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How to Become a Video Game Developer

How to Become a Video Game Developer

Video game developers are essentially the programmers for video games that consumers enjoy playing.  They may work with artists, sound designers, and other professionals to write the code which is used to program how the game and player interact. Designers often create story lines which these developers have to then translate into mathematical equations that the computer can interpret. Due to the complex issues that developers sometimes face, a proficiency in programming across multiple languages as well as problem solving ability is desired in order to complete the tasks of the job effectively.

Game developers sometimes are encouraged to have a strong background in both programming and mathematics. Several of them have completed masters or even doctorate degrees in these fields. They may have also gotten a firm handle on many of the common computer languages used in the production of video games, such as C and C++*. In several cases, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is generally looked for by employers to work within the industry.

While individuals may become independent game developers without any formal education whatsoever, the sheer amount of knowledge that is suggested to have in order to successfully develop games may require a structured educational setting to learn everything.

Video game developers often work in fast-paced environments where they may be expected to solve problems and develop more efficient ways of doing things in a short amount of time to meet their deadlines**. Companies that produce games can spend millions of dollars on production and may have tight schedules, which all professionals on the development team should adhere to as to not risk being replaced. As such, developers are sometimes required to work long hours in stressful, demanding environments, depending on where they choose to be employed.

Salaries vary depending on many factors. According to industry insiders, the average range for most video game developers is between $80,000 to $100,000 per year***. Those who have a track record for producing quality, profitable games sometimes earn much more than that. By contrast, new developers can earn substantially less than the average range. But, as more experience is gained in the field, the possibilities for higher salaries may be obtainable.

The short-term outlook for video game developers is ever-changing. There is quite a bit of industry consolidation taking place and the trend is towards mobile gaming, which translates into smaller budgets and less work when compared to developing games for consoles. The long-term growth is average, with gaming continuing to grow in popularity even as radical shifts occur in the marketplace.  Developers with the talent to produce quality titles that generate profits for companies have the potential to continue to find work in the years to come.


Ready to pursue a career as a Video Game Developer? Get information about game design programs and schools is your area and online using our game design school finder at the top of this page. ↑


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