National Avg. Salary$84,360 More Salary Data →
Job Growth Rate-8% More Growth Data →
Recommended DegreeBachelor's Programs & Degrees →
- Creativity Focused
- Fast Paced Career
- Good Entry Level Salary
- High Income Potential
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A video game programmer is a software engineer that writes code for video games. They are responsible for making the game work properly and helping the graphics look as realistic as possible.
The following responsibilities are common for Video Game Programmers:
- Creates story lines and character biographies
- Designs role-play mechanics
- Conducts design reviews
- Creates prototypes to show management
- Documents and records game design processes
A Day In The Life
Video game programmers, also known as video game developers, write code for games for a variety of formats. They take the video game designers ideas and turn them into an enjoyable and playable game by writing the code to create the visuals and mechanics. They are considered as the creative technical brains behind video and computer games. Although, they collaborate closely with video game designers, it is the programmers that actually write and create the code to bring the game to life.
Video game programmers typically specialize in one area, like consoles, PCs or cell phones, and in regards to the game aspect they also typically specialize in things like special effects, artificial intelligence or network performance. They write the code that assists with the characters of the games movement. They also determine the actions of the players on each level of the game and the difficulty of each level. They are also responsible for putting the games audio feedback mechanism in place to signal secret items or that a certain level has be successfully passed.
There are also other specializations among game programmers. Some may focus on programming using interfaces, while others focus solely on gameplay and others focus on only scripting. However, many gamers do not specialize at all, and rather focus as generalists and work on all aspects and areas of a game.
Typical Work Schedule
Individuals that are freelance can set their own daily work schedules. While individuals that are employed by video game companies will work a typical full-time schedule. Some overtime may be required depending on the project and deadlines.
Projected Job Growth
Concepts of video games are rapidly changing with every passing year. The demand for video game programmers has dramatically increased over the last few years and is projected to grow even further in the coming decade.
These individuals will either freelance or work under contracts for clients. While others work for video game developing companies or video game publishing companies, like Nintendo, or XBOX or Sony.
Can I Become a Video Game Programmer?
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Video Game Programmer Salary Data
We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Annual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Video Game Programmer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Video Game Programmer's can make an average annual salary of $84,360, or $41 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $60,250 or $29 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#123 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
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How To Become
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer game development is preferred by employers in order to become a video game programmer, along with excellent analytical and reasoning skills. The knowledge and ability to write code and read programming language are primary requirements. Although, the most valued skill overall is talent. If an individual has a talent for programming and a love for gaming, then this is a perfect career choice. Comprehension in of various computer systems is also extremely beneficial for this career as well. It is important that these individuals are also certified in computer programming language like Java or CC++, Swift, MEL and Python.
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Recommended Min. Degree
Programs and Degrees
Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Video Game Programmer. a Bachelor's is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.
Highest Education Among Video Game Programmer
- 2.5% Doctorate
- 19.6% Masters
- 49.7% Bachelors
- 9.7% Associates
- 13.1% College
- 4.7% High School
- 0.7% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs328,600
2024 Est. Jobs302,200
Job Growth Rate-8%
Est. New Jobs-26,400
How does Video Game Programmer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -26,400 jobs for a total of 302,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#729 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally
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