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Game Developer Careers

If you love computer and video games, and have some experience in programming, a career as a game developer may be a rewarding one. A game developer is a person who specializes in developing and programming all the creative aspects of a video or computer game, and is a vocation that requires computer programming knowledge, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills. A game developer brings concepts to life, they program the game world using mechanics, computers graphics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to build the game world, and they ensuring that all aspects of the game are in line with the game designer's specifications.

Game developers are adept at various computer and graphic programming languages, and possess strong analytical and creative skills. Most of these individuals have prior experience with video and computer games, and typically work in an office environment or remotely. These individuals also work as game testers as well, and are responsible for finding bugs or mistakes, and have the technical aptitude to fix these issues. Game developers should possess strong communication skills, and be able to work with other team members, clients, and upper management.

Although many game developers have a bachelor's degree in computer science, IT, web design, or a comparable field, an advanced degree is not necessarily a requirement if the individual has comparable experience. The average annual salary for a game developer in the US is $101,000, and the career field is expected to grow 11% over the next several years.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a game developer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $37.74 an hour? That's $78,499 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 21% and produce 284,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Game Developer Do

There are certain skills that many game developers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed troubleshooting skills, concentration and analytical skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a game developer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 20.8% of game developers included game engine, while 13.8% of resumes included unity, and 6.1% of resumes included unreal engine. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the game developer job title. But what industry to start with? Most game developers actually find jobs in the technology and education industries.

How To Become a Game Developer

If you're interested in becoming a game developer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 64.2% of game developers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 21.0% of game developers have master's degrees. Even though most game developers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a game developer. When we researched the most common majors for a game developer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on game developer resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a game developer. In fact, many game developer jobs require experience in a role such as software engineer. Meanwhile, many game developers also have previous career experience in roles such as web developer or developer.

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Average Salary
$78,499
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
21%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
54,930
Job Openings

Game Developer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Game Developer

Top Careers After Game Developer

Developer
10.4 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Game Developer

Game Developers in America make an average salary of $78,499 per year or $38 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $103,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $59,000 per year.
Average Salary
$78,499

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range89k - 133k$109k$108,990
Seattle, WA
Salary Range83k - 125k$102k$102,377
New York, NY
Salary Range71k - 103k$86k$85,789
Harrisonburg, VA
Salary Range66k - 95k$80k$80,121
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range64k - 93k$78k$77,781
Durham, NC
Salary Range64k - 92k$77k$77,420
$47k
$133k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Game Developer
Game Developer
Robert Half
Robert Half
10/21/2020
10/21/2020
$80,00010/21/2020
$80,000
Full Stack .NET Developer-Remote-Gaming Startup
Full Stack .NET Developer-Remote-Gaming Startup
Cybercoders
Cybercoders
02/18/2020
02/18/2020
$120,00002/18/2020
$120,000
Game Developer
Game Developer
Randstad
Randstad
12/04/2019
12/04/2019
$89,74112/04/2019
$89,741
Game Developer
Game Developer
Cybercoders
Cybercoders
11/21/2019
11/21/2019
$120,00011/21/2019
$120,000
Game Developer
Game Developer
Cybercoders
Cybercoders
10/30/2019
10/30/2019
$60,00010/30/2019
$60,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Game Developer Demographics

Gender

male

77.8 %

female

13.7 %

unknown

8.5 %

Ethnicity

White

57.3 %

Asian

27.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.6 %

Chinese

16.3 %

Japanese

16.3 %
See More Demographics

Game Developer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

64.2 %

Masters

21.0 %

Associate

7.7 %

Top Colleges for Game Developers

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

6. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

7. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,930
Enrollment
5,030

8. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

9. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

10. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Game Developer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 20.8% of game developers listed game engine on their resume, but soft skills such as troubleshooting skills and concentration are important as well.

Best States For a Game Developer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a game developer. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Oregon, and Connecticut. Game developers make the most in California with an average salary of $101,659. Whereas in Washington and Oregon, they would average $101,376 and $92,307, respectively. While game developers would only make an average of $92,247 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Game Developer Jobs:
5,160
Highest 10% Earn:
$146,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Game Developer Jobs:
641
Highest 10% Earn:
$135,000
Location Quotient:
1.04
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Game Developer Jobs:
1,034
Highest 10% Earn:
$149,000
Location Quotient:
0.95
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Game Developer Employers

1. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$119,898
Game Developers Hired: 
10+
2. Electronic Arts
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$106,290
Game Developers Hired: 
8+
3. CyberCoders
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$58,467
Game Developers Hired: 
7+
4. The Walt Disney Company
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$94,648
Game Developers Hired: 
7+
5. Rosetta Stone
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$79,323
Game Developers Hired: 
5+
6. High 5 Pie
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$76,095
Game Developers Hired: 
4+

Game Developer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020