Help Picking a Focus/Career Path


Hello and good day all! MS 3D student seeking clarification on career paths:

My original interest, modeling, is still strong, but mostly props. Yet over the years I’ve found textures and writing shaders to be what I’d like to focus on. Yet I’m really into programming too. I live in Texas and would like to stay here, and thus figure gaming industry is better for that.

What is a good job title to look for someone with the above mix of interests? I’ve looked online for jobs and there seem to be a lot of similarities in them. I end up confused on what I should focus on.

Maybe I should just go generalist as I seem to like a lot? I love texturing, and would happy working in Substance apps or apps such as 3D Coat, Mari, and Quixel, yet the number of jobs for this seems few. Game jobs seem to blend modeler and texture artist in one and I’d LOVE that type of job. How to prep for that though? What to have in my demo reel?

Here are some major questions I have in regards to the above:

  1. Zbrush? Seems more for creatures but can handle hard surface so it seems something I should get better at, no?
  2. Houdini? I heard an instructor say “learn this, get a job.” Yet I don’t see it mentioned much in many jobs I look at. So, is it as simple as yes if you want to do procedural modeling, otherwise its ok to learn but not necessary?

Any help would be amazing!