Aside from keeping tabs on the industry by refreshing Kotaku at least 150 times a day (or recommendation), there are other ways to prepare for the wide world of game design and break into a career promising endless hours for lesser pay. And Bethesda's Matt Grandstaff is here to tell you how!
Get your hands on the Source SDK, The Elder Scrolls Construction Set, the Neverwinter Nights toolset (either game, 1 or 2 or both!). Make lots of mods. When the time is right and you have a chance to interview for a design job, show them all your kick arse mods.
Of course, the same would apply for modding the software of pretty much any company you'd like to work for. But when you make it and publish your first title, we ask that you send us one of your two complimentary copies out of gratitude.