So, fantastic article thus far. I wanted to add my two cents.
So you want to work in games but you love 2D animation
Hi, I've been working as a professional in animation for the last five years, and a few years before I went to college (that doesn't count in my eyes). After being in TV and film, all I have to say is this: Working in games has been a life changing experience.
First off, I work as a flash artist and animator. So for folks looking to study 2D animation, THIS IS ANOTHER GREAT POSITION FOR YOU!
Pay: Decent, and normally should come with benefits. The two companies I've worked for thus far have. As to pay, if you're fresh out of college, then yes, expect your pay to be 35-50K. However, if you're working freelance/contract, then think of the 35-50K as more along the lines of 40-55K, when you add in benefits.
Hours: I have worked normal 8 hour shifts, I have also worked the insane 14-16hr shifts. What I have come to notice is that unless your company has scheduled its project poorly, crunchtime isn't as often as it is in other fields, but do expect to put in your fair share.
What does a flash artist/animator do all day: We create assets for games (backgrounds, tiles, props, characters, avatar systems, clothing, animations, etc). Platforms range from mobile to iPad to PC to Facebook and beyond. A normal workday consists of a few hours of reference hunting and sketching, talking with my leads or to my team (depending on what position I'm in) in either getting approvals or making approvals, and creating finalized artwork while uploading artwork to a server to be implemented into the game. As someone with a few years experience, I also help mentor interns and other artists that may need help. On my current team, I can freely speak to my producer, project manager, leads, and other artists about whatever question needs to be answered (I love my current team to death hehe).
Other necessary skills for this position: As with any art position at a studio, you need to be good with people. You need to communicate with folks you do and do not like. You need to be able to be patient and decode language from non-creative types to find out what they want out of a game. You need to be kind. It sounds silly, but being kind is the easiest way to make it in games, and to find jobs later. Be passionate. There will be times you have to draw things you dislike. Learn to love the things you hate drawing. Learn the basics of Actionscript. It will help you talk to programmers about how you can make their lives easier, and vice versa.
Where exactly do you find flash animator/artist positions: Aside from San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles? All over! I've seen them in Chicago, Boston, England, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, and South America. WE ARE IN STYLE right now.