Find out how you can qualify for a career in computer programming and game development. Read about earnings potential and salaries for computer programmers and software developers, as well as what types of degree programs and courses can prepare you to enter the field.
Computer software and game programmers use their understanding of computer science, multimedia and other disciplines to develop applications for digital technology. Creativity and analytical thinking are key to a career in computer programming and game development. Good communications skills and the ability to work as part of a team are also essential.
Areas of specialization in computer programming may be tailored according to your special interests. For example, you might choose to develop applications for mobile devices and the Web, design video games or program business systems. You might also create software for training simulations and learning games.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of computer programming is expected to grow by 8% nationwide from 2012-2022. By comparison, software developers can look forward to a 22%, or much-faster-than average, growth in opportunities through 2022. In May 2013, the BLS also reported that computer programmers had an average yearly income of $80,930, while software developers, who specialized in applications, earned an average of $96,260 a year (www.bls.gov).
A variety of degree programs at all levels can prepare you to join the computer science or programming field. A degree in computer science can provide you with the theoretical knowledge and technical skills needed to get started as a computer programmer. Select courses might include topics in advanced math, coding languages, database management, software design and computer operations.
In an undergraduate game design program, you'll study the basics of computer programming, while pursuing topics in graphic and sound design, 3-D modeling, social media and other interdisciplinary subjects. As a result, you'll learn how to create interactive software and multimedia productions. Successful completion of a program may lead to a career as a videogame programmer.