Think a job in the video game business will involve shooting monsters and taking on virtual missions all day, every day? Think again.
David Hodgson, an author of "Paid to Play: An Insider's Guide to Video Games Careers," says the hours are long, deadlines strict, the work can be monotonous and, in the case of programmers, the pay starts at around $50,000 a year -- below that of other high-tech industries.
"It's not like working in the industry is sitting around playing video games," said Hodgson, a long-time video game journalist, who penned the book with author and game designer Bryan Stratton and career counselor Alice Rush.
The good news is that jobs can be creative, varied and rewarding and there are as many video game careers as there are ways of breaking into the business.
"There are multiple paths, which is the best news around," said Hodgson, who gathered information for his book from 100 industry insiders with careers ranging from testing, design and sound to publishing, management, journalism, retail and professional gaming.
Hodgson said the first requirement is to know yourself. The book gives aspiring game makers the tools for self-assessment.
"I would recommend people look at what their strengths are," Hodgson said in a telephone interview.
Programmers, for example, require a specific set of skills and may benefit from a college education, with video game specific college programs cropping up faster than innocent victims in "Grand Theft Auto."