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Exciting careers in gaming when you aren’t a professional gamer

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Man wearing headset facing multiple gaming screens

The gaming industry isn’t only for professional gamers; it presents an array of opportunities for anyone with creative or technical interests.

Picture yourself at the forefront of technology, shaping the future of interactive entertainment in gaming. You’re in an exhilarating career where pixels and passions converge, and immersive narratives coil around vibrant virtual worlds.

In the gaming industry, there are multiple professions waiting to be explored, from crafting compelling stories to coding elaborate experiences. Whether you’re keen on creating visually stunning landscapes or set on strategising player engagement, the gaming industry offers an abundance of unique opportunities for creative expression and technical expertise.

There are several compelling reasons (to tell your parents) why seeking a career in gaming is an incredibly wise move. Firstly, you’re already a big fan of gaming and so finding work in an industry you’re passionate about will almost certainly lead to a fulfilling career. Secondly, the industry has snowballed in recent years to the point of dominating home entertainment.

According to global media company Forbes, the gaming industry has become “a behemoth with unprecedented global reach” reaping revenue worldwide greater than the music and movie industries combined. And thirdly – and thrillingly – it’s evident the gaming industry is on the cusp of a mind-blowing revolution.

The concept of a metaverse (or metaverses) is unfolding, offering next-level immersive experiences and limitless possibilities. Already, platforms and games like Roblox and Fortnite are hosting real-world brand events and offering virtual concerts; and major organisations such as Decentraland, Sandbox, Meta, Epic Games and Microsoft are commercialising metaverse platforms and using virtual and augmented realities to develop metaverse landscapes.

While the metaverse concept is still in its infancy, initiatives such as these will have a profound effect on the gaming industry, and over the coming years, these companies could become fountains of opportunity for gaming enthusiasts and partnerships.

In fact, there could be gamification in nearly every aspect of the metaverse as it emerges – and if you take your career there, you could be part of an exciting revolution with the power to transmogrify gaming within a truly interconnected network of virtual spaces and experiences.

And as the gaming industry continues to ascend its buzzing and transformative trajectory, opportunities for content creation and game development will continue to proliferate.

So, whether your career aspirations lean towards safeguarding virtual galaxies as a cybersecurity expert or transporting players across ancient civilisations through your narrative brilliance, there will be a job role in the gaming industry to match your talents and interests, now and far into the future.

Three students learning VR technologies.

What kinds of gaming careers are out there?

As a professional in this industry, you could specialise in technical areas such as platform development, coding puzzles and animating characters; or in creative areas such as designing eSport athletes, composing gaming soundtracks or crafting engaging storylines.

In addition to the well-known roles commonly associated with the gaming industry, such as game developer and writer, there are several surprising and unconventional jobs critical to shaping the gaming landscape.

These roles often blend creativity, innovation and specialised expertise to gaming projects. Here are a just few examples of gaming careers. Some you may have heard of – and others that may surprise you!

  1. Game tester: As a game tester, you’ll review a game for its functionality and narrative, and note any bugs, design errors or graphic errors. Your evaluation of the game and your opinion of the experience will inform developers, who can then make changes to ensure the game is as good as it can be before it’s put onto the market.
  2. Writer: If you have a talent with words, you could invent imaginative new worlds, write enticing storyline scripts, develop character dialogues or write clear, easy-to-follow game instructions. Outside of the game itself, you could get involved in writing marketing copy or promotional social media content.
  3. Programmer: You’ll write the code for custom software that makes the game work. You could specialise in programming general functions and settings, or in gameplay experiences such as player-game interactions, multiplayer interactions or combat scenes.
  4. Animator: You’ll build realistic backdrops, create moving objects and breathe life into characters as you turn 2D and 3D drawings into absorbing and compelling virtual worlds.
  5. Audio engineer: Working in a studio, you’ll use your audio mixing and editing skills to produce sound effects, theme tunes, character voices and soundtracks that enhance the game’s storyline and add depth, emotion and suspense to the scenes.
  6. Ethical hacker: You’ll play a vital role in identifying vulnerabilities and ensuring the integrity of online gaming experiences. You’ll use your expertise in cybersecurity to help safeguard gaming platforms and data, and ensure fair play and user security.
  7. eSports coach: With the rise of competitive gaming leagues and eSports tournaments, the demand for skilled coaches has grown significantly. As an eSports coach you’ll provide strategic guidance, training and mentorship to professional gamers, helping teams maximise their performance and achieve success in competitive gaming events.
  8. VR experience designer: In this role you’ll push the boundaries of gaming innovation as you create immersive gaming environments and realistic sensory experiences that transport players to new, imaginative worlds and dimensions.
  9. Player behaviour analyst: You’ll study player interactions and engagement patterns within gaming communities to identify trends, gamer preferences and opportunities for improvement. Your feedback will provide valuable insights that inform game design decisions, community management strategies and marketing campaigns.
  10. Virtual economy designer: In this role, you’ll develop in-game economies and monetisation systems that drive player engagement and revenue generation. By designing virtual currencies, loot systems and microtransaction models, you can create dynamic ecosystems that incentivise player participation and investment.
A fantasy island floating in the sky, amid a mountainous and rocky landscape.

How will AI affect my gaming career?

Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionise the gaming industry, through enhancing gameplay experiences, optimising game development processes and transforming player interactions. It will play a large part in future career roles in gaming, but far from being a threat, it could enhance and support your job role in the following ways:

  • Game content
    AI can generate levels, maps, characters and quests, using procedural generation techniques. This allows you to create dynamic gaming environments offering unique experiences.
  • Adaptive gameplay
    AI-powered systems can analyse player behaviour and adapt gameplay experiences in real time, so you can keep your players engaged and immersed in the game.
  • Non-player character behaviour
    AI can create non-player characters that exhibit lifelike behaviours, making interactions with virtual characters in your game more immersive and realistic.
  • Intelligent game design
    AI algorithms can assist you with optimising game mechanics, balancing difficulty levels and refining gameplay elements.
  • Moderating content
    AI can help you to moderate chat messages and in-game interactions, so you can create a safe and inclusive gaming environment.

What’s a typical gaming career salary?

Incomes can fluctuate depending on where in the world your role is based, making it worthwhile exploring online job listings to gauge approximate salaries in your area or country. But to give you an indication, here are some average* salaries in Australia for some typical gaming careers:

*As of April 2024

Young woman wearing a headset, gaming using dual computer screens

What skills and qualifications do I need to work in the gaming industry?

Creating a digital game is multidisciplinary, involving game designers, programmers, artists, writers, and other professionals who collaborate to craft immersive and engaging gaming experiences and bring the game to life.

To work in game creation, you’ll need numerous soft skills to work effectively in this team-focused environment as well as a skill-set specific to your job role, most likely gained from a tertiary qualification such as a bachelor degree.

For a creative job role in the gaming industry, you must be imaginative, with the ability to conjure unique and innovative ideas for gameplay design, characters and storylines. For a technical job role, you’ll need IT skills in programming, graphic design, animation, or 3D modelling; and knowledge of relevant software and programming languages like Unity, Unreal Engine, C++ or Python.

Having an ability to collaborate and work effectively in a team of is of paramount importance, as is a willingness to learn new skills and keep abreast of new technologies and emerging trends.

Being able to problem-solve will help you overcome various challenges in game development process, and having an eye for detail is more than useful when designing levels, refining animations, or debugging code.

Gaming projects often have tight schedules and so having good time management skills and an ability to meet deadlines is critical. Finally, having a genuine passion for gaming can fuel your motivation and help you stay engaged and enthusiastic about your work.

Here at Curtin University, you can learn all these skills and more. We encourage not just gamers, but innovators, storytellers and visionaries to help shape the future of interactive entertainment.

Through our comprehensive courses, we can give you the specific knowledge you need, teach you soft skills and provide hands-on experience so you can thrive in this dynamic industry, whether you choose to work in the creative, technical or commercial side of gaming.

Courses for creative roles in the gaming industry

Through Curtin University’s Bachelor of Design degree, you can major in Animation and Game Design, a course that teaches you to develop creative and compelling visuals with 3D animation and visual effects, motion graphics and game technologies, and enables you to gain professional experience using industry-standard software and simulated environments.

Alternatively, you could choose to major in Graphic Design where you’ll learn how to communicate ideas visually, or in Digital experience and Interaction Design, where you’ll learn how to create accessible, intuitive and engaging digital experiences for an online world.

Through the Bachelor of Arts, you could major in Creative Writing and develop your talents writing fiction for experimental and emerging genres.

Two Curtin University students in an IT lab, learning about software development.

Courses for technical roles in the gaming industry

In Curtin’s Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), you can choose to major in Software Systems Engineering to gain expertise to engineer novel computer-based systems and enjoy a career at the forefront of software systems evolution.

Our Bachelor of Computing equips you with high-level knowledge of computer systems and processes including programming. Linux skills are taught throughout the course, and you’ll use C and Java as the tools for learning core concepts such as object orientation and algorithms. You can also choose to specialise in either computer science, cyber security or software engineering.

If you’re interested in research we also offer the Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) majoring in Computing, which takes your learning to a higher level and provides opportunities to not only learn C++, Java, Linux and object-orientated programming, but also allows you to undertake a capstone project of your own.  

In Curtin’s Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Science degree, you can major in computational sciences where you’ll learn fundamental programming and Linux skills, and explore disciplines such as programming, mathematics and data science. Alternatively, you could choose to major in engineering science to learn fundamental principles of various engineering fields, giving you a pathway to software systems engineering.

Set of reward icons for an isometric landscape game.

Courses for e-commerce and marketing roles in the gaming industry

Many virtual worlds incorporate stores and marketplaces where players can buy and sell items, participate in e-commerce and enjoy an intuitive shopping experience. The metaverse has also provided opportunities for gaming businesses to generate revenue, allowing users to monetise their activities, and opening up a whole new market for exploration.

If you’re interested in e-commerce or marketing roles, consider Curtin’s Bachelor of Commerce with either a major in Economics or Marketing. To complement your major, you can take a  specialisation in Animation and Game Design and/or a specialisation in Web Media or Illustration.

How do I get into one of Curtin’s courses?

We offer multiple entry pathways into Curtin’s degree courses that cater for students who are studying ATAR, General subjects or a VET qualification, and for people who have relevant work experience.

These pathways include ATAR, the portfolio entry pathwayUniReady, First Nations enabling courses, and the Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Science – a course that can give you a pathway into a range of courses – including Computing, Engineering and Actuarial Science if you haven’t studied science before. Your entry options are based on your current or predicted qualifications, and/or your experience.

Huge gaming competition in a stadium.

Is there a gaming community at Curtin?

Yes! Whether you are a competitive gamer or looking for something fun to do outside of your studies, the Curtin games and eSports club is a stand-out community for gaming, anime and movies.

The club runs several games nights and events each week both in-person and online, and organises large scale events for the community such as LAN parties, tournaments, smash competitions and viewing parties. When you join Curtin as a student, you can join Curtin’s games and eSports club as soon as you start.

I’m in, how do I apply and who do I contact?

If you’re interested in a career in gaming and studying at Curtin University, visit our study pages, see information on how to apply and contact our Future Students Team on 1300 222 888 for help and advice.

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