The game development industry is highly competitive. Game developers write software code for playable game features that can be used on different devices like cell phones, console system and computers.
With the right networking skills, professional development, and teamwork, you can become a game developer too.
We will explain to you the most important steps to become a game developer in this article.
What Does a Game Developer Do?
Game developers oversee the development process of a video game and also design games and write code that brings game elements to life.
As a game developer, you plan various stages of a game and how player progress through those stages.
In general, game developers work in game studios, but there are also a lot of game developers that are also working as independent developers and create and market their own games.
How to Become a Game Developer
Here are the most important steps to become a game developer:
- Get a bachelor’s degree.
- Brush up on your math and physics skills.
- Expand your knowledge of software engineering.
- Develop your storytelling skills.
- Build a portfolio for game developers.
- Get an entry-level position as a game developer.
- Prepare yourself for tough competition in the job market.
1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
Most game developers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers prefer applicants with a four-years degree because they have a deeper scientific foundation required for game development.
Besides a full-time college as the most common way to get a game programmer education, there’s also the opportunity to pursue the game programmer education through an accredited online program.
Computer science and computer engineering are the most popular specializations for game developers.
Game programmers’ courses include 3D computer graphics, C++, Perl, game algorithms, networking fundamentals, calculus and many more.
Some also include training on video game engines like Unity 3D or Unreal Engine.
Those courses will help you to develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Also, your ability to analyze quality and operations will increase.
3. Brush Up on Your Math and Physics Skills
Solid programming skills are mandatory for game developers, for which basic knowledge of mathematics and physics are essential.
Physics knowledge will help you to understand concepts such as mass, inertia, and thermodynamics. Mathematical knowledge is important to create equations that can guide computer systems to perform certain tasks.
Popular game development platforms offer physics, graphics, and lighting engines, but nevertheless, you should still brush up on your math and physics skills.
Linear algebra, basic algorithms, trigonometry, geometry in depth and knowledge of calculus, statistics, combinatorics, physics, game theory and AI algorithms are very helpful topics and should be studied.
3. Expand Your Knowledge of Software Engineering
To become a game developer, you need to master hardware technology and programming languages such as C, C#, C++, Java, Lua, Python, and others.
It’s very helpful to regularly refresh yourself and keep up to date, even though you’ll likely learn these programming languages as part of your studies.
Helpful resources are forums, tutorials, guides, and YouTube videos.
Having experience using MySQL, Oracle, or MS SQL for database development may be beneficial, and you should also be familiar with implanting servers backends and be aware of changes in the system architecture (Systems are constantly being updated).
4. Develop Your Storytelling Skills
Generally, game studios have their own writers who create original stories. However, it is helpful for game developers to be familiar with linear and non-linear storytelling and narrative techniques.
You should understand how stories evolve and lead to satisfying endings. This will help you better understand the increasingly complicated code necessary for great stories.
5. Build a Portfolio for Game Developers
Great game development experience and portfolio will determine whether you get a job at a video game studio.
Designing and developing your own video games is the best way to gain experience and to build your portfolio.
You can start with simple games first and then work your way up to more complex games slowly.
You should always include your own games in your game developer portfolio, add screenshots of your game scenes, and also include links to the installation software for the games, so the interviewers can try them out. If you collaborated with anyone, mention this in your notes.
6. Get an Entry-level Position as a Game Developer
Getting into the video game industry is not that easy for newcomers.
But if you have advanced skills and a very well-developed portfolio, may get you a job at a major game studio. It can be helpful to intern first and start to work at smaller game studios.
The more work experience you gain and the more you extend your portfolio, the easier it will be to advance in your career.
Always keep an eye on current job postings on leading game industry websites to get an idea of what employers are currently looking for.
7. Prepare Yourself for Tough Competition in the Job Market
The competition in the video game industry is fierce, so it’s important to strengthen your programming skills and prepare for long hours.
Always stay up to date on industry trends and developments. Try to attend video game seminars and conventions and try to network with industry experts.
Also, participate in video game forums and ask questions about the video game programming profession.
Networking can help you to achieve your career goals, and insiders often know of new jobs and other opportunities.
Other developers and industry professionals can also provide you with a letter of recommendation or give you valuable tips.
What’s the Salary for Game Developers?
The average annual game developer salary is $105,590. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for game developers is good.
The employment growth from 2018 to 2028 is estimated to be 21%.
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