Game Developer Career Overview & Outlook

Game developers are creative professionals responsible for developing video games. They help create the theme or concept for a game or work on creating a virtual world for game players.

In this post, we will discuss what game developers are, describe what they do, and discover some reasons for becoming game developers.

So if you understand what a game developer does, you can use this information to decide if this career is right for you. Keep reading to see more!

Job Description

A game developer refers to a job in the tech & IT field that uses knowledge in software development and programming logic to build games from ideas to a playable reality.

Their primary responsibilities include developing the game’s mechanics and making the artificial intelligence of the creatures and characters that the player encounters in their game. They also form the programming features’ visual elements and test their games to ensure they are ready for the market.

Game developers partake in various roles in the game development process.

After developing the game, their job is to test its functionality to ensure users have an engaging and seamless experience. Their work may include confirming that the input from their player’s console connects with the actions on the screen. It ensures users can easily navigate the game with the control console.

Duties and Responsibilities

A game developer may be responsible for designing game formats on many platforms, including consoles, wireless applications, mobile phones, and more.

It is essential to understand the stages of game development, such as programming, designing, audio effects or animation, editing, and production.

As a game developer may work as part of a team, they can specialize in a specific niche of game development.

Types of Game Developers

Game developers often specialize in the following areas of development:

  • Level Designers.

These designers will create an environment for the game, where the characters live, and ideal themes that will draw players into the game.

You determine if your game requires a bright theme or a dark environment with animations to make it enjoyable.

  • Game Mechanics.

You will focus on the gameplay and any element that enhances its functionality within the game design. For example, you determine the fighting tools and combat moves to add to your fighting game.

  • Content Designers

They focus on developing design details, such as formulating the characters and plot of a game. They are also responsible for setting up the game’s universe and delivering insights into the features to be incorporated.

Where Do Game developers work?

Game developers usually work in offices. Fortunately, many employers deliver comfortable and relaxed work environments to boost creativity.

These workspaces are well-equipped with all the tools needed to accomplish game developers’ tasks.

It is unnecessary to wear a formal dress code in the office. Some developers have the option to work remotely and go to the office for just conferences or meetings. While their jobs don’t involve traveling, sometimes, these professionals have to pitch a game concept to attend events or investors.

As a game developer, you typically work the regular office hours from 9 am to 5 pm. Your work schedule is 40 hours a week, but you have to deal with projects requiring extended working hours, including holidays, weekends, and evenings.

Game developers take full-time positions in most cases, but you can work part-time and find short-term and freelance contracts.

Education Requirements

Most employers prefer to hire game developers with degrees.


Regarding the hiring process, most employers prefer game developers with degrees. Although it is not an absolute requirement, employers prefer people who have completed undergraduate degrees in computer science.

The game industry is growing in popularity, so some colleges now offer special bachelor’s degrees in print video game design and development.


Certificates deliver another option for candidates who want to forgo college or supplement their existing degrees. Gaining a certificate in game development will allow you to hone your skills through a project-based, intensive curriculum.

Although certificates can’t totally replace professional experience, they offer a few benefits. For example, if you hold a game development certificate, you can:

  • Have a solid foundation in game design and development.
  • Connect with various groups of fellow creatives.
  • Meet mentors and teachers who help introduce industry professionals.

Work Experience

Before getting a degree or gaining professional experience, you can look for entry-level work, such as a game tester.

The game testing position does not require a degree or specialized training, so it might be a great way to build experience while you complete your studies.

Many developers start their careers with internships. You can pursue an internship at one of the prestigious gaming studios to start forming professional connections and developing hands-on experience.

You should apply for non-development roles at a gaming studio to start learning.

Essential Skills

Soft Skills

  • Communication skills.
  • Time management skills.
  • Critical-thinking skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Numerical skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Keep up with the latest industry news.
  • Team player, ability to work independently.

Hard Skills

  • IT knowledge.
  • Math-related Skills.
  • Adobe Photoshop.
  • C++.
  • Maya.
  • EPIC Unreal Engine.
  • Zbrush.
  • Programming knowledge.

Essential Tools

Here are the top 30 tools you might want to use throughout your career as a game developer:

  • Adventure Games Studio.
  • Twine.
  • GDevelop.
  • Unity.
  • RPGMaker.
  • Godot Engine.
  • Lumberyard.
  • Autodesk StingRay.
  • CryENGINE.
  • Unreal Engine.
  • GameFroot.
  • Construct 2.
  • Flowlab.
  • Stencyl.
  • GameMaker.
  • Blender.
  • Torque 3D.
  • Houdini FX.
  • Incredibuild.
  • Orx.

Job Outlook

Career progression of game developers is promising.

Career progression of game developers is clearly defined. You will join as one junior game developer and progress to a senior developer role, leading development projects or teams. Alternatively, you can branch out to specialize in one specialization in game development.

For example, some developers become sound technicians, game artists, game testers, or game producers. Regardless of your chosen specialism, you will sooner or later take on the leading role of the development teams. Once you have many years of experience, you might also consider self-employment.


The average hourly salary for a game developer in the US is $48.63 per hour. The salary of most game developers ranges from $40.14 to $59.86 across the US.

The average salary range for a game developer varied significantly (by as much as $19.71), suggesting that there are many opportunities for increased pay and advancement based on some factors, including location, skill level, and years of experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Pursue your passion.
  • Use your creativity.
  • Join an evolving industry.
  • Obtain job satisfaction.
  • Build your skills.
  • It is a cool and risk-free career to pursue.


  • Require a high set of skills that you get from some years of practice.
  • There may be limited scope to get creative with the story (if you work on games created by someone else).
  • It takes a long time to identify and fix the bugs within game codes.
  • There is huge competition to get into the career.
  • You can receive a better salary on other platforms with the same skills.
  • Performing the same task, inducing monotony.
  • Lack of free time.
A game developer is ideal for people passionate about the gaming industry & software development.


Is a Game Developer a Dream Job?

Game development is ideal for people passionate about the gaming industry and software development.

This career is also great for those who prefer to build better games, better experiences, and the new frontier of gameplay possibilities.

Being a game developer is equivalent to being part of a growing and exciting industry. It comes with several potential role possibilities and career pathways.

What Factors Affect the Salary of a Game Developer?

As a game developer, your salary will depend on the scope of your role and the project size. For entry-level positions, you will work under supervision to polish or create specific aspects of games while the experienced developer leads the team to build games.

Hence, your wage varies because of the scope of your role. You earn less than developers working on blockbuster games when working on small projects.

The company size also can affect your salary, as large organizations have almost unlimited resources and work with complex gaming projects.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Game Developer?

If you choose the traditional route, it may take four years or more to complete a bachelor’s degree and get some work experience before becoming a game developer.

Is It Hard To Get A Job With Game Development?

It mainly depends on your skill set and personality, what you can give the organization, the existing demand for fresh developers, and more.

Is Being a Game Developer Stressful?

While many developers find it a gratifying experience, some factors make it challenging. Some developers must work overtime, holidays, and weekends during crunch times to fulfill project deadlines or milestones.

Do I Need School to Be a Game Developer?

Many people believe that being a game developer requires gaining a college diploma. It is true in most cases. Most designers hold a degree in design or a related field.

How To Become A Video Game Programmer?

  • Step 1: Getting The Bachelor’s Degree/Game Developer Certification
  • Step 2: Learning Coding Languages for Game Development.
  • Step 3: Building The Game Development Portfolio.
  • Step 4: Internships in Game Development.
  • Step 5: Applying for Game Developer Jobs.

What Coding Languages Do Game Developers Need to Learn?

The more languages you know, the better. Here are some of the most common coding languages used in game development: Java, C++, Python, Assembly, Perl, and HTML5.

There are many online courses on coding languages via providers, such as Udemy, CodeAcademy, and MasterClass.

Career Advice

If you are a decent storyteller with excellent coding skills, being a game developer is a good career. This career progression path is definitely promising.

Game developers design and create games played on many devices. They also improve and maintain the gameplay of their existing games.

Becoming a game developer is a challenging career, as you will have to deal with complex issues and tasks that arise. Also, you need to get a bachelor’s degree in computer game development and a passion for programming. But it is worth the investment of effort, time, and money.