Computer Games Developer
As a Computer Games Developer, you will produce games for PCs, games consoles, the internet and mobile phones. Usually you would be working within a team of developers, working on one particular aspect of the game.
Also known as
- Games Programmer
- Programmer, Computer Games
- Developer, Computer Games
Video: - Henrique: Head of Game Development
Video: - Tom: Games Developer
As a Computer Games Developer, you will program games for PCs, games consoles, the internet and mobile phones.
You'll most likely be working as a member of a team, which is normally made up of:
- Graphic Artists
Your team will be led by a Product Manager.
You will provide the programming expertise to turn the storyboards and ideas of the Designers, Writers and other production team members, into the finished game.
You will probably be responsible for programming just one aspect of the game - maybe a particular movement, or character. You will combine your work with that of other Developers, to create the finished game.
Once the coding is complete, you might have to test the application to make sure that it works correctly and there are no faults. This can prove a time-consuming process, though most programming applications include special software tools to help in the process.
In larger companies, the testing will often be done by specialist testers.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Computer Games Developer, you'll need:
- a good knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, computer games
- advanced programming skills, preferably in C++, C#, Java and ActionScript
- mathematical ability in order to program the movement of three-dimensional objects
- a logical, methodical approach to your work
- good problem solving skills
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £29,000 - £35,500
- With experience: £37,500 - £44,500
- Senior positions: £49,000 - £55,000
Your salary might include performance-related pay, profit share or company bonuses.
Hours of work
You would usually usually work 35-37 hours, Monday to Friday. However, late finishes and some weekend work are often required, especially as deadlines approach.
Where could I work?
Lots of computer games companies are based in London. However, significant computer games industry 'hubs' are growing in the following places:
- Sheffield and Rotherham
Take a look at this map to see where computer games companies are operating across the world
This career could include working for an
Opportunities occur for experienced Computer Games Developers to become self-employed.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in specialist magazines/websites such as Edge and Develop, on IT job boards and employers' websites, in national newspapers, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
A degree isn't essential for this job. However, degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities. In order to get onto a degree course you will usually need at least two A levels.
An A level in an IT based subject would be a great help.
So now is a great time to start planning your route through to university. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
If you would like some training, Access Creative College offer courses that could help you enter this career. Course titles include:
- games development (level 2)
- games art (level 3)
- games technology (level 3)
Check the website for dates and availability.
Other courses could be available in your area.
If you really want to become a Computer Games Developer, then you should think about getting relevant development experience in another industry first. This will give you a great advantage, when gaming opportunities do appear. And don't forget to play games! Become an expert in the latest developments within the gaming world.
Experienced Computer Games Developers could become Team Leaders and then Programming or Project Managers.
For entry to a degree course in a relevant subject, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
- English and maths at GCSE
You might need maths and/or another numerate science subject (for example, physics) at A level for some courses.
Alternatives to A levels include City & Guilds or BTEC level 3 qualifications and the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
There are various relevant vocational qualifications which you could consider, including:
- BTEC level 3 - computer games development
- BTEC level 3 - profesional competence for IT and telecoms professionals
- City & Guilds level 2 & 3 - ICT professional competence
- City & Guilds level 2 - software development
- City & Guilds level 2 - technical certificate in digital technology (software & applications)
- City & Guilds level 3 - advanced technical diploma in digital technologies (application development)
However, course requirements vary so check college/university websites carefully.
It might also be possible to enter this work without formal qualifications, if you have relevant programming skills.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you are a graduate with a non-relevant degree, taking a one-year IT postgraduate conversion course will improve your chances.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course, for example, Access to IT/Computing, could be the way in. These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
Another option would be an HNC in computing on a part-time basis, either evening and/or daytime.
Alternatively, taking short intensive courses in specific computing languages with private accredited IT training providers can help you to develop the portfolio of technical skills needed by employers. Such courses can be taken on a flexible, evening, weekend or day part-time basis.
Distance learning opportunities include the Open University, which offers a number of degrees and diplomas in computing, including the degree in Computing and IT. Many educational institutions offer specific qualifications on a distance/online learning basis.
Queen's University Belfast
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
The Tech Partnership
Skills for business and information technology
Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR
Tel: 020 7963 8920
Open University (OU)
Tel: 0845 3006090
Specialists in graduate careers
Address: Unit 6, The Quad, 49 Atalanta Street, Fulham, London SW6 6TU
Tel: 020 7565 7900
BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT
Address: First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FA
Tel: 0845 3004417
Capita Learning and Development
Tel: 0800 0223410
Bring IT On
Blitz Games Studios
Address: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU
Tel: 020 3353 2000
Creative & Cultural Skills
Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales