn more money than their corporate colleagues.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
Video Game Designers make up the rules of the game, calculate a workable scoring system and develop a series of thinking puzzles, booby traps and other cool challenges designed to keep the players engaged. Then the designer either creates the artwork or consults with professional Animators and other graphic artists to capture the visual style most appropriate to the nature of the game. Professional Video Game Designers study math, computer science, graphics, game theory, story lines, character development and related topics to create realistic, action-packed interactive games. The best of these games sell copies in the millions.