Game Developer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a game developer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

A degree in software engineering, computer science or a related field is typically required to become a game developer. Game developers must be proficient in programming languages, such as java or C++.

Essential Information

Game developers design and create video games for computers and video game consoles. They are involved in the conception as well as the execution of the game creation. While education requirements vary based on employers, many prospective game developers seek a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field.

Required Education Varies by employer; bachelor's degree in computer-related field typical requirement
Other Requirements Knowledge of programming language
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% for all applications software developers
Average Salary (2015)* $102,160 for all applications software developers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Game Developer

Game developers, more specifically known as video game developers or video game designers, are software developers and engineers who create video games. Game developers may be involved in various aspects of a game's creation from concept and story writing to the coding and programming. Other potential areas of work for a game developer include audio, design, production and visual arts.

Duties of a Game Developer

Many components are involved in the development of a video game. Designers, producers and graphic artists all contribute to the final product. However, programmers and software developers turn the idea into code, which provides the game with its operating instructions. Game and software developers create the core features of a video game. Duties of a game developer may include:

  • Creating story lines and character biographies
  • Conducting design reviews
  • Designing role-play mechanics
  • Creating prototypes for staff and management
  • Documenting game design process

Entry level and junior game programmers typically use basic tools and languages, such as C++, to add small elements to games. They are also expected to keep up with changing technology. Lead developers and programmers write more complicated code and manage other programmers.

Game Developer Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in most cases a bachelor's degree is preferred for software engineer positions ( Common majors include computer science, software engineering, mathematics or computer information systems. The ability to use programming language is often the primary requirement. Knowledge of various computer systems is also beneficial. In certain situations, completion of an associate's degree or certificate program may suffice.

Currently no major organizations offer certification in video game development. If they do, it's rare. However, game developers can earn certification in the key programming languages such as C++, visual basic, java and MEL (Maya Scripting Language). Additionally, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers certification for software developers.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

From 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 19% employment growth for applications software developers. The BLS reported an annual average salary of $102,160 for these professionals in 2015, with those working in software publishing earning $112,460, on average.

Game developers create the concept for a video game and develop the program to ensure that it runs correctly. These games are typically used on computers or in video game systems.

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