What can I do with my game design degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a games design degree and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

  • creative mindset and interest in developments within the games industry
  • critical thinking, evaluating and interpreting complex information
  • problem solving and flexibility
  • presentation skills and the ability to explain concepts and ideas to others
  • teamwork and communication skills through group work and interactions with different groups of people throughout your degree
  • technical understanding and utilisation of required software packages, programming languages and systems
  • planning and project management through independent research tasks
  • time management through juggling different module assessment requirements and work-based learning alongside studies
  • organisational skills through meeting deadlines and managing multiple projects
  • attention to detail.

Career options

The video game sector is booming, with over 2,000 game design studios within the UK, working in this sector no longer means having to travel internationally to get the experience you want. Although you can still work overseas for international gaming companies, there are smaller headquarters for companies such as EA Games and Ubisoft within the UK, along with a wealth of independent studios which design games for a variety of different formats such as consoles, the internet and mobile phones, who are also looking for graduates to join them. Many also specialise in virtual reality, where they create bespoke, immersive experiences for a range of different sectors. These include training for military and medical professionals, coaching applications for sport and performance enhancement, therapeutic interventions for mental health issues (such as treating post traumatic stress disorder) and enhancing teaching and learning activities in schools and other settings.

There are lots of options to turn your love of playing video games into a lucrative career in game design. These include lead designer, game programmer, game artist, game animator, game writer, software developer and games tester. Although the sector shows no sign of slowing down opportunities can be competitive so you will need to network, as some opportunities offered off the back of recommendations. Although you may aspire to be a lead designer, often you need to build your skills and experience in other roles, before being given the reins over your own project.

Make sure you have an up-to-date portfolio of work and you can show your passion for the industry by gaining work experience, entering competitions and taking part in networking events. If working for a game studio doesn’t appeal to you, you could consider setting up your own game development studio. To find out more about going freelance or running your own business check out our self-employment and freelancing page.

Due to unique combination of technical skills (design, programming, coding, engineering) and creative skills you can also look at working in all parts of the technology and computer sector. Roles outside of gaming include web design, systems/ forensic computer analysis, data science, IT project management and cyber security.

There are also opportunities for you to use your unique skill set within the wider creative industries and beyond, such as education, retail and business; with the rise of gamification as a means to recruit, train and develop staff, you might prefer working within a company that offers this version of online learning as part of their remit.

Researching your career options 

It is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.

Take a look at the Prospects, TargetJobs and the professional associations websites for inspiration:    

Employment opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.  

  • game artist
  • 3D Modeller
  • gameplay coder
  • level designer
  • technical game designer
  • technical artist
  • producer.

Employers

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Game Design graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to Game Design graduates:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a careers consultant about your particular situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme:

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs & societies   

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to game design such as PlymGamesDev, GamesSociety or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.