6 Surprising and Lucrative Game Development Careers for Teens

Game development is full of exciting opportunities and surprising career paths. You have the advantage if you’re a creative and technologically inclined teenager. 

There was a time when “I want to work with video games” was not something a teenager could say and be taken seriously. Now, the multi-billion-dollar-a-year gaming industry is actively hiring the best and brightest minds.

It has expanded far beyond the confines of programming and design, leading to diverse roles catering to a range of interests and talents. 

But some available career paths are a little outside the box. Starting early and knowing what you want and how you can achieve it will put you ahead of others. Let’s explore some unexpected and potentially lucrative careers in game development that could inspire and motivate the next generation of tech-savvy teens.

The Expansive Landscape of Game Development

Video games used to be solely about code and design. It has since become an industry that needs many of the same professionals that other industries desire.

Theres a plethora of job roles that combine various skills and cater to different aspects of game creation. From virtual reality specialists to narrative designers, the possibilities are nearly endless.

You’ll need a passion for gaming,  and the industry as a whole, but don’t necessarily need to be tech-savvy. There are many opportunities around. Some are relatively easy with higher competition and lower pay. Some require advanced degrees. 

With the right combination of skills and a willingness to learn, teens can succeed in the game development industry in roles they may not have even considered. Start on game dev portfolio building and mobile game dev industry networking as soon as possible to stand out in what’s becoming a competitive set of career paths.

The Lucrative Potential of Game Development Careers

Traditional game development roles such as programmers and designers can still be highly lucrative careers. However, these lesser-known positions also offer considerable earning potential. 

As the gaming industry grows and diversifies, the demand for skilled professionals in a variety of game development careers will also increase.

Moreover, with advancements in technology and the rise of esports, there are now opportunities for game development professionals to work in other industries such as marketing, education, and healthcare.

Esports leagues now also need nutritionists, tutors, physical trainers, and therapists to keep their squads physically and mentally healthy. This further expands the potential for lucrative careers in game development beyond just creating games.

Understanding the Roles: Unique Careers in Game Development

When most people think about game development, they often imagine software engineers typing away at lines of code, creating complex algorithms, and implementing state-of-the-art graphics

While this is certainly an essential part of the process, there is much more to game development than just programming.

In fact, the game development world offers many unique and lucrative careers that cater to various skill sets and interests. 

From Gamers to Game Creators: Game Development Careers for Teens

For many teenagers, playing video games is a favorite pastime. But what if your favorite hobby could lead to a rewarding career? Here are some surprising game development careers that teens can explore:

1. Narrative Designer

Average Annual Salary: $83,000/year

If you have a knack for storytelling and a passion for video games, then the role of a narrative designer might be perfect for you. 

Narrative designers create video game storylines, characters, and dialogue. They work closely with game designers to ensure that the gameplay and narrative complement each other seamlessly.

This career path is ideal for teens who love writing and deeply understand character development and storytelling techniques. 

Anyone who enjoys manga and comics may be well suited for this career path. It also allows working on exciting projects with well-known game developers and publishers.

2. Community Manager

Average Annual Salary: $69,000/year

Social media. Discord. Steam. Telegram. Online gaming communities are a massive source of information for gamers and communication from the team. There has to be a middleman. Someone who’s a team member and whose job is to manage the community of gamers spread out over various mediums from all over the globe.

This person is called a community manager. They have a team of moderators working for them. They delegate things from the top and make sure things get done. They aren’t afraid to step in and take control of a situation. And when it comes down to it, they pull out the ban hammer. 

To succeed in this role, you need an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove.

The community manager role requires strong communication skills and a deep understanding of the gaming community to ensure positive interactions between the company and its audience. 

You’ll probably be responsible for organizing events, collecting feedback, and possibly even creating content. 

3. Quality Assurance Tester

Average Annual Salary: $35,000/year

This role has evolved quite a bit over the years. The title was formerly known as “gaming tester” or “beta tester.” It was often unpaid but came with enough perks to keep people interested.

However, it has now become a legitimate job in the industry. With that legitimacy comes more pay but more responsibility. It’s also one of the most sought-after career paths for gamers who aren’t interested in coding or development.

Gaming companies rely heavily on quality assurance testers to identify game bugs and issues. QA professionals play through the game, documenting any problems, and providing feedback to developers for improvement. 

Unfortunately, it isn’t just “getting paid to play video games.” It may sound like a dream job for many teens, but it requires attention to detail and a love for troubleshooting.

4. Sound Designer/Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $72,000/year

For those passionate about music and audio, sound design can be an unexpected but rewarding career in game development. 

Sound designers create the sound effects and background music for games, adding an immersive element to the gaming experience. They may also be required to work with scripts and direct voice actors, depending on the type of game and the size of the studio.

With the rise of virtual reality and 3D audio technology, this role is becoming increasingly important in game development.

5. Monetization Specialist

Average Annual Salary: $65,000/year

With the abundance of free-to-play games, companies are now hiring monetization specialists to develop strategies for generating revenue from players. It’s a tough gig. You’ll be required to have a different type of imagination. You’ll be part marketer and part sales.

This role requires a strong understanding of player behavior and the ability to balance monetization with the gameplay experience. 

Its an interesting and challenging career path for those interested in the business side of game development.

6. User Experience (UX) Designer

Average Annual Salary: $106,000/year

User experience designers focus on creating a seamless and enjoyable gaming experience for players. There’s way more to this career path than what most people initially think.

They use their knowledge of human psychology, design principles, and gaming trends to ensure players have a positive game experience. Part of the job is also to design and create learning experiences for the player. That moment where you realize, “To do this, I have to do that,” comes from the UX designer.

The role requires creativity, analytical skills, and a passion for understanding player behavior.

Beyond Programming: Diverse Careers in the Gaming Industry

While the previously mentioned roles in game development are all essential, many other careers play a vital role in the gaming industry. These include jobs in marketing, finance, project management, and more.

  • Marketing professionals help promote and advertise video games to reach a wider audience. 
  • Finance experts ensure that budgets are managed effectively and revenue is generated for the company. 
  • Project managers oversee the development process and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

There is no one set path to achieve success in this industry. Find a career that piques your interest and then find a way to implement it into the gaming business. Given where things are now and where they can potentially go, almost any type of profession can find a home here.

The Perks of Pursuing a Career in Game Development

Why would anyone want to go down this path? Apart from the potential for high-paying salaries, game development careers offer various perks that make them attractive to teenagers. These include:

  • Working on exciting and cutting-edge technology
  • Collaborating with like-minded individuals
  • Opportunities for remote and flexible work
  • Possibility for career growth and advancement
  • Chance to contribute to the creation of immersive and enjoyable games

How Teens Can Break into the Game Development Industry Today

So, how can teens start exploring these exciting career options in game development? 

One way is to gain experience through internships or volunteer opportunities at local game studios or events. This allows teens to learn from professionals and get a feel for different roles in the industry.

Mobile game dev industry networking is also essential in the industry. Attending conferences, joining online communities, and contacting professionals for advice or mentorship can help teens make valuable connections in the industry.

You can also take online courses or attend workshops to develop skills in specific areas of game development. Mobile game dev portfolio building and participating in game jams are also great ways to showcase skills and passion for game development.

Soba can help young people fill in a lot of these gaps. With our platform, you can build your own game from scratch. You’ll get a better feel for what goes into game creation, how to improve the user experience, story creation, and so much more.

On top of that, our gaming community is top-notch and growing every day.

Preparing for a Future in Game Development: Tips and Advice

Young people preparing for this field must have a strong foundation in math, computer science, and art. Cultivate soft skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and teamwork.

  • Play games. All of them. Even the ones you don’t like. Keep a journal. What did you like or not like about certain games? What could be improved? And how would you go about improving them?
  • Take risks and pursue your passions in game development. Mistakes aren’t ok. They’re awesome. It’s the best way to learn, especially as someone who isn’t working full-time. It will make for one of the best learning experiences of your life.
  • Try a bit of everything to get a broad feel for the inner workings of game creation. Explore different roles, gain experience, and go full throttle on mobile game dev industry networking. 

Eventually, you’ll find your niche in the gaming industry and turn your love for video games into a successful and fulfilling career. 

With the right attitude and determination, you can achieve your dreams of working in the exciting world of game development. But you have to take that first step and then, every day, take another. 

It doesn’t matter if you drift a bit off course. Just keep moving forward and correct as you go.

You can take that first step right now by going to our learning center and start building your first game completely for free. Join our community, make some new friends, and happy gaming.

Get early access to Soba!


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