Main Job Title: Audio Designer
Alternate Titles: Sound Designer, Sound Engineer, Audio Engineer, Audio Artist, Sound Artist, Creative Sound Designer, Technical Sound Designer.
Short Job Description: To provide audio support for the interactive entertainment industry.
The Sound Designer provides creative and technical support for the video game industry. As such, the consummate Audio Designer must be a sort of Renaissance man of all things audio.
The Audio Designer in games is often expected to facilitate the creative role of providing compelling sound or music assets as well as fulfill the technical role providing implementation and systems design for interactive functionality. Because of this, a successful Audio Designer is expected to integrate in a highly collaborative and multi-discipline environment.
Employment: The Audio Department at a game studio often comprises approximately 4-6% of a studio’s population, making it one of the smaller departments in the game industry. Because of this, a game studio will typically seek to fill Associate/Junior level positions through professional networking contacts, whereas Senior positions will be posted as vacant for the duration of a long and thorough interview process.
Advancement: With experience and credits on shipped titles, the Audio Designer can grow into a Senior, Lead, or Directorial position, depending on the size hierarchy of the studio. There is a positive correlation between years of experience working within the industry and salary, benefits, and title based compensation.
Some Designers will find themselves sliding into department support roles based on skills or tendencies such as roles in Production or Programming.
Education and Training: There are very few schools dedicated toward training specifically in Audio Design for video games. Most schools providing coursework in Video Game Audio Design do so as an ancillary detail to more traditional Recording Engineering or Music training. As such, a strong experiential background in video game audio (credits and demonstrations) is more important to a hiring manager than specific academic training.
Experience, Skills, and Personality: An Audio Designer may be expected to have experience with Field Recording, Foley, Sound Design, Music Composition, Mixing, Editing, Library Management, Audio Integration and Interactive Technology, Vocal Production, Recording/Tracking, and Post-Production for Film and Digital Media.
The successful Audio Designer is both highly creative and technically organized. S/he must maintain strong productivity and professional polish in a high pressure environment.
Unions and Associations: There are no unions in software development, with that said, there are a few professional organizations to which an Audio Designer might belong: International Game Developers Association, the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group, and the Game Audio Networking Guild.
Suggestions for Getting Started:
Network. Entry-level positions are often filled without a single job posting, so networking is highly important for getting a start.
Work on small games for a start. Most training in the game industry is done through experience, so start working on games as soon as possible. Don’t wait for a paid job, if you are new, seek out student or non-commercial projects to join. There are thousands out there.
Stay up-to-date on the latest cutting edge audio implementation technology. Its a cutting edge industry and changes are made to the technology almost every month, a successful candidate is on the ball with the latest technological trends.
Internships may be available at studios, don’t be afraid to cold-call a human resources manager or an audio lead when seeking an academic internship.
If a game studio posts a position, they will often times post it first on their website. Familiarize yourself with the websites and career pages of the game studios for which you wish to work.
Source: Game Developer Magazine 2012 Fall Career Guide
Your Name: Dan Reynolds, Chief-Instructor Video Game Sound Design
Organization or Company: Pinnacle College
For more careers in Audio, you can dowload our ebook for Careers in Music Production as well.