Career Change / Salaries

Posted this over at Sumea, then noticed the forum change notice. Might as well do it here too =D


Hello all,

Just looking for thoughts and opinions, cause I know I've run through this so much in my own head, I need some fresh input.

I'd love to have a job in the games industry, i really would. I have a few friends with various experiences within it, and I have been on the fringe looking in for some time.

Currently I work at Monash Uni, doing IT Support stuff. I make a fairly decent wage, as I've been doing it fulltime/casual for 4 years, so I've had time to accumulate raises and the like.

Last year I took off to study 3D properly, having dabbled in it off and on before, but art was more "hobby" than anything until I convinced myself that "I could do it!" That plunge taken, I wasn't happy with my folio, so decided to take another 6 months off to work on it and then begin the job hunting.

Then the problem comes. See, before I took the year for study, I didn't really consider the actual salaries involved. After coming back to my current job on a 6month contract, I'm making ~47.5k. This will wind up going up. I could change track -slightly- into a different field of IT, and it'll go up again.

The problem is I'm sick of Customer Service, and I'm sick of technical support. I'd love to change to doing Art which I studied for and enjoy, but from all accounts and research, I'm guaranteed to take a pay cut. It also appears that I'll get less than I would if I dusted off my programming skills, and tried to find a good programming role.

My concern is how much a cut I'd take. A small loss, I can handle, but I do live on my own, and have a student loan to repay. Too much of a salary cut and its just not feasible. But what is the real value of job satisfaction:low pay::job frustration:high pay, and how does it balance?

I know that to start on more, you must bring more to the table, an amazing folio, the confidence needed to convince others that you -are- the best and deserve to be paid as such, but what are the rates and likelyhood of being able to start at the top of a juniors scale based on folio wow and some indy experience alone?

I'm not even sure what I'm asking for here now. Advice, thoughts..? How do people survive starting out? What are the rates and whats the future hold? The only "concrete" numbers all nicely listed and in some sort of non grasping for "well, whats this job classed as anyway" I've managed to find was at which actually made me feel a bit more hopeful about the industry again. But that was 2004. What is it like now?

I'll stop rambling now, thanks for reading. ^^;

compactjerry's picture

Hey Artemis

A current job opening at Infinite Interactive for a "Junior Artist/Illustrator" lists a salary of $38-42k.

I'd say most companies would offer a bit less than that for a junior position. But if you have a hot ass folio then companies are going to want you, so you could push up to around 40k maybe. Unfortunately as you have already realised artists get paid less then most other positions. Really it all comes down to passion though, if you really want to be a games artist then it will be worth taking the pay cut. You could consider doing some freelance work on top of a full-time position to make up for the pay cut, web design work pays pretty well.

I know a lot of people who take this option, as the work is usually pretty easy and can be done at home in one night or two.

Hope that helps.

artemis's picture

Thanks for the comment. And yeah, the more I think about it, the more it is a balance. How much do you love the job, versus how much do you love to get paid?

I've actually done the freelance Webdesign thing for a while. Got burned by some bad clients so kind of wary of that, but yeah. It does pay well for easy work.

Its good to have options at any rate.

Now to work on that "hot ass folio" haha. =3

conkerberry's picture

Bronwynn from Conkerberry

Hi we have a Windows Server/Exchange/Active Directory administration role ($50-60K) with a games company in Perth. Would this be of interest to you? Once in the company you can probably get first choice at some trainee art roles.
Anyway, let me know.
Bronwynn Lusted
Conkerberry Pty Ltd - Recruitment for Games Australia wide
Phone 02 9267 5714
Mobile 0427 690 971
145 / 336 Sussex St, Sydney 2000 NSW