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Video Gaming: Is a Game Design Degree Worth It?

game design degree worth it

In a world where technology and gaming have become integral parts of our lives, it’s no surprise that the present generation has dreamed of finding their careers in the gaming industry. Growing up with video games as a prominent form of entertainment, this generation has witnessed the rise of professional gaming and the immense popularity it has garnered. 

According to research by Barclays Business Banking, Gen Z is likely to see gaming as a potential career path. But with societal perceptions of gaming primarily focused on leisure rather than a viable career option, one may question whether pursuing a game design degree is truly worth it.

Defining Video Game Designing

Before delving into the question at hand, it’s essential to understand exactly what video game designing entails. At its core, video game design involves the creation, development, and implementation of interactive gaming experiences. 

It combines various disciplines, such as programming, art, storytelling, and user experience, to create immersive worlds and engaging gameplay. A successful game designer possesses a blend of technical skills, artistic creativity, and an understanding of player preferences to bring their vision to life.

Is a Game Design Degree Worth It?

Now, let’s address the pressing question – is a game design degree worth pursuing? The answer depends on various factors and individual aspirations. While some argue that a degree in game design provides a solid foundation and specialized knowledge in the field, others believe that practical experience and a strong portfolio hold more weight in the eyes of potential employers.

On the other hand, obtaining a game design degree can offer benefits such as:

1. Comprehensive Education

A structured curriculum can provide an in-depth understanding of game development principles, design theories, and industry trends.

2. Skill Development

Students can acquire technical skills in programming, graphic design, 3D modeling, animation, and sound engineering, among others, which are valuable in the gaming industry.

3. Networking Opportunities

College programs often provide opportunities to collaborate with peers, connect with industry professionals, and showcase work at industry events, fostering valuable connections.

However, it’s important to recognize that there are alternative paths to a career in game design:

4. Self-Learning and Experience

Building a strong portfolio through self-learning, personal projects, and participating in game jams can demonstrate practical skills and creativity to potential employers.

5. Broad Degrees

Pursuing a broader degree, such as computer science, multimedia design, or art, can provide a versatile skill set applicable to multiple industries, including game development.

Ultimately, the worth of a game design degree depends on an individual’s goals, learning preferences, financial situation, and the specific requirements of the job market. It is essential to consider both the educational benefits and the potential weight placed on experience and a strong portfolio when making this decision.

How to Decide Whether a Game Design Degree Is Right for You

Deciding on the right career path can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to pursuing a degree in game design. If you’re contemplating whether a game design degree is the right fit for you, here are a few key factors to consider:

1. Passion for Gaming

Assess your passion for video games. Do you genuinely enjoy playing games and have a deep interest in understanding how they work? A strong passion for gaming can serve as a solid foundation for a career in game design.

2. Technical Aptitude

Evaluate your comfort level with technical aspects. Game design involves working with programming, coding, and specialized software tools. If you enjoy working with computer software and have a natural aptitude for technology, a game design degree could be a suitable choice for you.

3. Creative Talents

Consider your artistic and creative abilities. Game design requires a blend of technical skills and artistic talents. If you possess skills in areas such as drawing, painting, or digital art, and have an eye for aesthetics, it suggests that you have the potential to excel in game design.

4. Research and Exploration

Delve into the field of game design by researching and exploring various aspects of the industry. Learn about different roles within game development, understand current trends, and gain insights into the skills and knowledge required. This research can help you determine if the game design field aligns with your interests and aspirations.

5. Long-Term Commitment

Recognize that pursuing a degree in game design requires dedication and long-term commitment. The industry is continuously evolving, with new technologies and design principles emerging regularly. Are you willing to embrace lifelong learning and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of game design?

By carefully considering these factors, you can gain clarity on whether a game design degree is the right path for you. Remember to reach out to professionals in the field, attend industry events, and even consider internships or short courses to get hands-on experience and further validate your decision.

Cost of Studying Video Game Design

When considering a career in video game design, it’s important to understand the associated costs of obtaining a degree in this field. Tuition fees can vary significantly depending on factors such as the specific school, program, location, and duration of study. Additionally, there are additional expenses to consider, such as books, supplies, and housing.

According to available information, the average salary expectation for video game designers with one year of experience is around $64,974 annually. Some schools, like Southern Arkansas University, offer more affordable game design degrees. Online game design schools provide programs with prices ranging from $35 to $449 for basic courses. The cost of getting a degree in game programming can range from $12,000 to $40,000.

For undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in video game design, tuition and fees typically amount to around $23,335 per year. However, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco has different tuition costs for undergraduate online and onsite programs. On average, undergraduate students paying tuition and fees for a game design program can expect to spend approximately $14,025 annually. 

It’s important to note that these figures are subject to change, and it’s advisable to contact the specific schools or programs of interest to obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the cost of studying video game design.

Is a Degree in Game Design Worth It?

When considering whether a degree in game design is worth pursuing, it ultimately boils down to your personal readiness and happiness with your chosen career path. While a degree can provide you with valuable knowledge, skills, and credentials, the decision to invest in higher education should align with your own goals and aspirations.

A degree in game design can offer numerous benefits. However, it’s crucial to remember that success in the game design industry often relies on more than just a degree. The field is highly competitive, and employers also value practical experience, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a strong portfolio showcasing your skills and unique vision.

Before committing to a degree program, take the time to reflect on your passion for gaming, your dedication to continuous learning, and your willingness to adapt to industry trends. Consider exploring other avenues such as online courses, workshops, or self-directed learning to supplement your education and gain practical experience.

Take the time to research, network, and connect with professionals in the field to gain insights and make an informed decision. Remember that the game design industry is constantly evolving, and success often comes from a combination of education, skill development, industry knowledge, and personal drive.

By carefully evaluating your goals, interests, and commitment, you can determine if a degree in game design is worth it for you. Trust your instincts, seek advice, and embrace the journey of pursuing a fulfilling career in the exciting world of game design.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.