The Best Game Design Apprenticeships at Ubisoft, Epic Games, and More
A game design apprenticeship provides on-the-job training alongside mentorship to help you become a full-fledged game designer while getting paid. Most young adults believe that college alone does not equip them with everything needed to succeed professionally, according to a Multiverse report, which explains why apprenticeships are increasingly sought after. However, finding a video game apprenticeship is not always easy.
In this article, we’ve done the legwork for you. We’ve found five of the most popular game design apprenticeships, hosted by the likes of Epic Games and Ubisoft. We also cover game design internships, how much you can expect to be paid as a game designer, and tips to land a game design apprenticeship.
Game Design Apprenticeships: Top Studios Offering Apprenticeship Programs
We’ve chosen the five best game design apprenticeships available right now. Our selection is based on the reputation of the company and the access to mentorship and other types of support to help the apprentices grow professionally.
|Epic Games Apprenticeship||1 year||N/A||18+
6-month experience with OOP
|Ubisoft Internship (various roles)||Varies||N/A||Positions vary widely but post-secondary education is almost always a prerequisite|
|Unreal Engine Apprenticeship||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Apprenti Game Developer Apprenticeship||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Sumo Digital Academy Game Programmer Apprenticeship||18-24 months||£19,965 ($24,200)||18+
GCSEs grades 9-5 in English and Maths
Game Design Apprenticeships: A Deep Dive
Below, we dig a little deeper into each of the video game design apprenticeships on our list. We discuss the type of experience that you can expect, the responsibilities associated with the role, and the requirements to apply, among other things.
Epic Games Apprenticeship
In the world of web design, internships are more common than apprenticeships. However, Epic Games does offer an apprenticeship. It is a fairly new program designed to nurture talent from alternative educational backgrounds, such as graduates from coding bootcamps. Apprentices at Epic Games may end up in one of three paths: build engineer, procedural tools programmer, or programmer/UI programmer.
As an Epic Games apprentice, you will likely work on some of the studio’s best-known titles, including Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys. This program is also a great opportunity to kickstart an Unreal Engine career. Although no return offer is guaranteed, your chances of getting a job at Epic Games after the program will be much higher.
Aside from a graduate program in the fields of UX design, project management, AI/gameplay, and online programming and monetization, Ubisoft has both internship and apprenticeship opportunities. However, Ubisoft internships are far more common, with information about apprenticeships being rather scant.
As of writing, the popular French video game publisher is recruiting interns in the fields including programming, gameplay, web development, and video game production. These are all widely different roles, and their duration, requirements, and pay vary from one another. However, most of them do require post-secondary education.
Unreal Engine Apprenticeships
Apprenti has partnered with a studio already on this list, Epic Games, to introduce a new Unreal Engine-based apprenticeship program. The program provides training and mentorship in Unreal Engine skills through CG Spectrum, a top-ranked training provider for various digital arts fields.
Apprenti, an agency that specializes in building tech talent pipelines, has a strong track record of placing apprentices at major companies, with 85 percent of their apprentices coming from underrepresented groups. If starting an Unreal Engine career is your goal, look no further.
Apprenti Game Developer Apprenticeship
In addition to the program described above, Apprenti offers a software development apprenticeship for those interested in video games. Apprentices may also work on architectural design platforms and interactive media.
Sumo Digital Academy Game Programmer Apprenticeship
The Sumo Digital Academy’s Game Programmer Apprenticeship Programme provides a pathway into a game programming career. This is a Level 7 Game Programmer Apprenticeship Specification, which is equivalent to a master’s degree. The program requires applicants to be at least 18 years old, reside in the UK, and possess GCSEs grades 9-5 in English and Maths.
The application process for this game design apprenticeship involves an initial application, completion of a C++ tutorial, and two aptitude tests based on the PlayBuffer framework. The final step is an in-person interview at the Sumo Sheffield office.
What Does a Game Design Apprentice Do?
A game design apprentice collaborates with experienced professionals to gain practical skills and knowledge in various aspects of game development. They participate in the creation of game concepts, contributing to the design process through storyboarding, character development, and level design.
Apprentices may assist in implementing game mechanics, testing game features, and troubleshooting issues. As an apprentice, you will learn programming languages and software tools, honing your abilities in areas like 3D modeling, animation, and game engine usage.
Apprenticeships provide hands-on experience to help you develop a comprehensive understanding of the game development pipeline and contribute to the realization of engaging and interactive game experiences.
Types of Game Design Apprenticeships
The video game industry is vast and varied, with a plethora of roles for which people seek apprenticeships. Below, we bring you some of the most common types of game design apprenticeships you are likely to encounter.
- Video game apprenticeships. These programs focus on training individuals in various aspects of video game development, including programming, design, and project management, preparing them for roles within the video game industry.
- Gaming apprenticeships. Gaming apprenticeships encompass a broader spectrum, incorporating elements of game development, game testing, and game marketing, providing apprentices with a comprehensive understanding of the gaming sector beyond just game creation.
- eSports Internships. eSports internships primarily focus on providing hands-on experience in the rapidly expanding field of competitive gaming, involving tasks such as event organization, marketing, and audience engagement within the eSports industry.
- Game animator apprenticeships. These apprenticeships concentrate on honing skills in character and object animation for games. They train apprentices in the use of animation software and techniques to bring life and movement to game elements.
- Game artist apprenticeships. These programs focus on nurturing artistic skills relevant to game development, encompassing tasks such as concept art creation, 2D and 3D asset development, and environment design for immersive game experiences.
- Sound designer apprenticeships. Sound designer apprenticeships aim to cultivate expertise in audio engineering and sound production for games, providing hands-on training in creating and implementing sound effects, music, and immersive audio environments within game projects.
How Much Do Game Designers Make?
If you are preparing for a career in game design, you can look forward to a large salary. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a game designer is $81,000, with some earning as much as $107,000 per year. Meanwhile, the lowest-paid professionals net around $62,000.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a game designer’s salary may be affected by factors like the employer, area of expertise, and location. For example, the average game designer’s salary in San Francisco is $88,490, while the same person in San Diego, also in the state of California, could earn up to $20,000 less per year.
How to Get a Game Design Apprenticeship
Getting a game design apprenticeship can be quite competitive as not many companies offer this type of job. Likewise, given the perks of these programs, such as mentorship and a salary, you can expect them to draw a lot of interest. To ensure you have the best shot of landing a game design apprenticeship, follow these steps.
- Research apprenticeship programs: Look for reputable companies or organizations that offer game design apprenticeships and explore their specific requirements, application processes, and timelines. Focus on companies known for their commitment to mentorship and professional development.
- Enhance your skills: Develop a strong portfolio showcasing your game design projects, demonstrating proficiency in relevant software, programming languages, and creative design concepts. Engage in personal game projects or participate in game development communities to build practical experience.
- Tailor your resume and cover letter: Highlight relevant experiences, skills, and achievements that align with the requirements of the apprenticeship program. Emphasize your passion for game design and your eagerness to learn and contribute to the industry.
- Network with industry professionals: Attend gaming events, workshops, and conferences to connect with professionals in the field. Utilize online platforms and social media to engage with industry leaders and seek mentorship or advice on securing a game design apprenticeship.
- Prepare for interviews: Familiarize yourself with common game design interview questions and be ready to discuss your passion for gaming, your understanding of the industry, and your relevant skills and experiences. Showcase your enthusiasm, adaptability, and willingness to learn throughout the interview process.
Can a Bootcamp Help Me Get a Game Design Apprenticeship?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can give you the experience you need to qualify for a game design apprenticeship. At a game design bootcamp, you will learn all the relevant languages and tools, including C++ and Unity, in addition to honing the soft skills needed to thrive as part of a modern development team. Below, we give you a glimpse into the most popular video game design bootcamps right now.
Top Game Design Bootcamps
- The Tech Academy. This game design bootcamp covers C# and C++, the languages behind Unity and Unreal, respectively. With more than 900 hours of content, you will be on solid footing to start a career in front end or backend development.
- Vertex School. Vertex has a game artist program that lasts nine months as well as a game development program that runs for four and a half months. The latter will teach you the foundations of game dev and help you build a sizeable portfolio.
- Flatiron School. You can break into video game design by studying UX/UI. Flatiron School’s UX/UI bootcamp will give you a solid grasp of design principles, typography, prototyping and wireframing, and much more.
- Tech Elevator. The skills you learn at Tech Elevator’s full stack coding bootcamp will give you a strong foundation in programming which you can take to the next level by attending a game design apprenticeship.
- Learning Fuze. This coding bootcamp has courses on UX/UI as well as web development. Either will prepare you for a game design apprenticeship by teaching you the fundamentals of their respective fields.
Should I Look for a Game Design Apprenticeship or a Game Design Internship?
The decision to pursue a game design apprenticeship or internship depends on your career goals and current experience level. A game design apprenticeship offers a structured, long-term training program, providing comprehensive skill development and often leading to recognized qualifications. It emphasizes hands-on learning under experienced mentors.
On the other hand, a game design internship is a short-term opportunity aimed at gaining industry exposure and networking, typically during academic breaks. It focuses on skill enhancement within a limited time frame. Consider your desired depth of experience and the level of expertise you aim to acquire when choosing between the two.
Top Game Design Internships
- Epic Games internships. Aside from the apprenticeships mentioned earlier in the article, Epic Games hires interns in a variety of fields. An Epic Games internship is a great way to get your foot in the door of one of the most popular developers right now.
- Ubisoft internships. A Ubisoft internship will give you the opportunity to learn from some of the most talented professionals in the industry. Opportunities are available in programming, web development, game production, and even human resources and research.
- Activision Global Summer Internships. This renowned game developer offers a fully paid internship experience over the summer. You’ll partake in hands-on projects, company events, and networking opportunities.
- Unity internships. If you are interested in real-time 3D graphics, this is a program to keep in mind. This game design internship could take you to any of the 39 Unity offices spread across the world, from Austin to Beijing.
- Riot Games internships. This US-based developer has a couple of internship opportunities in fields like game production and software engineering. If you are interested in the latter, you will need to be currently enrolled in a computer science degree or related field.
Is Game Design a Good Career?
Yes, game design is an excellent career choice, particularly if you enjoy technology and have a knack for creating new gaming experiences and building awe-inspiring worlds. It is also a great profession from a financial standpoint, with developers earning well above the national average and enjoying a robust job outlook of 23 percent, per BLS.
Game design is a wise career choice and getting started on your path with a game design apprenticeship just makes sense. A game design apprenticeship gives you both on-the-job training and practical experience under the supervision of a mentor who is an industry veteran. If game design is what you want to do, then don’t think twice and start looking deeper into the game design apprenticeships highlighted in this article.
Game Design Apprenticeships FAQ
According to Payscale, the average video game designer makes $28.19 per hour. This number does not include benefits, bonuses, profit sharing, or commissions.
Yes, there are several game design internships that take place over the summer and that are specifically designed for high school students. These internships allow you to improve your coding, computer science, robotics, animation, and web development skills. For example, the NYU Game Center has several programs designed for high school students.
Game design and development refer to the process of creating interactive and engaging digital experiences. It involves designing gameplay, creating visual and audio assets, programming, and testing to bring the concept of a game to life for entertainment or educational purposes.
While not all game designers need to code, having a basic understanding of programming languages like C++, C#, and Java can greatly enhance their ability to communicate effectively with developers, understand technical limitations, and create more complex game mechanics.