National Avg. Salary

$84,360 More Salary Data →

Job Growth Rate

-8% More Growth Data →

Recommended Degree

Bachelor's Programs & Degrees →

Attributes

  • 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.

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Job Description

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.

Typical Employers

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.

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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

Low Range

$60,250

Average

$84,360

High Range

$130,800

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$29/hr

Average

$41/hr

High Range

$63/hr

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

What Will Your State Pay?

State Hourly Annual
California $00.000 $00.000
Texas $00.000 $00.000
Florida $00.000 $00.000
Washington $00.000 $00.000
Tennessee $00.000 $00.000

Find Out Your State's Average Salary Based on the Latest Jobs Data.

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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.

Being knowledgeable in C++ is absolutely essential in this career field.  It is the most common computer language for computer games to be written in, and can be a difficult and complicated language to learn.  Java is not as popular, but just as important to learn.  Android devices and games are often written in JavaScript.  Swift and Objective-C programs are used for writing games in Apple iOS.  Python can also be helpful with any tasks that a programmer may encounter during the development process and is the easiest of all the languages to learn.


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Quick Summary

  • Recommended Min. Degree

    Bachelor's

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

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Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

328,600

2024 Est. Jobs

302,200

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

Is There Growth in My State?


State No. of Jobs Job Growth
California 00% 00%
Texas 00% 00%
Florida 00% 00%
Nevada 00% 00%
New York 00% 00%
Chicago 00% 00%

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What Companies Employ The Most Video Game Programmers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Computer systems design and related services 126,100 -26,800 -27%
Software publishers 0000 0000 0000
Self-employed workers 0000 0000 0000

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