The gaming industry occupies a special place in the growing digital ecosystem. Thus, the total games released so far has soared to over 1,181 million and counting.
But the increase in demand still results in high employment opportunity rates for specialists. And game developers are no exception. These professionals are coveted employees with excellent game developer salaries and career prospects to match. Therefore, creating games is an attractive career choice among budding programmers.
But how do you get into game development? And is the average game developer salary worth the trip? Let’s find out.
Who is a game developer?
Simply put, a game programmer is a software coder engaged in creating games. This position includes a wide range of programming tasks ranging from implementing game balance to writing control-specific code. Moreover, game programmers come in different flavors depending on the platform they are working on. Whether it’s console, PC or mobile, game coders have all the skills needed to deploy the game in a specific environment.
But despite having a wide range of skills that a game developer must acquire, this role is among the highest paying in the world of software development. Glassdoor data shows that the average game developer salary is $71,295 per year for US employees. In other parts of the world, the numbers are lower, but decent. So a game developer in the UK earns around $53,000 to $64,000. At the same time, Europe offers higher remuneration with an average of 99,950 per year.
What skills does a game developer need?
While many people assume that game development is all about programming, there are a range of other skills that are also important. In fact, most games require teams of developers with diverse talents.
With that said, here are some of the essential skills any beginner game developer needs to get off the ground.
Whether you have a technical background or not, coding languages are essential to game development. Strong programming skills are essential for scripts, game mechanics, etc. There is a plethora of programming languages to choose from when developing video games. Deciding on the right one can be daunting, but there are a few standout options that can be considered the industry standard in the field.
C#, C++, Java, and Python are some of the traditional game development options. Lua and Rust also broke into the market by inheriting the best of C+ and C++. Your final choice should depend on what learning curve you are willing to tame as well as your future game development niche. So, if you opt for mobile game developmentyou should also choose additional programming syntax such as Swift.
A game engine is a software framework that provides the basic functionality needed to develop a video game. You can live without it, but you’ll be reinventing the wheel every time you need to create a new game. So what makes game engines a mandate? In practice, these are useful for graphics rendering, collision detection, sound and physics effects, etc. Despite a wide variety of game engines, Unity, Unreal Engine, CryEngine and Godot are the most demanded in the market.
Each has its own specificities, but there is one thing that makes all four. Being available to the individual developer, they all allow you to create AAA class projects.
Qualifications and training
Statistics show that most game engineers have a college education in computer science or related fields. But while it adds a boost to your career, a bachelor’s degree isn’t required to take up game development. Most positions are open to recent graduates or people with a non-technical background, provided they have hands-on experience building projects. Plus, there’s a plethora of free and paid courses that will take you from zero to hero in game making.
In-depth knowledge of gaming trends
Along with technical skills, you also need to keep up with changing patterns and trends in the gaming world. The forces shaping today’s market need to be reflected in your skills, allowing you to stay relevant in the job market. By analyzing the appearance of popular games, you will be able to improve your storytelling skills and get a global view of bankable game mechanics, etc.
Becoming a game developer is a lucrative, but thorny path. So what does it take to get six-figure compensation? A winning combination of popular programming languages, in-depth knowledge of game engines, game trends, and analytical abilities will make you an in-demand game coder. Scripting and design abilities as well as an understanding of different hardware platforms will also be a valuable addition to your portfolio.