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How to become a video game developer

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How to become a video game developer

Video game developers, also known as game programmers, use coding languages ​​to bring creative concepts to life. Their code turns ideas into playable and enjoyable games on computers, cell phones and web browsers. These professionals are in demand today, and the average salary for video game developers is well above average, at around $ 89,190 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Are you wondering how to become a video game developer? While there is no guaranteed path to employment in the gaming industry, there are a number of ways you can position yourself for exciting careers as a game developer. This article offers tips on pursuing a career as a video game developer, and walks you through a few steps you can take to get there.

What Are Video Game Developers Doing?

Video game developers have a diverse skill set that prepares them to develop and program all of the creative components of a video game. They use their coding knowledge, problem-solving skills, and creativity to transform game concepts into a functional and playable game world.

From creating graphics, AI features and game mechanics to testing and troubleshooting work in progress, video game developers can play a vital role at just about any point in the game process. creation of video games. These professionals often work as part of a collaborative team in small or large studios. They work directly with designers, artists, project leaders and managers.

Video game development skills

Similar to other creative industries where professionals need to create a functional digital product, video game development requires a combination of analytical and creative skills. They must work collaboratively to develop or advance a concept for a game while also following project timelines, communicating with team members, and working on a budget. These professionals rely on their abilities to harness their creativity, communicate effectively with others, and stay focused on their tasks.

General skills

  • Team work
  • Communication
  • Management of time
  • Problem solving
  • Storytelling skills

Difficult skills

  • Software engineering skills
  • Math and physics skills
  • Knowledge of OOP languages, including C ++, C # and Java
  • Follow the workflow and project guidelines

Expectations Before Becoming a Video Game Developer

A career in video game development can seem pretty exciting. Before embarking on a career in this industry, it is wise to think about all the practicalities of this decision. Let’s take a look at some hard facts.

It is a highly competitive field.

Careers in the gaming industry are competitive. Successful careers in video game development take a lot of hard work and networking. Starting off on the right foot means investing in a valuable degree or self-study program. Even if you already have some of the essential skills for this career, a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or computer science can set you apart from other aspiring video game developers.

You’ll want to start developing your own games to strengthen your portfolio.

Your portfolio is another essential part of your career as a video game developer. The portfolio presents the actual work you have done, especially your original ideas and the games you have developed alone or in a team. A prototype or a game showing your technical skills and creative side can help you when you are in the competitive job market.

Expect intense collaboration and communication with your teammates.

Are you a lone wolf or a pack hunter? Most game studios employ teams to complete a game’s creation from concept to finish. Successful teams have mutual respect and a shared vision for what the end product should become. They also need open communication, regular meetings and team members to abide by any established chain of command.

Skills in mathematics and physics will be essential.

Video game developers rely on their coding skills to bring a concept to life. Effective coders need a solid understanding of mathematics and physics. To prepare for this type of job, aspiring video game developers should study applied mathematics, discrete mathematics, geometry, trigonometry, linear algebra, and basic algorithms. You’ll also benefit from exploring delta time, unit and scaling vectors, scalar manipulation, and dot and cross products.

You can work for a studio or work independently.

Video game developers typically seek full-time employment in a game studio or work independently as “freelance” game developers. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for flexibility and want to work in your spare time, the independent route may be a good choice. If you’re more concerned about job security or want to work collaboratively, finding a job in a game studio is for you.

How to become a video game developer?

There is no guaranteed path to a career as a video game developer. However, with careful planning, creativity, and training, you can stand out from the crowd in the job market and become a competitive candidate.

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is one of the best ways to develop a solid foundation in several areas of critical knowledge of video game development. Your school must hold regional or national accreditation to ensure the quality and value of your education.

Some colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in game art and development or game design. Computer science or computer engineering degrees are also a good choice. While concentrations like game development or animation are great options, this isn’t a snap.

Employers want to see that you have a solid foundation in computer science, math, and physics. Whenever possible, choose elective courses related to video game development. Classes that cover 3D computer graphics, networking basics, gaming algorithms, and coding languages ​​are good to have on your transcript.

2. Create game projects and build your portfolio.

Whether you want to be a freelance writer or work in a studio or independent group, an essential step towards that career begins with a strong portfolio. If you’re in school, your program may even offer classes, internships, or learning opportunities to help you develop a portfolio.

The portfolio is an online collection of works that should showcase several projects in which you have played an important role and include detailed information about your development process. Also include a sample team project if you have it. When showing the work of a team project, be explicit and concise about your role and contributions.

3. Learn coding languages ​​and new skills.

Aside from a brilliant game concept, the code that executes it is probably the most critical aspect of game development. The two most common languages ​​for video game developers are C ++ and Java. The more you know about coding languages, including Assembly, Python, Lua, Perl, and C, the more you will be able to create and deliver to your future employers.

Aspiring video game developers can choose from many different tools and programs for learning coding languages. Consider considering guided courses such as those offered by Master class, CodeAcademy, and Udemy. There are also video games that teach you how to code, including Code Monkey, CodeCombat, Robocode, and Codewars.

4. Continue one or more internships.

Studios of all sizes now offer paid and unpaid internship positions to learners who want to gain more hands-on experience, strengthen their portfolios and hone their skills before entering the workforce. Depending on your area of ​​interest, internships give you the chance to observe a mentor and work on your programming and communication skills. Some studios may require applicants to take an aptitude test before accepting them as an intern.

5. Apply for jobs.

You can find entry-level positions in game studios of all sizes. When applying, make sure that your portfolio is solid and that you explicitly show any previous work experience. Aspiring freelancers should showcase the work they have developed for former clients. Look for gigs on Fiverr, UpWork, or similar sites to gain experience.

Online forums, blogs, and social media are great tools for making business contacts. You can search for industry contacts on LinkedIn or Facebook and request one-on-one meetings with them. Introduce yourself with a list of good questions, ask for job search tips, and don’t be afraid to express your strengths. Remember, this is a competitive field, so keep making contacts and applying even if you receive multiple rejection letters.

What is the salary of a video game developer?

According to the BLS, computer programmers, including game developers, are making a median annual salary of $ 89,190.

How long does it take to become a game developer?

A bachelor’s degree in video game development, computer science, or computer programming takes about four years. Some game developers can learn through shorter bootcamp programs or train themselves, which takes less time.

What does it take to become a game developer?

Today’s video game developers need a solid understanding of programming languages ​​and excellent communication, storytelling, and math skills.

Can I be a game developer without a degree?

Yes. You don’t need a degree to pursue a career as a video game developer. A bachelor’s degree, however, can provide a significant competitive advantage in the job market.


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