Becoming a video game developer takes more than a love of gaming and a head for numbers. It can mean long nights with hours of intense work in a highly competitive industry. That said, it can also mean an incredibly rewarding and unique—not to mention lucrative— career choice in the video game industry.4
For those outside of the gaming industry, figuring out how to break in can seem like going up against a final boss as an underleveled character with nothing but beginner’s gear. Thankfully, you don’t have to wander blindly, hoping you’ll bump into a helpful NPC.
We’ll guide you through the four steps on how to become a game developer and get you started on your journey.
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Gaming
If you love video games, you’re already well on your way into the video game development world.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a devoted gamer for years or you just got hooked on the Switch and are coming to it fresh, finding a new passion can happen at any age. Immerse yourself with popular or innovative games with a critical eye toward what development choices were made to make the product in front of you. Being able to discuss games you’re passionate about and why or games that did or didn’t work will help you during interviews and networking opportunities.
Playing a broad variety of games will also help you figure out what types of games you want to make and help you find a community of like-minded individuals. Being active in the gaming community may expose you to insights from established developers, or connect you with other aspiring developers.1
Step 2: Educate Yourself
Wondering how to create a game app or a game for a console? Game development and game programming requires a lot of know-how, and there are always new skills to pick up. In general, having a strong foundation in math will help, considering math is at the core of how every game works.2
Some of the common areas of mathematics used in game development include:
- Applied Mathematics
While you may not need to bust out the chalkboard and graph paper while coding, having a basic understanding of mathematical concepts and logic will help you understand problems in your game programming.
Getting a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or any related fields will also bolster your resume. Internships are another useful way to get more experience. If you are self-taught, make sure you pick up a variety of useful programming languages and skills, such as:3
- Object-oriented design
- Computer graphics
- Engine skills such as Unity or the Unreal Engine
When teaching yourself how to code in a new programming language, it can help to find a dedicated educational platform that turns difficult concepts into digestible, bite-sized lessons. By doing so, you’ll ensure a seamless learning experience.
Step 3: Build Your Portfolio
Building a strong portfolio of games you’ve made or worked on is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door in the video game industry.
It allows your commitment and dedication to your craft to speak for itself, as well as show off who you are as an individual compared to other aspiring game developers. If you’re not able to get a degree and are largely self-taught, having a portfolio is an effective way to get noticed by gaming studios.
Start with easy projects that will help you sharpen and learn new skills, then move onto more ambitious projects. Have fun with it, and make sure you credit any collaborators you work with.
Step 4: Start With an Entry-Level Job and Work Your Way Up
When breaking into the gaming industry, you’ll likely have to start at an entry-level job as a junior programmer. You may have to start off working on a lot of the unglamorous work needed to make a game run smoothly, but getting professional experience on your resume is important to advancing your career as a game developer.
Review entry-level job descriptions with an eagle eye and make sure your resume reflects the requirements employers are looking for. ‘How much do game developers make,’ And ‘What does a game developer do at this company,’ are all great questions to ask yourself as you look for jobs. If you don’t meet their requirements, work on picking up some of the common skills you see listed so you’ll be ready the next time another opportunity comes along.
Start Your Adventure with Disney Codeillusion
Starting a new career path can be like starting a new game with no idea of the rules, short-term objectives, or even a map to the new world you’re stepping into. Good games give you guiding posts that help you progress past obstacles so you don’t get stuck.
Learning how to program shouldn’t be different.
With Disney Codeillusion, you can begin your quest to become a game developer in a no-stuck fashion. Disney Codeillusion makes coding easy and fun by blending 125 lessons on game development, web design, and coding languages with a roleplaying game format that’s entertaining and easy-to-follow, regardless of age.
Every character needs a mentor on the hero’s journey. Find yours in the world of game development with Disney Codeillusion.
- BitDegree. How to Become a Game Developer: 10 Steps Guide. https://www.bitdegree.org/tutorials/how-to-become-a-game-developer/
- Game Designing. The Nuts and Bolts of Using Math to Make Excellent Video Games. https://www.gamedesigning.org/learn/game-development-math/
- Study. Become a Gaming Programmer: Step-by-Step Career Guide. https://study.com/articles/Become_a_Gaming_Programmer_Step-by-Step_Career_Guide.html
- Indeed. How to Become a Video Game Designer. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-become-a-video-game-designer