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Game Dev turned Academic: Myths

March 11, 2008

In talking with several individuals about the possibility of “going academic”, the discussion inevitably comes around to three things: money, money and, eventually, money. Specifically, it’s the perceived massive drop in pay that they’re alluding to.

Does “going academic” mean a drop in pay? Yes and no. It’s not such an easy answer, and it also depends on the institution. In my case, and coupled with the consulting I do, I make on par with or more than I made when I was full-time in the industry (I’ll know definitively when my taxes are done).


  • You get 22 weeks a year off. That’s loads of time for consulting, and as a bonus, it keeps you quite fresh in terms of your industry knowledge.
  • Summer courses. These bump your pay, but ding the first item on this list.

Suffice to say that the drop off isn’t nearly as steep as one would or could imagine.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 11, 2008 8:40 pm

    Another thing to point out is that if you’re in the game industry, you’re being underpaid to begin with.

    Sure, teachers get underpaid as well, but the drop in pay from, say, a gameplay programmer to professor isn’t NEARLY as huge as the drop from an enterprise systems programmer.

    Personally, I was getting paid so little as a designer that my salary actually went UP when I started teaching 🙂

    And yes, those 22 weeks do help. But keep in mind that some of that time goes towards prep work for your courses, especially your first year when you haven’t taught any of them before.

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