Computer games programmer
Computer & Systems Management
Computer games programmers, also known as games developers or video game programmers, write code for games for a variety of formats, such as PCs, consoles, web browsers and mobile phones. They take the video game designer's ideas, drawings and rules, and turn them into a playable game with visuals and sound through writing code.
The work of a games developer typically involves:
- Looking at the design specifications of video game designers
- Writing code to turn the designer's concepts into a playable game
- Using application program interfaces (APIs) – a set of pre-built commands that allow different software to interact
- Programming the game's terrain
- Programming artificial intelligence for non-player characters within the game
PayScale research suggests that games developers and programmers can earn above £30,000, even in starting roles. Find out the typical starting salaries for graduates in IT jobs on TARGETjobs.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for computer games programmers
- A passion for video games
- Wide-ranging knowledge of gaming trends
- Strong analytical frame of mind
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Proficiency in programming languages, such as C# and C++
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of computer games programmers
- Video game developing companies (known as computer games programmers and video game studios)
- Video game publishers
Vacancies are advertised online – by employers and on IT jobs boards such as IT Jobs Watch – as well as by recruitment agencies, careers services and by TARGETjobs.
Qualifications and training required
There are routes into video game development for university graduates. Other posts in related fields may be open to school leavers.
Graduates will require a degree in computer science, software engineering or a related subject. If you have an unrelated degree but are proficient in relevant programming languages and familiar with the gaming industry, you could also be eligible for entry-level positions. Work experience and a portfolio of work will become essential early on in your career in this very competitive industry.
School leavers may progress to video game development by undertaking an apprenticeship in software development or a related role.