Career Opportunities in Toy and Game Design

It’s funny how young people can’t wait to grow up, but those of us who have lived a little wish only for the days when we didn’t have all the responsibilities and burdens of adulthood. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, we live and learn, and all that junk. But the truth is that plenty of adults find ways to relive their youth. Some borrow clothing from their teenagers while others persist in going to night clubs even though they’re well past the age of being carded (when bouncers and bartenders stop asking you know the jig is up). On the other hand, you might choose your childhood dream job as a way to keep that youthful sparkle in your eye. By taking on a career that involves making toys or games you could keep your finger on the pulse of a younger generation and retain a childlike mindset. Best of all, you can virtually get paid to play all day. Think Tom Hanks in ‘Big’. However, you’ll have to start by seeking out career opportunities in toy and game design.

As it turns out, there are all kinds of positions available to those seeking employment in the toy and game industry. Like any kind of business, companies that make toys and games have departments responsible for planning, production, distribution, sales, marketing, accounting, legal, and so on. But if you’re interested in design you’ll probably want to get into the production aspect of the industry. This may or may not require a specific education, but you’ll find that it can be difficult to get a foot in the door without a degree under your belt, even for low-level positions. So depending on what you’re interested in, it behooves you to earn a diploma before you start seeking jobs.

But what types of degree programs will benefit you? That depends entirely on the career opportunities you’re seeking. If, for example, you want to be part of the planning process to create new toys or games, a background in fine arts may be your ticket, although in this case you might want to put together a portfolio, as well. Your talents with artistic design will only serve you if you can show people what you’re capable of. It terms of toys, you could also fabricate products from the designs of others, and when it comes to games, story writers and engineers play integral roles in taking products from concept to consumer market.

The only problem is that this industry is somewhat insular. So unless you know someone it can definitely be hard to break in, even with a decent education on your resume. You don’t necessarily have to create a product and get listed on toybuzz.org/best-gifts/best-gift-ideas-for-13-year-old-girls/ in order to get noticed (although it certainly couldn’t hurt), but if you can find a way to add some experience to your resume, say through an internship or by developing your own toys or games, you can definitely improve your odds of getting hired and starting your career. And with sites like Etsy to sell your toys on or the ability to post mobile games on the iTunes store (thanks to a $99 app developers license) you should be able to build up your resume, open doors, and get your career in toy or game design underway.

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