Working for a Fortnite: five careers for your teenage gamer

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Your teenager comes home from school, collapses in front of the PlayStation and that’s as much as you get out of them for the next 12 hours (aside from a grunt when the food’s ready). Reading a book or going outside for some air? Forget it.

But as much as you’re tempted to change the wi-fi password and hide the batteries from their controller, a fascination with video games isn’t the end of the world. In fact, tick the right (X)boxes and you can actually make an excellent living from it. Here are five jobs that could turn your child’s console obsession into a fulfilling career (plus some study options available at UWA to get them on the right path).

Designer

What’s the game’s story? Who are the characters? What’s the goal for the players? All good games grow from an idea, and it’s the game designer who comes up with them. Designers work with everyone else on the project to see the idea through from start to finish, making this one of the most important roles in the development team.

Study options

A major in English and Literary Studies will help polish storytelling skills, while units like Graphics and Animation and Designing Play are handy for getting a grip on the technical side.

Writer

Some of the biggest games of the last 10 years have been more like interactive movies – and every movie needs a script. If the designer has the big ideas, the writers are the ones who flesh them out, from plotting the main story and making the characters convincing, to writing dialogue and planning side quests...they’re also needed to come up with instruction booklets, menus and so on.

Study options

Hone writing technique in majors such as Communication and Media Studies or English and Literary Studies, then extend those skills with a master’s degree in creative writing.

Artists and animators

Once the writing is done, a team is needed to bring the words to life, from static concept sketches to animated people and animals in realistic environments. Art and animation fuses creativity with technical skills, taking the visual imagery and turning it into programs.

Study options

Art, graphic design, photography and media all play well in this field, and an understanding of computer science means artists can work well with the programmers who bring their visions to life. Think majors in Fine Arts and Computer Science, with units like Graphics and Animation.

Developer

Of course, computer games need top-notch technical operators. Games developers include the likes of backend programmers, interface designers and experts in systems and development operations. This is the real mechanics of how the games actually work once the designs and concepts are finished.

Study

While taking a Computer Science major isn’t compulsory, it’s certainly highly recommended, and Engineering, eventually specialising in Software Engineering, is also a good choice. Specific units could include the likes of Software Engineering with Java and Software Requirements and Design.

Producer

Work on a project goes on even if the game itself is finished – marketing and business decisions about its release all still need to be made. Producers juggle time, budgets and personnel – it’s a great career choice if your teen wants to get involved in the games industry but doesn’t necessarily have the technical know-how.

Study options

A Bachelor of Commerce with a major such as Marketing makes good sense for a producer role, while a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Communication and Media Studies also ties in nicely with the promotional side.

So don’t despair if your teenager is glued to the screen. A passion for gaming could lead to a career that encourages high levels of creativity and technical skills – not so much Game Over as Press Start to Continue.