Whether you’re keeping up your Wordle streak on your phone or building an entire world in the Roblox metaverse on your desktop, gaming is more accessible than ever. With almost 3 billion gamers worldwide, the gaming industry is projected to bring in over $250 billion by 2025, with job openings for Game Developers projected to keep growing in the next decade.
So if you're considering a career in game development, it’s a great time to start learning the skills.
A good place to start? Take our free course Introduction to Game Development. It’s open to beginners, and you’ll learn about the various roles involved in game design and development, and the programming languages and technical skills you need to break into the gaming biz.
If you’re curious what it takes to become a Game Developer, here’s an overview of a Game Developer’s responsibilities, the skills you need to become a Game Developer, and tips for launching your career today.
What is a Game Developer?
Game development refers to the process of creating a video game. There are lots of different roles that work together to build the game that ends up on your screen. A Game Developer is essentially a Software Developer that uses technical skills to make video games.
Game Developers can have a hand in conceptualizing a game, creating assets like graphics and sounds, writing code that runs the game, improving the user experience for players, continuously testing the game, and much more.
What does a Game Developer actually do?
A Game Developer does more than just write code (although coding is a big part of the job). They get to be involved in lots of different stages of game creation, design, and production. Depending on the size of an organization, a Game Developer may take an active role in any or all of the following phases.
In this phase, a Game Developer or Designer comes up with the initial concept and storyline for a new game. They also devise the framework of the game, whether it be a puzzle to solve, a series of obstacles to overcome, or enemies to defeat.
The mood (or "feel") of the game, target audience, and market strategy are also established during this process, so there's a clear purpose and intent as development continues.
In our Introduction to Game Development course, you’ll learn how to craft storylines and objectives for a game, define the game’s mechanics or parameters, and choose the right platform. You’ll also understand how a player’s preferences, emotions, and challenges might affect how a Game Developer structures a game.
With a design and concept in place, Game Developers then have to translate the ideas into language a computer can understand. Various programming languages are used to solve problems, fine-tune performance, and mesh graphics and sound with the created environment. In Introduction to Game Development, we’ll walk you through the most common programming languages and game engines (gaming-specific frameworks) that are used in the industry.
In game development, assets are all the art components that make up the game’s look, feel, and sound. For example, the characters, visual environment and scenes, sound effects, and soundtracks. (You’ll get to learn how character and environmental assets are created and used in Introduction to Game Development.)
Game assets today are sophisticated and uncannily realistic. Game Developers typically collaborate with 3D Artists, Environment Artists, Audio Engineers, Composers, and Character Artists to finesse these crucial components that make games so memorable.
Game Developer requirements
Some job descriptions for Game Developer roles might require that you have a Computer Science degree to apply — but that's not always the case. Many Game Developers get hired based on their gaming experience, robust portfolio, and attractive resume.
4 essential skills you need to become a Game Developer
Besides creativity, imagination, and passion for gaming, what skills will you need to become a Game Developer?
- Knowledge of one or more gaming engines. Gaming engines are the framework used for building games. They're also referred to as the "game framework" or "game architecture." Some commonly used examples are Unity and Unreal.
- Math, physics, and problem-solving. A strong background in math and physics will help you translate your creative ideas into gaming experiences. For example, you might need math skills to develop algorithms in games. Many potential employers conduct interviews to establish more than just coding experience. They want to see your problem-solving skills too.
- Good communication and documentation skills. Whether you're pitching your own game as a freelancer or working as part of a team, good communication and documentation may make or break any potential deal or strategy.
Start your career as a Game Developer
Here are some steps you can take to establish yourself in the gaming industry and make this lucrative career choice a reality.
- Cultivate your creativity and imagination. Gamers are always looking for a new and exciting game to captivate their attention. Develop your storytelling abilities, stimulate your imagination, and get the creative juices flowing.
- Build your portfolio. Compile a portfolio using games that you make on your own or group games you contributed to. If you need a little help finding the right type of portfolio projects, check out our collection of game development projects.
- Create an attractive resume. Once you've got some experience under your belt, create an attractive resume that highlights your skills and experience to prospective employers and clients. Good to know: Recruiters like to see the names of games that you have experience playing on your resume.
- Take an entry-level position. Everyone has to start somewhere. Even as you further your training and education, accept an entry-level position to gain experience and establish yourself in the industry. Here’s an overview of the types of entry-level game development jobs you might be eligible for.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a Game Developer does and how your favorite games are built, get started with our free course Introduction to Game Development. To round out your programming knowledge and get career-ready, check out our full course catalog for courses, paths, and more.