Today's Gamasutra educational feature, part of the expanded Gamasutra Education
section of the site, breaks down game industry career paths identified by long time computer game designer, developer, and manager Mark Baldwin. Baldwin describes the context of the game industry's career evolution in the following extract:
"The computer game industry has evolved a great deal over the last twenty years. As a result, what were once just one or two career paths and job qualifications have split and split again into a plethora of career paths and jobs. For those who are willing to work hard to educate themselves and to prove themselves in the industry, a fantastically enjoyable and financially successful career is available to them for the rest of their life. It’s an exciting and wonderful set of fields in which to build one’s life—one that is constantly changing and reinventing itself.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was only one job title for those who wanted to create games, and that title was 'game author.' Actually, that wasn’t so long ago or far away—it was less than twenty years ago. The total number of career paths in the entire industry was an astounding number of about two: the aforementioned game author and, on the business end, “game publisher.” But that was it—the game author was the designer, writer, programmer, artist, musician, sound technician, and tester for the game! The business model was similar to that of a book author in that the game author would hide away in a dark and dingy room with Jolt Cola for six months and a game would come out the other side, then earn royalties based on the number of copies the publisher could sell.
Times have changed. While initially the industry was a garage hobbyist industry—an industry that produced t-shirts that said: 'It’s hard to believe grown-ups do this for a living'—today, it is no longer an anti-establishment garage industry but is instead a mainstream multi-billion-dollar industry demanding a multitude of degreed individuals with engineering, programming, art, writing, and management skills. Universities and colleges all over the world are now trying to turn out qualified individuals for this demanding industry."
You can read the full Gamasutra educational feature on the topic
to learn more about the wide range of careers found in Baldwin's archetypes (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).