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How to Become a Game Developer in the US

Posted on 
March 26, 2022
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

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If you are fascinated with game development and wondering how to become a game developer, this article will definitely interest you! Game developers are in high demand in recent times, especially with the onset of virtual reality, advanced consoles, and cloud gaming. 

Game development has become one of the highest-paying jobs in software development, with gaming developers earning an average entry-level salary of $81,803. This is significantly higher than the average entry-level salary offered to software developers in other fields. 

Through this article, we’ll talk about how to become a game developer from scratch, and if you’re already a programmer, we’ll tell you how to become a professional game developer. We’ll also look at the roles and responsibilities of game developers, how to become a game developer from scratch, skills required to become a game developer, and a few noteworthy tips to become a game developer at top gaming companies.

The journey in game development is extremely exciting and stimulating. In the past few years, a huge percentage of software developers have switched to game development, looking at the scope the industry offers. 

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Having trained over 10,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

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Here’s what we’ll cover in this piece:

  • Roles and responsibilities of game developers
  • Qualifications and skills required to become a game developer
  • How to become a game developer from scratch
  • How to Become a Game Developer If You’re an Experienced Software Developer
  • Average salary of game developers in the US
  • Tips to crack game developer interviews at FAANG+ companies
  • FAQs on how to become a game developer

How to Become a Game Developer: Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities

Game developer salaries are high because of the wide-ranging responsibilities that the role entails. Game developers are fundamentally responsible for building virtual game environments by translating game design into functional code. Their main responsibilities include:

  • Develop games for PC, mobile, and consoles by employing popular game engines
  • Bring game design into reality by converting the design into workable code
  • Liaising with game design teams to develop game concepts 
  • Creating game characters and various levels as applicable to the game
  • Creating game prototypes by specifying key features and attributes of characters and levels
  • Integrating game engine technologies to develop advanced game features
  • Regularly checking for bugs in games and fixing them

How to Become a Game Developer: Skills and Qualifications Required

In order to become a game developer and draw a lucrative game developer salary, you’re required to meet the minimum educational qualification and skill requirements. Let’s look at the qualifications and skills required to become a game developer:  

  • A professional degree in computer science, IT, or a related field
  • Working knowledge of game engines
  • Working knowledge of 3D graphics and feature optimization
  • Working knowledge of C++, Java, or an Object-Oriented Programming Language
  • Working knowledge of building libraries and APIs
  • Knowing the process of converting design into code

How to Become a Game Developer From Scratch

Game development is a rewarding career choice if your interest lies in designing and developing games that provide an enhanced user experience. To begin your career in game development, the first and foremost skill you require is coding. Even if you’re getting into game design and not specifically into game development, having good coding fundamentals can be highly beneficial. 

Game developers essentially work to bring the game environment to life through functional code. So to begin a career in game development from scratch, learning how to code is critical. 

If you’re a beginner programmer, it’s best to begin by learning C++, as C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages for game development. It will take you a good 6-8 months to learn the language extensively to start developing game code and building game algorithms. Some other popular languages used for game development include C#, JavaScript, Python, and Lua. 

So, to become a game developer from scratch here’s what you should be doing:

  • Get good with Object-Oriented Programming
  • Learn the technicalities associated with Game-Level Design
  • Learn how to use Game development tools; popular tools include Marmalade, Panda 3D, Unreal Engine, and Godot Engine
  • Understand User Interface Design
  • Understand database design, security, and management 

These points will help you familiarize yourself with game development and move towards a rewarding career in the profession. 

How to Become a Game Developer If You’re an Experienced Software Developer

If you’re an experienced software engineer, the best way to become a game developer is to dive deep into game-level design and learn how to use game engines to build game code and algorithms. As a game developer, your primary role would involve bringing the game environment to life through functional code. 

So, if you already have a strong grasp on a programming language, preferably an Object-Oriented Programming Language, knowing how the popular game engines work is important. 

As an experienced programmer, if you wish to transition into a game development career, you should:

  • Learn how popular game engines work to convert game design into workable code. Some popular engines include Marmalade, Panda 3D, Unreal Engine, and Godot Engine.
  • Know how the technicalities of game-level design work.
  • Understand scalable systems and how they can be integrated with game development.
  • Understand how User Interfaces work and learn to build setup engaging UI and graphics.

Average Salary of Game Developers in the US

Game Developers enjoy lucrative compensation at top companies. Game development is one of the highest-paying entry-level software development jobs, making it an in-demand profession in recent times. Let’s look at the average salary of game developers in the US.

Source: Glassdoor

FAQs on How to Become a Game Developer

Q1.  What is the average game developer salary in the United States?

The average game developer salary in the United States is $81,803 per year. 

Q2. What are some additional benefits offered to game developers apart from the game developer salary?

Some additional benefits offered to game developers aside from their annual game developer salary include — dental, health, vision, and accidental insurance, paternity and maternity benefits, wellness benefits, health savings accounts, paid vacations, transportation benefits, and 401K. 

Q3. How much does a lead game developer make in the US?

The average salary of lead game developers in the US is $131,464 per year. 

Q4. What is the average salary offered to senior game developers in the US?

The average salary offered to senior game developers in the US is $127,778.

Q5. Which companies are known to pay the highest salaries to game developers?

Some companies that offer the highest salaries to game developers are — Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts, Roblox, Game Show Studios, and Heavy Iron Network. 

Gear Up for Your Next Game Developer Interview

Are you getting ready for your upcoming game developer interview? Register for our technical interview webinar.

At Interview Kickstart, we’ve trained thousands of engineers to land lucrative offers at the biggest tech companies. Our instructors, who are FAANG hiring managers, know what it takes to nail tough tech interviews at top technology companies.

Register for our FREE webinar to learn more.

WEBINAR +LIVE Q&A

How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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