The market for video games is larger than ever. With the global market expected to reach $218,8 billion by 2024, there has never been a better time to become a game developer. This article will give you an overview of how to become a video game developer in 2022 and how you can get started today.
But first, let’s address the ever-interesting question of ‘How much does a video game developer make a year?’.
How much does a game developer make on average?
Along with other tech job roles, game development is also a lucrative career path with decent salaries and employee benefits. So how much does a game developer make? The game developer average salary differs widely depending on the country, as well as the type of game that is being developed.
According to popular job platforms such as Glassdoor, the most common salary range for a game developer in North America is between $61,000 per year with a maximum of $123,000. This makes sense considering that this region accounts for the widest tech job market, including video game development.
Now let’s see what it takes to forge a career path in this field and how to become a game developer at home.
There are many skills to build when you start your journey in web development. The good news is that some of these skills are fairly easy to pick up and others will take a lot longer. Hard ones fall into the second category of time-intensive endeavors.
A game engine is a software framework designed for the creation and development of video games, just like an IDE for software developers. It won’t do all the art of creating a video game for you, but it can accelerate your development process by providing a suite of visual development tools and reusable software components. This gives game developers more time to focus on the unique game elements.
Unity, Unreal, and CryEngine are some of the most popular game engines cited in a majority of job requirements. Moreover, Unreal and Unity are also iterating at a fast pace, meaning that you need to keep up with the latest updates to stay current.
Although there is a wide range of programming languages for game development, budding developers will be well-served by mastering core technologies like C++, C#, Python, and Java. C++, for example, is the scripting language used by Godot and Unreal Engine. At the same time, C# and Unity are a popular duo to start with for most beginners. If you’re aiming for mobile, you can also look into Kotlin, Swift, and other native mobile technologies.
All games should pass quality control before being released to the player. That’s why you also should have an understanding of the software development life cycle and how testing applies to game products. This skill can help you polish your code and understand the issues that typically occur in game programming.
QA testing validates the gameplay from a tech standpoint, making sure it doesn’t have any glitches or crashes. Game developers can also set up playtesting sessions (or do it on their own) to gather the feedback of other players and refine a game.
Visualization skills, including prototyping, are one of the most critical skills a game developer can cultivate. A game coder worth their salt should be equally able to discern prototypes made by their colleagues and articulate game concepts by forging their own prototypes. Game mechanics, for example, can be expressed through paper (you sketch your ideas on paper) or code prototyping. These ideas can then be put to playtest to define the core game mechanics.
But how to become a video game developer when you have already mastered the tech fundamentals? You can work your way up by nurturing soft skills. The latter goes hand in hand with technical acumen and can significantly ease the strain.
Every game developer has been in a situation where they have fallen behind on a project or deadline. Whether this is due to unforeseen circumstances, procrastination, or just not being organized enough, poor time management skills can result in missed deadlines and strained relationships with colleagues. To avoid it, you should set attainable and measurable goals for the day, keep away distractions and take regular breaks to boost your productivity.
The very branch of game development is a perpetual cycle of issues and their effective resolution. Therefore, the ability to tackle problems and stand up to challenges is essential for anyone engaged in game creation. Alongside solid programming skills, you should foster analytical thinking to brainstorm the right solution. This skill can be promoted by solving basic programming questions or participating in contests and hackathons.
Out-of-the-box mindset is also a salient component in a code-dominated field. When it comes to forging innovative game concepts or programming the game’s terrain, game developers must have an open mind and be able to think outside the box. Thus, according to a study by Microsoft Research and North Carolina State University, game developer success hinges on creativity and interpersonal communication skills more than on traditional programming skills.
Positive thinking helps you land emotional balance in the workplace, which, in turn, makes your brain perform at its peak. With a bright outlook, you have more chances to remain calm and concentrated and as a result, you can make effective decisions in challenging situations. Therefore, instead of focusing on negative reinforcements and a horde of tasks, keep the scope small and preach positivity to remain productive.
Game developers are core team members that vitalize game concepts and turn prototypes and sketches into playable experiences. So how to become a professional game developer in 2022? A powerful combination of hard and soft skills can trail the blaze in the gaming career. As a beginner, you should commit to mastering game engine fundamentals and look into core gaming technologies like C++ or C#. Time management and creativity will also become valuable assets to your game developer persona.
Yuriy Denisyuk is Game Production Lead at Pingle Studio. He’s responsible for successfully managing the Game Production pipeline. Yuriy is this lucky person who plays the best games for work in order to keep up with trends and creating new ones. He likes writing, reading Manga, fantasy and professional literature in his free time.