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Computer games developer

Alternative titles for this job include Computer games designer, video games designer

Computer game developers create video games for phones, tablets, PCs and consoles.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter

to

£70,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

30 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a computer games developer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in:

  • computer games technology
  • computer games development
  • computer science
  • interactive media
  • mathematics

If you'd like a job that includes game design as well as programming, you could do a foundation degree or degree in a subject like animation or graphic design.

You may have an advantage when you look for work if you do a degree that includes a work placement.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

College

You could do a college course before a higher level qualification. It might help you to get a trainee position with a company.

Courses you could take include:

  • A level in Computing
  • T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production Games Development

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and computing
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could do one of the following apprenticeships to get started in this role:

  • software developer higher apprenticeship
  • junior 2D artist higher apprenticeship
  • junior vfx artist higher apprenticeship
  • game programmer degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start as a games tester if you play a lot of games.

You'll usually need an IT qualification or some relevant work experience. Employers will be interested in your talent and creativity.

You may also find it helps to have A levels or a diploma in relevant subjects like computing or media production.

More Information

Career tips

You can create a portfolio of work or online demo to highlight your skills to potential employers.

You can get information on how to start creating your own games from Into Games.

Further information

You can get more advice about working in games development from ScreenSkills and Into Games.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to write computer code
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you could:

  • work in a team with designers and artists
  • decide what a game will look like and how it can be played
  • develop your own ideas or work from an existing idea
  • create concept art, drawings or storyboards at the planning stage
  • create code to programme the game
  • test and debug code
  • use computer modelling and animation software to make characters and scenes
  • add sound effects

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio or in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a senior developer, producer or technical director.

You could increase your income a lot if you develop a successful game on your own.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Unreal Engine Programmer Apprentice

  • Wage: £14,500.00 Annually
  • Location: Manchester, UK

Software Developer Apprentice

  • Wage: £18,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Knutsford, Cheshire

Courses In England

Gateway Award Games Design and Development (Level 2)

  • Provider: GRANTHAM COLLEGE
  • Start date: 09 November 2022
  • Location: Grantham

Study Programme - Games Development Level 1,2 & 3

  • Provider: HEART OF YORKSHIRE EDUCATION GROUP
  • Start date: 01 September 2023
  • Location: Wakefield

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