Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

The worldwide video game industry is predicted to reach $277.95 billion in sales in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%, according to a January 2021 report published by Research and Markets. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Programmer (TechRepublic Premium)

Those measurements easily place the video game industry in one of the “fastest growing industries in the world” category for the next four to five years. As the video game industry grows, so do job opportunities. 

However, job seekers should not limit their view of video gaming industry employment to merely development positions like programmers, producers, and engineers. An industry this large and growing this fast needs capable personnel in marketing, finance, communications and a multitude of other job categories, too. When considering an industry for your career path, it is vital to expand your search beyond the obvious and the conventional.

Just like any large and growing industry made up of large multinational enterprises, global supply partners, and small independent startups, the video game industry is dynamic and always evolving. A successful career in the video game industry will likely include several job changes—sometimes willingly but more often not. The key to a long-term career in the video gaming industry requires nimbleness and flexibility.

Here is a snapshot of 17+ potential career paths in the video game industry, many of which do not involve engineering, programming or extensive video game knowledge.

1. Database engineer

The modern video game is complex. On the production side, there may be thousands of assets and elements to catalog, store, and ultimately retrieve. On the player’s side, a character may have thousands of inventory items to keep track during game play. Each of these tasks requires a sophisticated, reliable, and heavily architected database. The kind of database that must be engineered by a skilled professional such as a database or storage engineer.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Database Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

2. Data engineer

A distinction must be made with regard to data engineer and the database engineer referenced above. A data engineer develops the protocols that will be used as the foundation for all data collected and decides how that data will be structured. A database engineer decides how data will be stored and retrieved. It’s a subtle, albeit, important difference when it comes to the overall data integrity.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Data Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

3. Technical support specialist

The complexity of modern video games often leads to technical problems within the player base. While video game consoles benefit from uniformity of components, personal computers can have a multitude of configurations and hardware. Inevitably players are going to need troubleshooting help for installation failures, game crashes, or worse. A talented person with the technical expertise to fix those problems can make or break a game’s future success.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Help Desk Support (TechRepublic Premium)

4. Video game artist

A designer’s vision for their game can only be brought to fruition by the creative talent of an artist. Whether it is character design, world building, or something as seemingly simple as building the proper color palette, the input of a talented artist is a must-have video game development position.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Artist (TechRepublic Premium)

5. Video game animator

Video game animators complement and enhance the work of the video game artist. Modern video games are dynamic, and agile movement is crucial to how a video game looks, feels and plays. Talented video game animators are essential to producing this kind of engaging environment.

SEE: Hiring kit: Video Game Animator (TechRepublic Premium)

6. Video game audio engineer

A talented video game audio engineer is required for any video game’s ultimate success. Music, ambient sound and special effects work together to create a 3D soundscape that completes a game environment. Without it, a video game would be flat and lifeless. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Audio Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

7. Video game writer

The history of video games is littered with artistically beautiful games that have failed miserably. The ultimate culprit in many of these failures was poor writing. Video games need to tell an appealing story, rounded out with steady pacing, character-appropriate dialog and relatable or aspiration characters. Gifted video game writers can mesh all of these components successfully. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Writer  (TechRepublic Premium)

8. Video game voice actor

In many video games, characters engage in dialog with players. If dialog is delivered stiffly or in an off-putting manner the immersion of the game will break, and game play will suffer. To avoid this outcome, game developers use the considerable skills of voice actors. Some voice actors can spend their entire careers performing for video games.

SEE: Video game career snapshot: Industry insights and jobs for IT pros (TechRepublic Premium)

9. Marketing manager

A ground-breaking video game may come to market, but it won’t matter if the game-playing public does not know about it. Marketing and all that entails—advertising, player engagement, packaging, pre-releases, etc.—is vital to the success of a video game. There are dozens of potential marketing positions available at just about every video game developer or publisher.

SEE: Hiring kit: Digital campaign manager (TechRepublic Premium)

10. Market research analyst

Working in support of both marketing and development is the work of the market research analyst. Knowing where the video game industry and market was previously, where it is now, and predicting what it will become in the future is vital to any successful game development strategy. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Market Research Analyst (TechRepublic Premium)

11. Network administrator

Much like any modern business, the amount of sheer data flowing across a video game enterprise’s communication network can be mind-boggling. But the amount of data streaming across the network does belie the fact that all of that data is important. It is the job of the network administrator and the network engineer to keep that data flowing reliably.

SEE: Hiring kit: Network Administrator (TechRepublic Premium)

12. Cybersecurity engineer

While the network administrator and engineer keep data flowing reliably, the cybersecurity engineer ensures that the data flow is secure and untainted by unauthorized eyes. Besides typical security concerns like malware, cybersecurity engineers in the video game industry must also protect a game developer’s intellectual property.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Cybersecurity Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

13. Compliance officer

Some video games generate revenue through subscriptions and/or microtransactions. Those methods require the collection, storage and processing of sensitive personal customer information. A compliance officer ensures that the security of sensitive personal data of customers is maintained at all times and that the methods deployed meet all regulatory guidelines.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Compliance Officer (TechRepublic Premium)

14. Community engagement manager

One of the most overlooked career paths in the video game industry is that of community engagement. Just about all video games generate an active, expressive, and passionate player base. This enthusiastic base often self-identifies as a community. Much of the video game industry creates forums, websites, FAQs, community activities, and more for their player communities, complete with professional company representatives specializing in community engagement.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Community Engagement Manager (TechRepublic Premium)

15. CRM developer

To facilitate community engagement, and all other customer relations tasks common for a modern business enterprise, video game developers and publishers must rely on CRM developers and the tools provided by CRM software and systems. The more a company knows about its customers, the more effective it can serve their needs, wants and desires.

SEE: Hiring Kit: CRM Developer (TechRepublic Premium)

16. Video game producer

A video game can’t be published without someone providing cohesion between the many parts of game development. That role belongs to the video game producer, who must organize, coerce, cajole and coordinate talented people of various technical expertise and keep everyone moving toward the common goal of producing a compelling video game. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Producer (TechRepublic Premium)

17. Technical recruiter

Of course, the key to success for any business is talented personnel. Employing a technical recruiter to find and hire the best and the brightest individuals for open positions is the most effective way to establish a competitive edge over the competition. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Technical Recruiter (TechRepublic Premium)

Bonus jobs: Finance, accounting, and human resource managers

Just like any active enterprise, a video game developer has to track revenue and expenses. Bills must be paid and payments must be collected. To manage business tractions and meet financial and legal obligations, all businesses need to employ financial analysts, accountants, bookkeepers, clerks, human resource managers, and a plethora of other support personnel. Many of these positions can lead to long and beneficial careers.

SEE: Hiring Kit: IT finance manager/budget director (TechRepublic Premium)

The video game industry is prime for just about any aspiring IT pro, or interested gamer. 

TechRepublic Premium’s Hiring Kits help job candidates prepare for comprehensive screening processes, and provides an adjustable framework for businesses to find, recruit, and ultimately hire the right person for the job.

Unfortunately, a gaming chair is not included.

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