what is a game developer?

A game developer is a job in IT and tech that uses programming logic and knowledge in software development to build a game from an idea to a playable reality. Your job involves developing the game's mechanics and formulating the artificial intelligence of the characters or creatures that players encounter in the game. You create the programming features' visual elements and test the game to ensure it is ready for the market.

After game development, your job is to test the game's functionality to ensure users have a seamless and engaging experience. Your work is to ascertain that the input from the player's console connects with the actions on the screen. This ensures gamers can navigate the game with ease using the control console. You also control the internal motions in the games. For instance, you ensure the characters that cannot be manipulated by human players move and perform other actions to facilitate the game.

what does a game developer do?

As a game developer, you need to design various game formats that work on multiple platforms, including wireless applications, consoles and mobile phones. It is also important to understand the stages of game developments like designing, programming, audio effects or animation, production and editing. Since you work as part of a team, you can specialise in a specific area of game development.

Would working as a game developer suit your interest in video games? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a game developer role.

game developer jobs

average salary of a game developer

According to National Careers, the salary of a junior game developer is £25,000 per year, while a senior-level or experienced developer earns £59,000 annually. The basic salary depends on many factors, from experience level to education and the type of games you develop. Your compensation package can also include medical allowances and non-monetary benefits like a paid vacation. Apart from wages, most companies have overtime pay rates for working extra hours, bonuses for successful project completion and end-of-year incentives to thank workers for their dedication.

what factors affect the salary of a game developer?

As a game developer, your earnings depend on the project size and the scope of your role. In an entry-level position, you work under supervision to create or polish specific aspects of a game while experienced developers lead their teams to build a game. Hence, your compensation package differs due to the scope of your role. When handling small projects, you earn less than someone working on blockbuster games. The company size also affects your salary since large organisations have almost unlimited resources and handle complex gaming projects.


Student, students, young people, youngsters, school, college, study, studying
Student, students, young people, youngsters, school, college, study, studying

types of game developer

As a game developer, you can specialise in the following areas of development:

  • content designers: as a game developer, you can focus on developing design details like formulating the plot and characters of a game. You also set up the game's universe and offer insights into the features to be incorporated.
  • game mechanics: your focus is on the gameplay and elements that improve its functionality within the game design. For instance, you determine the combat moves and fighting tools to add to a fighting game.
  • level designers: your job is to create an environment for the game, where the characters will live, and the ideal themes that draw players into the game. You determine if the game requires a dark environment or a bright theme with animations to make the game enjoyable.


working as a game developer

Game development is a gratifying career. Discover the duties, responsibilities and work environment of a game developer.


education and skills

Some of the routes for becoming a game developer include:

  • university degree: you can become a game developer by completing a foundation degree in computer game development, computer science and interactive media. A degree in graphic design or animation also improves your job prospects.
  • college: a college course can get you a trainee position in a company. Some courses to consider are T Level in digital design and development or a Higher National Diploma (HND) in creative media production game development.
  • apprenticeship: you can join the profession through software developer higher apprenticeship courses or a game programmer degree apprenticeship. You will acquire knowledge from the coursework and practical skills.

skills and competencies

You need the following soft skills to be a successful game developer:

  • programming language proficiency: it is crucial to learn coding as a game developer. Building computer and video games requires high-level coding skills, and proficiency in various programming languages can improve your work outcomes. The programming languages often depend on the games you want to create. For instance, computer games require knowledge of C++, while mobile games need Java.
  • creativity: a game developer should be creative and have artistic prowess to create unique and engaging games for the market. Creative skills help you develop visually attractive games by incorporating unique themes or animations to entertain and engage players.
  • problem-solving skills: as a game developer, you need problem-solving skills to help you deal with various problems that arise during video game production. For instance, testing and correcting bugs takes time, and without problem-solving skills, you may spend hours resolving a minor issue.
  • visual storytelling skills: you need unique and visually appealing games to encourage players to keep playing. Storytelling skills can come in handy when developing the characters and incorporating the themes. Humour and suspense leave an impression on the players and keep them immersed in the games.
  • time management skills: developing games takes time despite working with a large team. Sometimes, you work on multiple games with strict deadlines. Time management helps you prioritise tasks to complete the games on time.

Two business women and a man in an office putting sticky notes on a window. Primary colors: yellow and blue.
Two business women and a man in an office putting sticky notes on a window. Primary colors: yellow and blue.


FAQs about working as a game developer

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