Business Administration

Want to Work for Nintendo? Here Are the Degrees You’ll Need.

Want to Work for Nintendo? Here Are the Degrees You’ll Need.
Nintendo hires candidates who are more likely to create new kinds of play, rather than merely aim to perfect current ones. Image from Unsplash
Mairead Kelly profile
Mairead Kelly February 10, 2020

Many of Nintendo’s current openings require as little as a bachelor’s degree. What isn’t always so necessary? An obsession with video games.

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The Nintendo Corporation’s lasting mark on the gaming industry didn’t start with Super Mario Bros or the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Founded by Japanese entrepreneur Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889, the company made playing cards until the 1960s, when it ventured into different business concepts before finally landing in the video game industry.

Today, Nintendo stands as one of the world’s most valuable brands—and one of the most iconic of all time. At their best, Nintendo’s games and systems have made a cultural impact that has changed the way people view entertainment. Gamers also have a soft spot for Nintendo’s legacy, with products like the Game Boy, Wii, Nintendo 64, and Mario Kart focused on beloved characters and franchises—from cute and colorful Kirby through to grim and gritty Wolfenstein.

These days, Nintendo isn’t only home to countless famous video game faces, but tons of talented professionals—and a company culture that celebrates work and play. Nintendo’s North American headquarters in Redmond, Washington offers perks like an on-site soccer field, annual game previews, and a discounted employee store.

Nintendo employees can also access a full suite of benefits, from comprehensive medical, vision, and dental care to tuition reimbursement, counseling services, and coaching and mentoring programs. The company describes its style of benefits as taking a “whole person approach,” with a focus on helping employees be their best at work and at home.

If you grew up with Nintendo, you may have wondered how you can land a job at any one of their U.S. offices. We’ve got you covered on the degrees you’ll need to catch the attention of corporate hiring managers—and boost your chances of going “career mode” with the godfather of modern video games.

The Unstoppable Rise of Nintendo

While Nintendo steadily worked their way into the video games in the 1960s, business picked up in 1974, when the company bought the distribution rights for the Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercial home video game console.

In 1975, Nintendo began work on its own video games and by 1977, its consoles. These consoles were partially designed by legendary video game producer Shigeru Miyamoto, who would go on to create Donkey Kong for the company in 1981. The game allowed Nintendo to license its products to other companies and establish itself as a major player in the international burgeoning video game sector.

From here, Nintendo churned out seminal creations like the Game & Watch handheld game series, the Family Computer for home gaming, and the 1987 smash-hit, Game Boy. The company’s success continued in the late eighties, thanks to the release of the Super Nintendo.

Despite a series of missteps in the early 1990s and aughts, Nintendo remained focused on innovation—and playing to its strengths. Nintendo DS, Wii, and “Pokemon Go” all proved to be especially successful at the time of their launch, helping the company adapt better than their competitors to what gamers crave most: entertaining games combined with impressive software.

Today, Nintendo continues to hold the title of one of the largest video game companies in the world. With a net worth of more than $85 billion, it’s also the third most valuable company in Japan.



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Working at Nintendo

Nintendo has about 5,500 employees across the globe, including in its global headquarters in Kyoto, North American headquarters in Washington, as well as offices in Austin, North Bend, and Redwood City.

Employees at the company’s U.S. offices make up teams in business management, game development, security engineering, systems administration, and translation, among a variety of specialized departments.

__Some of the highest-paid roles include the following, listed by average base pay:__

  • Senior Manager, Creative Services: $153,000
  • Senior Sales Manager: $150,500
  • IT Manager: $134,500
  • Senior Software Engineer: $129,996
  • Senior Business Analyst: $126,500
  • Marketing Analytics Manager: $126,000
  • Senior Engineer: $117,000
  • Senior Social Media Manager: $109,000
  • Project Manager: $106,000
  • Systems Engineer: $93,797

Want to Work for Nintendo? Here Are the Degrees You’ll Need.

Scroll through Nintendo’s job site and you’ll find open positions in areas like software development, legal, marketing, and operations.

Software development jobs at Nintendo

Nintendo’s in-house software development team is hiring a senior security researcher, data engineer, lead engineer, and an ETL engineer. Openings for senior engineers, software engineers, and application engineers are also available. Within these roles, candidates will play a major part in helping create video games from the initial prototype to the final product—and every code test in between.

Most of these opportunities require candidates to hold undergraduate degrees like a bachelor of science (BS) in electrical engineering, computer science, computer game programming, or a related area alongside anywhere from two to five years of professional experience in their field.

Advanced positions, like lead engineer, note a preference for candidates with a BS or master of science (MS) in software engineering or an equivalent subject.

Legal jobs at Nintendo

Some say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but for Nintendo’s legal team, imitation—and not to mention, content theft, cloning, and trademark infringement—is their reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Currently, candidates can apply for positions like IP assistant, senior paralegal, assistant program manager, and director of litigation and enforcement.

Aspiring IP assistants need a paralegal certificate or bachelor’s degree with two or more years of experience in the prosecution field. Candidates pursuing Nintendo’s senior paralegal position will also need a paralegal degree or certificate with eight or more years of experience in a law firm or in-house corporate legal department.

The company’s assistant program manager listing has similar degree requirements, asking candidates to have an undergraduate degree with five or more years of product compliance experience in the consumer products field.

Not surprisingly, the expertise and training needed to become Nintendo’s director of litigation and enforcement are the most extensive. Candidates will need to have a law degree and Washington State Bar Association membership, plus 15 or more years of experience as a practicing litigator.

Marketing jobs at Nintendo

Nintendo spends millions of dollars not only making video games but also on marketing them. With such high stakes, the company is looking for candidates who are experts at generating hype, anticipation, and media attention—as well as more measurable results, like engagement and sales.

Some of the latest opportunities within this team include listings for a web QA specialist, a search engine optimization lead, a CRM and content planning manager, an assistant project manager, and a digital advertising lead.

The department’s QA specialist role stands as its most IT-driven opening, with requirements including a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, information technology, or a related field.

The remainder of listings notes a preference for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in an area like marketing or communications. While not required, candidates seeking senior-level or management positions may benefit from having a master’s in marketing, advertising, marketing analytics, or a related field.

Operations jobs at Nintendo

This department plays a major role in streamlining every aspect of Nintendo’s projects from digital games and news production to managing e-commerce inventory and negotiating contracts with vendors.

Opportunities within this realm cover a senior data analyst, senior service technician, an e-commerce coordinator, and an assistant manager of knowledge support. Leadership roles are also up for grabs, including a software services manager, project and materials manager, and director of call center operations.

To apply, candidates seeking software and data-specific opportunities generally need a bachelor’s degree in research, computer science, engineering, or a related technical field. In some cases, such as Nintendo’s opening for a senior service technician, as little as an associate’s degree in electronics is needed.

Jobs that have a greater focus on Nintendo’s supply chain typically note that candidates need to have a bachelor’s degree in fields like business, procurement, and materials management. The company’s listing for a director of call center operations notes that while candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in business should apply, a master of business administration (MBA) degree is preferred.

Level up Your Career at Nintendo

In an interview with the New York Times, Shigeru Miyamoto—now a top executive at Nintendo—goes into detail about the company’s hiring process. As it turns out, finding the “next big thing” doesn’t mean ruling out people who can’t beat “Metroid” in lighting speed.

Instead, he wants candidates who are more likely to create new kinds of play, rather than merely aim to perfect current ones. “I make it a point to ensure they’re not just a gamer,” he says, “but that they have a lot of different interests and skillsets.”

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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