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PoTaToMaN2141

Can you have multiple jobs within the development process?

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So, I'm currently in high school and am looking into a career in the game development industry. I've already taken several classes, and I can see many paths which I would be adept at taking currently set in the industry. I have both a passion for concept design and an aptitude for the problem solving skills required for programming. I'm wondering if rather than just having the job of designer OR programmer, there's a common position within the industry where I can apply both my technical skills and creative insight.

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Everybody on the development team has opportunities to contribute design suggestions, within the framework
of the project's time and budget limitations (the project can't afford everybody making game-changing
suggestions throughout development). Programmers often have to make design decisions in the course of their
work. A designer who can program is always of high value.

Develop both your strengths, and don't be dismayed if you get hired to do just one of them. Opportunities to
use your other strength will come along. Especially if you work for a smaller studio (people can get pigeon-
holed at large studios).

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In addition to Tom's excellent advice, you should know up front that a programmer job is easier to find than a designer job.  Usually designers are a senior-level position, although occasionally there are associate designers, level designers, or other design roles that accept a junior person.  Designers are usually taken from the ranks of other disciplines from people who show an aptitude for design. That is they start in programming and move to design, or start in art and move to design, or start in QA and move to design. I've seen a lot of developers promoted into design roles.

On the various teams and companies I've been with, there are 5-10 programmers for every one designer. There tends to be higher turnover rates for programmers than for designers. A programmer that can also produce good designs is quickly noticed, since programmers need to implement design decisions within the code they write, and tiny implementation differences can have a ripple effect impacting the way the design is perceived by the player.  Those programmers may not be moved into design roles, but they tend to advance quickly into more senior positions.

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