Animation and Game Design: Opportunities for Those with the Skills

Interested in animation and game design? Good news: Demand for this skill-set is on the rise. Whether you want to work for an indie gaming studio designing mobile games for iOS, or a large conglomerate producing animations for the web, chances are good there’s a job that fits your wants and needs.

According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, companies requesting animation and game design skills will increase 4.8 percent over the next decade. Over the past 12 months, some 124,554 job postings have mentioned animation and game design.

Even better news: You don’t need an advanced degree in animation or design for companies to take you seriously as a job applicant. Burning Glass data states that some 84.7 percent of jobs asking for animation and game design skills also request a bachelor’s degree. The median salary for these roles is $71,757.

Although you might not need an advanced degree, companies pursuing animators and game designers will want candidates to know the common platforms for bringing games and characters to life. For example, if you’re applying to work at a company producing games for the Nintendo Switch, you’ll need to know Unity, which is Nintendo’s primary game-building platform. In fact, if you’re interested in anything game-related, learning Unity is a must, as it’s a key tool in many game-development shops’ toolkits—if you’re new to it, consider checking out Unity Essentials, which a 1- to 2-week dive into the basics of Unity (you’ll end up creating a simple game as part of the lesson track). 

It’ll also help to learn Unreal, the massively popular game engine that itself is pushing into cutting-edge development areas including  AR frameworks for iOS and Android apps. And keep an eye on low-code and no-code platforms designed to take a lot of the work out of game development, usually via drag-and-drop UX; while those aren’t a substantial presence now in animation and game design, they could become much more of a factor over the next decade or so. 

Whatever you’re interests, it’s clear that companies are growing only more interested in technologists who have mastered the basics of creating flashy games and animations. While this career path has its challenges, there are also significant rewards for those who master the skills.