Pursuing a degree in the field of video game development from an institution in the United States is an increasingly popular decision amongst international students who want to turn their passion for video gaming into a lucrative career. The popularity of this decision amongst international students comes at a great time as the production budgets of many mainstream video game titles continue to climb. In fact, the average mainstream video game production budget is over $18 million. This growth in demand for video games when coupled with the willingness of publishers to finance their creation translates to an increasing number of opportunities for video game development jobs. Most international students have reasons for pursuing careers in video game development beyond the starting salaries and projected future growth of their industry, however, the significant contribution these factors make regarding drawing international students to the field cannot be overlooked.
In assessing these dimensions of starting salary, placement rate and long-term employment stability, it is no surprise that when Money Magazine published a list of the 100 Best Jobs in America, more than 25 percent of jobs on the list were computer science jobs, this is more than any other single industry. Of the top computer science jobs listed in the ranking, many are jobs that video game development graduates will be qualified to hold. The following list is that of common careers in video game development and their average starting salaries that made the aforementioned ranking of the Best Jobs in the United States under the computer science heading:
1. Software developer $60,000
2. Game programmer $55,000
3. Software engineer $70,000
4. Game designer $55,000
5. Video game producer $75,000
Given the impressive salaries attached to careers in video game development, it is no surprise that the National Association of Colleges & Employers ranked video game development jobs as number four on the top ten list of Top-Paid Majors Among College Class of 2010. Whereas 40 percent of the jobs on the top ten list were computer science majors, the fourth best major for undergraduates in 2010 was video game development. The rankings were based on job security, job placement upon graduation, average starting salary, and the total number of graduates versus the total number of available video game development jobs. According to these measures, a major in video game development has been the fourth best decision for undergraduates since 2010.