All over Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, high-tech job hunters are seeking careers in animation and video game design. Those blessed with the gift of game design skills are among the most sought-after professionals in today's job market. With a population of more than 300,000, Pittsburgh has numerous employment opportunities in this field. All sorts of companies throughout Pennsylvania employ animators and video game designers. Many of these jobs, not to mention first-rate educational opportunities, are located right here in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Several good colleges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offer professional degree programs in animation and video game design. Students pursuing this career often major in computer science with special focus on digital graphics. Some earn programming degrees with emphasis on animation. Some are math majors who specialize in statistics and minor in game theory.
Pittsburgh schools offering degrees in interactive game design include Carnegie Mellon, The Art Institute, University of Phoenix and DeVry. Similar training and degree options are available online. The largest schools with online degree programs in video game design are The Art Institutes, University of Phoenix, DeVry and ITT Tech.
Working as a Video Gmae Designer in Pittsburgh
As you might expect, the pay rate for animators and video game designers depends on experience, effort, talent, ability, performance, productivity, networking and geographic location, among other factors. On average, annual starting salaries for animators and video game designers in Pennsylvania range from about $45,000 to $61,000 per year. Unfortunately, this data does not account for the salaries of self-employed individuals. However, it is safe to assume that animators and video game designers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania can earn above-average incomes doing what they like to do.
Companies in Pittsburgh hiring for these positions include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, graphic design firms and animation studios. Some designers work for top local advertising agencies like Brunner, Hudson Global, Ketchum Communications, Park Navy or Ronin, to name a few. Other designers work for Pittsburgh-based movie producers like Argentine, Arrow Starr, PMI or the Jewish Media Development Center. Local animators and video game designers often visit the Pittsburgh Film Office to scout jobs and related resources.
Employers typically require a degree and game design experience for entry level positions in animation and video game design. But you don't necessarily have to work for a firm, thanks to the wealth of start-ups with websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Professional animators and video game designers can work from home as freelance professionals. They secure gigs as independent contractors and often work for more than one company.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
Video game designers imagine a game, devise the rules, create a scoring system and add special features like sound effects and exciting challenges to keep the players amused. Then the designer either creates the artwork or consults with graphic artists to capture the visual style best suited to the elements of the game. Video game designers study math, communications, computer science, engineering, graphics, game theory, story lines, character development and many other topics. The aim of the day is the invention of an all-new, action-packed interactive product, which the designer hopes will sell millions.