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.

Work Activities

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

  • Creativity
  • 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++

Read more about games development as a graduate area of work on TARGETjobs.

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.

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