Today, video games are more popular than ever before, with a staggering 97% of kids playing video games. Gaming is a hobby that transcends barriers like age, gender, nationality, and income, making it ubiquitous across the young population. It’s no wonder that so many kids want to design games when they grow up!
But for many parents, a career in game design is an unknown. They’re keen to help kids pursue their passions, even if it means simply finding out early on if this is not the right path for their child. But is game design truly a viable career path for kids?
In short: yes! The field of video game design and development has been growing exponentially over the past few years (and even decades), and video games are a key segment of the entertainment industry. Games are a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow with no sign of slowing down, which means there are plenty of opportunities for kids to pursue game design professionally.
However, it’s important to be clear with kids that the game design industry is incredibly competitive. Although some game design teams now have more than 100 people, the competition for those jobs is tough since the gaming industry’s popularity is surging. There are currently an estimated 47,000 game developers in the United States alone, with more jobs opening every year, so it’s not impossible for kids to seriously pursue game design as a career, but kids and parents should be mindful and realistic about future opportunities.
So if your kid is serious about pursuing game design as their career, what’s the best way to help them get started?
“The best thing you could possibly do is start making games today,” said indie game developer Shaun Spalding to the BBC. This sentiment has been echoed by countless other game designers, many of whom do not have formal education in video game development.
Since game design requires substantial technology skills and knowledge, though, enrolling your student in an online course or summer camp that will teach them the basics of game design is a great way for them to start exploring their current passion and make their first game. Parents can also emphasize the importance of a solid background in math, computer science, art, and other relevant subjects that will prepare them for this potential career track.
Later, kids could consider going to school for game design, although many say it’s not necessary to get a formal degree if you have considerable experience in making games. However, going to school for computer science may be a good compromise, as those skills will benefit students who eventually choose to pursue not only game design, but other technology fields as well.
In conclusion, a kid’s aspiration to make video games when they grow up does not have to be a pipe dream. There are considerable opportunities in game design and development, with the industry growing substantially every year. Getting kids started early in making games will set them up for success later, but even if they don’t go on to pursue game design professionally, they will have learned plenty of valuable skills that they can apply to a number of other careers.