Best Jobs in America

CNNMoney/PayScale's top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.

15. Video Game Designer
Video Game Designer
15
"Watching people play is both terrifying and exhilarating," says NYC-based video game designer Carla Fisher. "It's one of my favorite parts of designing."
Median pay: $72,000
Top pay: $117,000
10-year job growth: 27.6%
Total jobs*: 520,800

What they do all day? Video game designers are responsible for creating all dimensions of a game world. Not only do they conceptualize stories, they also must engineer a system that accounts for every possible interaction a player may make with the game environment. Intense perfectionists, they spend hours testing prototypes and debugging code to get rid of flaws in the system.

How to get the job? Programming skills and a flair for system design are critical, as is an understanding of the drama and psychology that make a compelling story.

What's great? What's not? Game designers get to flex their creative muscles and create entertainment for people, so it's fun. But with competition in the game space so fierce, there's no room for mistakes. --G.W.

What they do all day? Video game designers are responsible for creating all dimensions of a game world. Not only do they conceptualize stories, they also must engineer a system that accounts for every possible interaction a player may make with the game environment. Intense perfectionists, they spend hours testing prototypes and debugging code to get rid of flaws in the system. --G.W.

Quality of life ratings:
  • Personal satisfaction: A
  • Benefit to society: B
  • Flexibility: B
  • Low stress: A
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*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research

Do Video Game Designers have great jobs, or what? Are these great jobs, or what?
It's still a tough job market, so when CNNMoney, in partnership with data from PayScale.com, set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities.

Other big factors: pay (how strong it is now, and how fast it's growing), overall job satisfaction, and how many jobs are in the field overall.
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