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Game Software Developer: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a game software developer. Learn about job responsibilities, educational requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

What Does a Game Software Developer Do?

Creative minds are needed to produce video and computer games. Game developers will work with a creative team on graphic design, theme, characters and layouts. Software developers will then take these ideas and design, develop and test the software making sure it meets the needs of the game's vision. Game developers may work on individual aspects of the game and eventually integrate them into a final project. Throughout the process they will collaborate with other computer specialist and members of the team to optimize the product.

As a game software developer, you could use your math and computer skills to bring a video design concept to life. The following chart contains essential details about becoming a game software developer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science
Job Duties Program educational, artificial intelligence or entertainment games
Job Growth (2018-2028) 26% for all software applications developers*
Median Salary (2018) $103,620 for all software applications developers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Much Do Game Software Developers Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2018 that software applications developers, including game software developers, earned a median salary of $103,620 per year (www.bls.gov). Additionally, according to the BLS, jobs in this field were projected to increase 26% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than average.

Which Education Programs Are Available?

You might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in computer science, which could teach you fundamental skills you need to succeed in this career field. You would practice your skills in computer labs and take classes in computer science principles like architecture and programming. The curriculum covers a wide array of topics related to software development, including Visual Basic language, control structures and software design.

Because some programmers need advanced degrees, you could enroll in a master's degree program in computer science, which is generally a 2-year degree program where you could learn more about software development, computing systems and algorithms. You also study C++, Java and Assembly Language programming. You need at least a bachelor's degree to enroll in a master's degree program.

What Job Duties Would I Have?

Designers depend on software developers to manifest their vision of the game. You would work closely with artists and designers, using math skills to input codes into a computer system with a set of programming languages. Basically, a programmer gives a computer a set of instructions with mathematical equations. Your equations would control all facets of the video game, from how fast characters move to the placement of music and graphics.

The BLS reports that there are at least five types of video game programmers, including engine, artificial intelligence, graphics, sound and tool programmers. You could write codes to control speed, motion, sound, characters or playback. Artists and designers depend on tool programmers to write codes for software programs that are used in the development and design process. As a tool programmer, your codes would allow artists and designers to put their illustrations, models and artwork into a software program.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Software developers can work in other careers related to computer software. With a bachelor's degree you could find a career as a computer and information systems manager, computer network architect, or computer hardware engineer. As a computer and information systems manager you will keep busy planning, coordinating and directing computer projects for companies and organizations. Computer network architects create and build data network communications such as LANs (local area networks). Hardware engineers research, develop and design computer components and systems. You'll work with processors, networks, servers, memory devices and circuit boards.