If you possess software development and programming skills and are enthusiastic about the video game industry, then you might want to become a game developer. This article will include game developer job satisfaction factors and the highest-paid jobs in the gaming industry. We will also talk about the stress factors, rewards, and employment benefits that commonly accompany working as a game developer.
What Is a Game Developer?
A game developer is a software engineering professional responsible for coding, maintaining, and testing a video game and its core features. A primary job responsibility of a game developer is to develop a game that’s unique and replayable. To achieve this, developers work with video game designers, animators, and UX/UI designers.
Depending on the job title and company, game developers create video games for mobile devices, computers, gaming consoles, and other devices. Some of their job duties include developing innovative game storylines, designing 2D and 3D game animations, and conducting game performance tests.
Is Game Development a Good Career?
Yes, game development is a good career for individuals who are interested in a profession that is a blend of programming, design, and creative subject areas. Along with being a multifaceted field, game development is also a highly in-demand occupation that comes with high compensation rates. Experienced developers can get the opportunity to work at top video game companies.
Game Developer Satisfaction Rates
Game developer satisfaction rates are generally high. According to PayScale reports, the job satisfaction rate for video game developers is 3.8 out of five stars. PayScale further reports that this profession often includes medical coverage, dental coverage, and vision coverage.
Along with high job satisfaction rates, game development also offers a high job outlook rate. The gaming industry continues to grow and so does the demand for video game workers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook rate for game developers is 22 percent between 2020 and 2030. This high outlook rate provides game developers with a strong sense of job security.
What Makes Game Developer Jobs Satisfying?
There are numerous components that make game developer jobs satisfying including high job growth rates, and high compensation rates. Read below to find the top professional and personal satisfaction elements of working as a game developer in today’s gaming industry.
Innovative and Robust Software Development Methodologies
Game development is a growing field that employs the latest techniques and technology to create modern games. Expect to learn the newest software development and software engineering methodologies during the game programming process.
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If you have strong development skills and want to engage in innovative software engineering endeavors, the development process of a video game will provide you with that. As a game developer, you are not limited to one graphical platform. You can program games for mobile devices, websites, computers, or game consoles.
Freedom of Creativity
The profession of game development isn’t simply limited to technical programming and software testing, it also encompasses more creative game design features. If you want a job that allows you to enhance your creative side, you’ll also have the chance to create stories and artwork.
Diversity in Gameplay Ideas and Experiences
For those who love tech but don’t want to spend 40 hours per week stuck at a one-dimensional software job, a game developer job might be for you. This professional development field is an amalgamation of creativity, innovation, and gameplay.
As a developer, you will get to work with a wide range of initial game sketches and ideas to create unique game design features and gameplay experiences. The ranges of gameplay ideas are endless and cover tons of genres including RPGs, first-person shooters, sports, and platform games.
Problem-Solving and Analytical Tasks
Game development provides great job satisfaction for candidates with excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. Similar to most software engineering jobs, game development also requires excellent software testing, debugging, and maintenance abilities. These tasks require a candidate to employ analytical and troubleshooting duties.
Collaborative Work Culture
If you have excellent interpersonal and project management skills, then the collaborative work culture factor in the game development profession will allow you to build a successful career. As a game developer, you will work with video game designers, executive directors, UX/UI designers, and project managers to meet production schedules and create a polished finished product.
Game Developer Stress and Rewards
Like any job, game developers face a variety of stressful situations that are balanced with hard-earned rewards. The pros and cons listed below vary depending on your company and your job description.
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Game Developer Stress
- Long work hours. A game developer’s job is a demanding one that requires a large time commitment. According to a Statistica 2018 survey, 43 percent of game developers reported weekly work hours between 41 and 50 hours. The data further showed that 8.6 percent of developers worked an average of 51 to 60 hours per week. Developers often work evenings and weekends to meet project schedules.
- Heavy workload. Unlike typical software engineering or development jobs, the job responsibility of a game developer also entails some creative aspects. Developers are involved in the creation of several features of video games. They include software development, software testing, and video game design.
- Hig- level skill set requirement. You will need to learn C#, Java, C++, software engineering, game design, and software testing to succeed as a game developer. You will also need soft skills such as storytelling, communication, and problem-solving skills.
- Highly competitive. The video game industry is a lucrative and rapidly progressing industry that offers some of the most in-demand jobs on the market. Competition for roles is stiff.
- Fast-paced sector. Working in game development is a fast-paced business. As the industry’s software and gameplay experiences become more advanced, game developers need to keep up with the growing skill demands to remain relevant.
Game Developer Rewards
- High salary. Game development is a lucrative and in-demand profession that offers high compensation rates. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of a game developer is $101,644. ZipRecruiter further mentions that the salaries can go as high as $167,000 per year.
- New technology usage. Game development uses the latest technology, giving you ample chance to upgrade your skills on the job. As a developer, you will work with advanced game engines to produce realistic and high-quality games. They include Unreal Engine 5, Unity, and Solar 2D. Game developers also work with facial and voice recognition, machine learning, and gesture control.
- High job outlook rate. Game developers are sought-after professionals that work in a multi-billion dollar video game industry. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts their job outlook growth to be 22 percent between 2020 to 2030.
- Build a career without an advanced degree. A great reward of a game developer career is that you can enter the profession without a formal degree. There are tons of game development and game design bootcamps that can help you penetrate this profession. You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a bachelor’s degree to qualify for this lucrative career.
- Ample career growth possibilities. Game developers work in a dynamic and collaborative work environment. They work with video game designers, UX/UI designers, marketing managers, and character animators. This opens up career growth opportunities across several fields. You can find work as a creative game director, senior animation engineer, game design director, or senior game programmer.
Life as a Game Developer
Now that you have an idea about the pros and cons of working as a video game developer, let’s find out what your life will look like on a daily basis. After reading the different factors below, you should be able to tell if this profession is right for you.
Game Developer Work Environment
A game developer’s work environment is collaborative and fast-paced. Depending on your company and job, the workload will be heavy. Game developers work with various tech and non-tech departments to develop an optimal video game. Your work schedule will also vary depending on the project schedule. You might be required to work during weekends and evenings to meet project deadlines.
Game Developer Benefits
As a full-time game developer you will most likely receive health, vision, and dental insurance. Your employment benefits also include paid sick leaves, vacation days, retirement plans, and parental leaves. However, know that employee benefits vary depending on your company, job designation, and employment agreement.
Game Developer Career Growth
Working as a game developer can lead to other opportunities. This profession is quite diverse and incorporates both technical and non-technical skills. You can apply for senior roles after two to three years of experience. For anyone interested in software engineering, you can grow your career as a senior game engineer or a systems designer. A game developer’s career growth can also branch into artificial intelligence fields.
Game Developer Job Outlook, Salaries, and Career Growth
The future is bright for game developers. Salaries are expected to increase and working as a game developer can lead to different career paths depending on your skill set and interests.
Is Game Development In Demand?
Yes, game developers are in demand. According to the BLS, game developers’ job outlook rate is predicted to grow by 22 percent between 2020 to 2030.
It is a prominent career choice for aspiring programmers, software developers, and software engineers in search of a fruitful career path.
Game Developer Salaries
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of an entry-level game developer is $57,146, while the top 90th percentile make around $118,500 per year. ZipRecruiter further reports San Francisco, Fremont, San Jose, and Oakland to be the top-paying cities for game developers.
High-Paying Game Development Jobs
|Job Title||Average Salary|
|Game Engine Developer||$116,332|
|Senior Unity Developer||$116,249|
|Senior Game Developer||$113,296|
- Game Designer Average Salary: $130,000
A game designer is responsible for the gameplay, plot, and interactive elements of a video game. You need a bachelor’s degree in graphics design or software engineering to enter this profession. Attending a coding bootcamp can also help you get hired as a game designer. As a game designer, you will work with UX/UI designers, game programmers, and 2D and 3D animators to create a functional and optimal game design.
Game Engine Developer
- Game Engine Developer Average Salary: $116,332
A game engine developer is responsible for programming the engine and the system in which the video game will run. Some of their job responsibilities include system debugging, software maintenance, and engine codding. They work to aid the game programming process by collaborating with game developers and game designers.
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Senior Unity Developer
- Senior Unity Developer Average Salary: $116,249
As a senior Unity developer, you will work to maintain and build efficient Unity engines for video games. As this is a senior position your job duties will also include training and supervising entry-level game engine developers. Similar to a general game engine developer, you will also work with game designers, and game programmers to create an optimal Unity engine.
Senior Game Developer
- Senior Game Developer Average Salary: $113,296
A senior game developer works with creative directors, lead game designers, and junior game developers to supervise and develop a functional video game. You are responsible for the game interface, gameplay code, and software efficiency. You will conduct regular software tests, debug the codes, and build a user-friendly game.
- Game Engineer Average Salary: $112,320
A game engineer’s duties are similar to a game developer’s job responsibilities. As a game engineer, you will create a functional game code using the lead designer’s vision. You will also conduct regular software testing and build a scalable application.
Should I Become a Game Developer?
You should become a game developer if you are passionate about programming, software development, and the video game industry. A game development career also suits candidates with a passion for artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality technologies.
This highly in-demand profession will help you build a fruitful, and successful career in the lucrative video game industry. It will also allow you to work with an array of software subject areas including software engineering, quality assurance, UX/UI design, game design, and application development.
Game Developer Career Change FAQ
Yes, game developers do like their jobs and the high job satisfaction ratings on career statistics websites are a testament to this. According to PayScale reports video game developers earned 3.8 out of five stars on their job satisfaction index.
Yes, video game developers are high in-demand and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job outlook rate for software development occupations to be 22 percent between 2020 to 2030. The video game industry is also rapidly growing and currently stands to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, which makes video game developers a highly sought-after professional group.
Yes, game development is a hard job as the profession combines software development, software testing, user experience design, and character animations. As a game developer, you will work with a group of tech-based and non-tech professionals to code an optimal video game that requires ample time commitment and high-level skills.
There are several education routes you can take to become a game developer. The industry standard requirement is a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or software development. But, you can also attend a game development coding bootcamp to enter an entry-level game development position.
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