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Video Game Programmer Salary for 2016

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This article is part of the Video Game Developer Salary series. Read about the annual salary ranges of all video game jobs, and get advice on maximizing your paycheck throughout your career.
Video Game Programmer Stereotype

Don’t worry, you don’t need a bow-tie to write kicka** code.

Table of Contents

  1. Game Programmer salary: Overview
  2. Game Programmer salary: Factors
  3. Search for Game Programming jobs
  4. Game Programmer salary: Details
  5. Other factors that affect Programmer salary
  6. Demand for Game Programmers
  7. Should I become a Game Programmer?

When young people dream of making video games, they usually think of becoming a game designer. Learning how to be a video game programmer isn’t usually on their radar, because most people don’t really understand what a game developer does. In fact, game programming can seem like a black art that’s too technical (and too nerdy!) for the average person to understand.

But the truth is that anybody can learn to be a game programmer. Even you! And there’s another thing you might not know about game programming: Video game programmers have, on average, the highest salaries of any development job in the game industry.

Now do I have your attention…?

How much do video game programmers make? And how much could you make as a game programmer?

Game Programmer Salary: Overview

If you’ve ever researched video game programming jobs, you’ve probably found that there are many “flavors” of game programmers: graphics programmers, server programmers, client programmers, front-end programmers, technical directors and so on. The game industry also has many names for “programmer.” They can be called programmers, developers, or engineers, depending on the game studio.

Fortunately, the jobs – and therefore the salaries – are similar no matter what they’re called. Let’s take a look.

If you’re a TL;DR kind of reader, here’s the short version: Game programmer salaries start at around $40,000 annually for entry-level engineering positions. But they can grow to well over $120,000 per year (yes, $120k!) for very senior programmers or programmers who are leading teams. Also, there are several programming roles within any given game studio. So, how is game programmer pay determined?

Game Programmer Salary: Factors

Like most jobs, game engineer salaries are based on years of programming experience, areas of expertise, and whether there’s a “lead” or a “senior” in the job title. The more experience you have, the more you’re likely to get paid.

However, there’s another factor to consider, and that’s whether a given programmer’s skill set is considered a “premium” skill at the moment. For example, graphics programmers were in high demand 10 years ago, so they were paid significantly more than other programmers. These days, server programmers are in demand. So coders who can program game servers are paid more than their colleagues. If you’re thinking about starting a career in game programming, it’s worth paying attention to these premium trends.

READ  Job Overview: Video Game Programmer

Search for Game Programmer Jobs

There are many programming jobs available, but they have different names depending on the country, state and game company. Try searching for job titles like “video game programmer,” “game developer,” or “game engineer.”

What Where
Jobs by Jobs2Careers job search

Game Programmer Salary: Details

Okay, let’s take a look at the numbers in detail. These figures are generally from three sources: GlassDoor.com, Game Developer Magazine’s annual salary survey, and my own experience as programmer and a technical director in the game industry.

One way to break down the numbers is to look at experience. Here are the average salaries for game programmers with various years of experience.

Video Game Programmer salary by years of experience

Under 3 Years 3-6 Years 6+ Years
Game Programmer/Engineer
$72,000 $80,000 $105,000
Lead/Senior Game Programmer/Engineer
N/A $95,000 $115,000
Technical Director
N/A N/A $135,000

Note that there isn’t data for Lead Game Programmers or Technical Directors until they have 3 to 6 years’ experience. As you may have guessed, this is because programmers are rarely promoted into leadership positions until they have several years of on-the-job experience.

Another way to break down the numbers is to look at each game programmer salary based on job title. I think this is more useful because it gives a salary range. It also decouples job title from years of experience, which more closely reflects how game programmer careers actually flow. You don’t get promoted just because you’ve been doing the job for a certain amount of time. You get promoted based on the quality of your work and the amount of project responsibility you can handle.

Video Game Programmer salary by job title

Job Title Low High
Game Programmer/Engineer1 $38,000 $100,000
Senior Programmer or Lead Programmer2 $67,000 $135,000
Technical Director3 $96,000 $250,000

1 Entry-level game programmers can also be called Associate Programmers, or sometimes Programmer/Analysts. They generally work in a variety of existing code systems, since they’re just learning the ropes.

2 As programmers get more experience, they may take on more responsibility or even start managing a small team. Senior Programmers usually have more responsibility for creating new technology, while Lead Programmers usually run a programming team of 3 or more other programmers.

3 Technical Directors usually manage a team of programmers that are working on a large and important area of technology for the studio. At some studios, they may even be responsible for managing an entire programming department.

Other Factors That Affect Game Programmer Salary

The numbers above are averages from many hundreds of programmer salaries, so they’re very general. In reality, there are other factors that can affect how much a programmer is paid.

  • Company/studio size. Larger companies generally have bigger project budgets, which allows them to pay their game programmers higher salaries. For example, GlassDoor.com indicates that some game programmers at Konami or Naughty Dog are being paid as much as $115,000/year. That’s 25% more than the top-range programmer salary at most other game studios.
  • Education background. In the early days of the game industry, there were many self-taught programmers. But nowadays, most programmer job descriptions specify a Bachelor’s in Computer Science or a related degree from a university or college. So getting a degree or certificate in programming from a college or university may be an important step to getting your hands on a nice game programmer salary.
  • Premium Engineering Positions. Programmers tend to specialize in different areas, and some areas are worth more than others depending on the needs of the industry at the time. For instance, GlassDoor.com shows “server programmers” can be paid as high as $126,000/year, compared to “mobile programmers” that average a top range closer to $70,000/year.
READ  How To Become A Video Game Associate Producer

Demand for Game Programmers

Even though the game industry is a cyclical business, one job that never goes away is the game programmer. Programmers bring the game design and art to life, so it’s difficult to get anything done without them. And because they need to work so closely with the game designers, it’s a difficult job to outsource to other countries. The chart below illustrates the demand for game programmers, based on the number of monthly job postings that include the terms “game programmer,” “game engineer,” and “game developer” in their description at Indeed.com (a job-posting aggregator).

Note that this approach can give a lot of false positives. For example, a given job posting might actually be for a Game Designer but it would show up in the data if it mentioned “must work well with game programmers.” But that’s okay for our purposes because we’re interested in the trends, not the absolute numbers.

Game Developer demand trends

This chart makes it clear that while demand for video game programmers is as cyclical as the game industry itself, they’re always in strong demand.

Should I Become A Game Programmer?

If you’re passionate about making games and you love problem-solving, then I hope these numbers are encouraging. Programming video games for a living is not only an extremely fun job, but it’s also the highest-paying job on any video game production team. And if demand for game programmers ever gets too low, your programming skill set will translate extremely well into other industries such as Web development, business software, or “big data.” Programming skills are always in demand somewhere, so type your ZIP code in the box below to find game programming schools near you.

If you liked this article, please share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Image: stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net
Sources: Glassdoor.com | Gamasutra.com | Indeed.com

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189 comments on “Video Game Programmer Salary for 2016
  1. Josh says:

    Hi Jason I’m currently doing a bachelor computer science course in England and I’m in my first year. Really enjoying programming particularly C# and action script which I have been doing in my free time but I’m not sure if action script is used anymore? Am I wasting my time learning it? Also is it worth doing a masters in game programming or something similar? I.e will it improve my employability or help me start on a higher wage?
    Also what’s your thoughts on doing lots of smaller game ‘demos’ or one big polished game?
    Regards Josh

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Great questions, Josh. ActionScript isn’t used as much for games anymore, but it’s okay to learn it as each language you learn makes it easier to learn others. (C# is definitely used for games, especially games made in Unity 3D.) Just having “Master” on your resume will not automatically earn you a higher salary; but if it’s in Game Programming then you’ll learn a lot more techniques and tricks for game programming, and will have a more impressive portfolio, which will help. As far as your demos, I’d say a lot of smaller demos will help more than doing one big game, especially if they’re in different game genres.

  2. Ruchit - IMCOOL says:

    hello jason,
    i am in higher secondary and want to pursue a job in Game Designing as a love games, have some ideas about game production and want to know what do i do next
    also, my friend wants to become a Game Programmer (And we are Dead Serious About it)
    we are just the beginners and do not know what to do
    we are planing to join DSK Supinfogame next year

    soo, here are the questions
    What EXACTLY to do to get know to work
    Is it a good idea to go to DSK.?
    What are Average pays for Game designer and programmer in Industry

    Any help is welcome
    THANK YOU very much for this blog, was really helpful

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Ruchit, your question about “what exactly to learn” is too general – so the general answer is, learn to design games or (for your friend) learn to program games. 🙂 There’s a lot to learn, which is what you’ll learn in school. I’m not familiar with DSK, but if they teach you to make games and you’ll leave the program with some game demos then it sounds like a great way to start your career. You can find salary info at the game developer salary articles.

  3. Motu says:

    Nice article. Of the schools you spoke of from your earlier post, which schools don’t you recommend? And why? An email will suffice if you’re not willing to list those schools on here. I’m currently attending The Art Institute of Portland and majoring in Visual & Game Programming. Not going to lie–you’re article instilled motivation to getting that degree.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Motu, most any game school will teach you the basics and help you start making a portfolio to show when you apply for jobs. As far as some schools being “better” than others, the main thing is that some schools might not “push” you as hard as others, so if you’re not self-motivated then you won’t learn as much. No matter which school you attend, be sure to push yourself hard to get good grades and make good game demos and you’ll do well when you look for jobs later.

      • Shubham says:

        Hi I am engineering student and I am Good in programming and also have developed android apps and desktop app as my personal work. Iam really looking forward to choose game devloping as my career so will it be Ok to do unity3d coures after completion of my engineering ?,and how much programming knowledge is require for unity3d engine.

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Hi Shubham, if you’re learning computer programming in school then you won’t have any problem learning Unity 3D. If you want to, you could start learning now by taking online Unity 3D classes on Lynda.com.

  4. Austin Jensen says:

    Hi, my name is Austin Jensen, I am a computer science major in my sophomore year in college. I currently live in Florida. I have been working as a Software Engineer for a financial software company based in California for about a year now. I am really interested in getting into the game programming field. I have specialized in internal tool and QA Automation development. What would be your suggestions for getting into the game programming field? Should I look for a job that closely matches what I have been doing, but for a game development company?

    Thank you so much.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Austen, I do think you’re on the right track. It may be hard for you to get a job as a gameplay or engine programmer since you don’t have real-time sim experience, but you may be able to get a job building game development tools. Many studios have such jobs to create internal tools for the developers, artists and designers. Check out this interview with a tools and pipeline programmer, it may give you some ideas.

  5. Michael B says:

    Hi Jason,

    What game companies and industries are located in Canada, specifically Ontario?

    How do game programmers usually showcase their work to potential employers in an interview? (i.e. for an interactable application that they’ve created, do they upload it onto a server and direct the employer to via links?)

    Lastly, where do/can most game programming program graduates apply and get a job position/career if they aren’t able to secure a game programmer position?

    Thanks.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Michael, there are a ton of game studios in Ontario. Check out the list at gamedevmap.com, just search for “ontario.”

      Game programmers usually showcase their work by building an online portfolio containing videos, in-browser demos, or downloadable apps that they link to from their resume and/or LinkedIn profile. Potential employers will also want to see some code samples, so you should consider posting some of your code to an online repository like Github, or provide a download link from your online portfolio.

      Anecdotally, I’d say that most game programming graduates can get a job making games. But other options include “serious game” industries like training simulation, interactive medical visualization, etc. If you get a game programming degree, you should be a good enough programmer that you could work at an entry-level programming position in just about any industry that needs programmers.

  6. jose says:

    hello,jason i was wondering what are some good game companies that need game programers in cali i wish to stay more in the middle of california and is there a link that would help me with that

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Jose, you’re in luck – there are many game companies in CA. A good place to start your research would be http://www.gamedevmap.com, just type “California” in the search box.

      • jose espino says:

        thank you very much i have one other question how many hours do you work daily and are they productive meaning you have to constantly keep programming also i also want to be a dj/producer do you think ill have time for that it takes about 4 hours for me to make a good song and at a young age i have a dream and play weekends at clubs waiting to get notice i know that might sound silly but i really want to do both these things and make a good living.

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Hi Jose, game programmers normally work about 40 hours/week (at least), but not all of that time is spent writing code. Some time is in code-related activities like debugging, planning. Some time is spent in team-related tasks like project planning or team meetings. And since most people aren’t productive 100% of the time, there’s also time for breaks and for socializing with others in the studio.

  7. Rue Luna Chang-Wong says:

    can not find a a list of duties for the programmer please do update this because we need this for a school project we need this information as soon as possible

  8. james says:

    im going to go to school to be a game programmer and i was wondering how to get started and any tips and how much does a programmer make annually starting out

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi James, your question about what a game programmer makes starting out is answered in this article – it could be as low as $38,000 at some companies in some towns, but in my experience game programmers start closer to $50k. Since you’re going to school for game programming, then you’ve already got started! Do well in school, learn as much as you can, and build some small game demos for your portfolio. You’re on the right track.

  9. Miguel Veloso says:

    Hi, my name is Miguel, I´m 16 years old and I´m carrying about my future. I knows it´s too early to make plans before finishing my University. I´m from Portugal, i´m studing in Braga and in 2017 i will go to Universidade do Minho. I always wanted to create or giving orders to my workers to do a certain game, and I really loved to work on it. I dont have any artistic hand so something relationed with drawing characters for the game or drawing the landmarks isn´t for me. As you should know, here in Portugal the salaries are really low, so I was thinking to go working to US, because I think that they pay more in US. I just want tips for what could I do in a big company of games, I was looking for Game Programming and that stuffs. Does they pay well in US? Is 70k per year a good salary? I dont know how it works on US, but here in Portugal we receive per mounth and not for year. I´m confused sorry if Im making a stupid question xD. Btw your article is awesome 🙂

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Miguel, thanks for the questions. There are several game studios in Portugal, but if you can’t find a job you like there then there are many, many options throughout Europe. The US is also nice if you want to live here someday. 🙂 Yes, $70k is a good salary in the US, and game programers can make much more as they gain experience. Companies in the USA also pay monthly – the reason the charts say “per year” is because that’s usually how we talk about salary in the USA, we list a years’ worth even though it’s paid monthly.

  10. marlon the fun says:

    iam 13 and have basic knowledge of c++ coding from using udk what should i learn next and which do you think is better for me art coder or game developer

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Marlon, it’s awesome that you’re 13 and already learning C++ coding. If you like it, then why not keep on doing it? Keep practicing, improve your skills, and continually do bigger projects in UDK. That’s a good path toward becoming a game programmer!

  11. Sai says:

    Hello, I am beginner in Software Development industry, currently taking classes in college, I am still not 100% sure what exactly I want to do in programming industry. If you could help me to clarify something… I AM REALLY GOOD IN MATH, always have highest scores on tests and exams on Math, at the moment I am taking trigonometry… Can you answer me, Jason, What area in programming and software development highly needs Good Math skills…beside of video game programming ????

    Thank you!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Sai, I’m not terribly knowledgeable about programming jobs outside of the game industry. But the types of programming jobs that require great math skills are going to be industries where the algorithms are complex and precision is very important – some ideas that come to mind are finance, military and medical simulation, and maybe embedded systems in important industries like aeronautics or industrial robotics.

  12. RAHUL KUMAR SAH says:

    Hello sir,I am Rahul kumar 18 year old from India.my question is that some video games like NSF ,counter strike,etc.in which langues such type of games are programming.
    As i am learning c++ & python langues.I have been created some Little graphics games on c++ as well as on python. But I am so much eager to know about that type of video games programming langues.sir,I have dream to be a good game programmer.I want to make my dream in real.so please sir clear my confusion about programming langues and give me advise to be a good game programmer in future.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Rahul, if you learn C++ then that would be a great place to start because most games are written in C++. Also, once you learn C++, you can more easily learn other languages that are sometimes used for games such as C# and Objective-C.

  13. nothing says:

    Im not very fast at making new codes.But im very good at solving problems ,debugging.Can i find a job with this specialities? Must i try to join a company? And cant solve graphical problems.I can solve problems like the bugs of SKYRIM.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi there, I guess it depends on whether you’re not good at those things because you lack the talent, or because you just haven’t learned enough or haven’t had enough practice. If you’re young, then I encourage you to keep following the skill set that you’re the most interested in (coding, art, design). You’ll get better over time, and could still get a job later on.

  14. yash says:

    I have done my bsc in computer science. can i become a game programmer ?

  15. Johns says:

    Hi jason,im from from south india.is there anyway for me to study game programming in U.S?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      I think you’d need to move to the US in order to study at most US schools. However, you might want to check out DigiPen Institute – they have a campus in Singapore, which of course would be closer to your home.

  16. Biswa says:

    I’m bsc in physics and im planning to get admitted to a game institute here in india.so is there any chance of getting job in multinational companies like ubisoft ,EA,etc ..

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      If you get your degree and build a small game portfolio, then yes, you should apply to game studios in your area and have a good chance of getting hired. It might be helpful to research the current job openings at those studios, to find out what they list as requirements for entry level jobs. Good luck!

  17. Ravi says:

    Hi Jason,

    Hope ur doing good,idk how i ended up here tbh ,but it was worth it to go through this blog.

    Let me shoot my ques straight away.
    I have completed my BE degree in 2014. Currently working as an Analyst in a good software firm. I was always passionate about playing games and building them. My dream is to develop a good game and release it to all the world wide gamers and hopefully they enjoy it.
    currently am learning a course in game programming which is 8months duration. Learning javascript and Unity3D.
    since am new to this field i wana know if the abov languages are good to start with and also once am good with its basics other languages and platforms should be easier to learn with. Please let me know if am making the right move as am going to quit my job and join as a Game prog[GP] very soon. M scared cuz in my country initially GP profile is paid less itseems and also it ll pay me much lesser than my current job and am scared but i still wana stick to my dream and i would be happy with my work if and only if am a GP and not anythin else. cuz i wana work on wat i lov and not to lov something that am doing atm. my gf is more scared than me tbh in this regard as i ll leave a good job and jump to this field.

    your thoughts on this might help me long way.
    many thanks in advance and really sorry abou ne grammatical flaws as m typin this from ma ofc:P

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Ravi, JavaScript and Unity 3D are both good things to learn, although most game companies that use Unity are programming their games in C# (at least in the USA). For your career change, I think you’re taking a good approach because you won’t have to take the first game job you’re offered – you already have a full-time job, so you can take your time looking for a game job that pays well. I wish you luck!

  18. Johns says:

    Hi jason,i would like to know more about the mission(level) designing field .

  19. zakir hossain says:

    hello i read the description .. I am from bangladesh. in our country there is no game industry . but i started study in MALAYSIA LIMKOKWING UNIERSITY in BSC in game technology. its all about programming . now i am confuse how could i prosper in my future life ..

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      It looks like there’s at least one game studio in Dhaka, called TapStar. Also, there are a great number of game studios in India, in case that’s an option for you. I’d recommend getting in touch with any of those studios about becoming a game programmer.

  20. Aman says:

    Hi jason,first of all that was a great article and I found pretty much of what I was looking for.
    So,I’m from india and I’m gonna complete my school life,game programming started giving interest when I started learning c++ n I decided I’ll become a game programmer.I decided I’ll do first do B.CA and then M.CA

    so my questions are
    1)Should I do M.CA after B.CA?
    2)Can I get the attention of good game companies(like ea,naughty boy)without going out of india by making small games because my financial condition isn’t that good.

    3)Does making out in gaming industry requires a lot of money?

    Thnx in advance for your answers :).

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Aman, I’m not very familiar with the Indian degree system, so I can’t recommend “yes or no” about your M.CA degree. You may be able to find a job as a game programmer after you finish your B.CA, especially if you make some small game demos as part of your school work or in your spare time. It’s not too early to get in touch with nearby game studios to find out what kind of education they require in a programming candidate.

  21. Hy Nguyen says:

    Hello. I am good in math and love coding, I have a strong passion on gaming. So I think being a game programmer fits the best for me. I want to know what is my disadvantages (?). I found out that programmers have to sit in front of computer all day, that really scares me. Any advice for me?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      No matter whether you’re a programmer, artist, or designer – making video games is a computer-based job. That means most of your work will be sitting at a computer. It’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s quite normal for people working in technology jobs. You just need to also have a good exercise regimen outside of work to stay healthy. 🙂

  22. Kushan says:

    Hi,
    Mr.Jason

    I’m a student in grade 12 studying mathematics who live in srilanka(Asian country).After my advanced level exam i hope to go university in my country and i hope to computer science.
    After what i should learn to be a gaming engineer and if i got a job in this way,after few years can i work with best game designing companies like Ubisoft,Activision…

    Thanks for your help for all persons who asked questions from u…
    Thanks!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Kushan, if you become a good programmer and get some experience making games, then yes – it is possible that you could get jobs at companies like Ubisoft and Activision after a few years. You may even be able to get hired directly out of school, if you do some game projects in school and those studios have some entry-level job openings. Good luck!

  23. Cody says:

    Hello Jason

    i appreciate the information you have provided. I’ve wanted to be a game programmer ever sence I was little. I just graduated high school in 2014.I am starting my journey as a game programmer at Dervy university. I thank you for all the helpful information you have provided. My goal is to make my own game that I have been planning and have my own company. I have one question before I go how much is math involved?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Cody, congratulations on graduating! For many game programming jobs, it will be helpful to at least be decent at geometry, trig, and 3D matrix math. You’ll be taking math classes at Devry, so even if math doesn’t come naturally to you, work hard and do your best!

      • Eddie Barragan says:

        I’m looking to be a videogame programmer for both consoles and mobile devices. I enrolled in Devry University, will this school be the right choice for my plans. please help.

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Hi Eddie, I can’t recommend one school over another. But if your courses at Devry are going to teach you how to do programming (or game programming specifically) then it should put you on a good path. This podcast on how to choose a game design school also applies to programming schools, so you might find it helpful.

  24. Michael T. says:

    Hello Jason,

    I came across your blog while doing some researches about game development and found it to be very helpful-and nice layout by the way. Your article answers the major part of my questions about game development, and I am very thankful for that.

    However, I would like to get some helps (more like advice/suggestions) from you. I have been all over the places and trying out different things (but I like to play video games and learn how it works, hence). I have learned 3D software such as Maya, 3DS Max, and Zbrush, then stopped. I also learned HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, then stopped. Then I started learning Java then stopped, and now I am learning C++ with Unreal Engine 4 for programming in game development.

    Should I keep going in the self-taught route in learning to program in game development (or just in programming in general), or should I go in a traditional route through school to learn to program? I am also enrolled in an University for Computer Science major but it will take me approximately 5 years to complete the degree as a full time student from now.

    Am I on the right path for learning C++ with UE4? Would I be better off with a CS degree in the industry, or the self-taught experiences would suffice in the industry?

    Sorry my comment with questions is kind of long.

    Thank you very much for taking your time to put some very helpful articles out there to guide us folks who need some clarifications for choosing the path in our life journey.

    Sincerely,
    Michael T.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Michael, you’ve done the right thing by learning all of those aspects of video game development. As to whether you should go to college or not, that depends on how good you’ve become at programming – if you’ve learned it well enough to get a job as a game programmer, then maybe college wouldn’t be necessary. The best way to find out is to apply for some game programming jobs and see whether you can get hired. You can do that while you also work on your CS degree.

      • Michael T. says:

        Jason,

        Thank you very much for the quick reply and suggestions regarding the questions I have. Frankly, I am not very good at one specific thing yet because I have been jumping around all over the places. One good thing that I can analyze about what I have learned from this experience so far is that it exposed me to the various aspects of game development from 3D modeling, animation, lighting, texturing etc. to game programming itself and some web programming.

        I think maybe I should finish creating a mini game from UE4 with C++ to be competent in the language, then try to apply for a game programming job and work on my CS degree from there.

        Thanks again for your suggestions!

        Michael T.

  25. Dylan H. says:

    Hi Jason,
    I want to use Game Designer as a career path and I was wondering if being a game programmer would help with that. The main thing I want to do is use JavaScript as the default program, if that is even possible.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Dylan, if you want to be a game designer, then yes – it would be helpful to learn some programming. But you don’t need to learn a lot of programming, just the basics would be enough. Any more than that, and you’ll be on the path to become a Game Programmer!

  26. Bram says:

    Hi Jason,

    I’m finishing up on my university cs bachelor, and was considering to do a university masters program in computer graphics
    (or actually visual computation). Would you say my job prospect would be decent if I pursued this path? I’ve recently started working through the opengl superbible 7th edition, and I plan to also work through some directX book, but I already know the basic math behind graphics.

    thanks!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Bram, a Master’s degree isn’t generally required for graphics programming jobs in games. As a gut-check, I looked at 12 graphics programmers in my network on LinkedIn, and only 2 of them had an MS. The rest had BS degrees. You might try applying for jobs now and see what you can get, before committing to another degree.

  27. alex says:

    high jason
    high i’m from a ruff neighborhood and when i was younger partook in all types of foolish things but i’ve changed and set my mind to a be someone in life do u think because of my background and trouble with the law when i was younger would this affect my ability to get a programming job.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Alex, many game companies will do a background check before they’ll hire you, but it may not affect your job eligibility unless you have serious convictions or a history of repeat offenses. I don’t think it’s productive to spend time worrying about it – just stay out of trouble, become a good programmer, and you’ll be able to get hired.

  28. Pradipta says:

    Hi Jason, Who has the higher average salary, Game Director (e.g. Hideo Kojima) or Technical Director?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      That’s a good question – the ranges are similar but they vary a lot depending on the size of the studio and the scope of the “director” role at the company. For example, a Game Director at a small company may be paid far less than a Technical Director at a large company. But somebody like Hideo Kojima is more than just a normal director – he’s been a big famous director of a big famous company – so he probably gets paid significantly more than others.

  29. Arch says:

    What at the reassures to make a moneymaking game out of basic engines? Like undertale?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Arch, there have been many successful games built on basic game engines. But nothing is guaranteed – most game designers make several games before they learn enough to finally make a “hit” game. Just remember, the sooner you start, the more experience you’ll get. This article on making your first video game might be helpful. I wish you luck!

  30. prasanna4711 says:

    i want to become a game programmer . IS MY DECISION IS CORRECT.iam willing but fear of opportunities .CAN THIS FIELD IS USEFUL AND VALUABLE IN INDIA

  31. Gaurav Kadian says:

    HI JASON. Your article is really helpful.
    i got admission in Game Level Design program in Sheridan college,Canada. I want to know that how is the college,program and instructors there and can i find a good earning job in gaming industry after my studies in CANADA. Basically i’m from India.Please guide.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Congratulations on getting admission to Sheridan! I don’t know that school well, but when I search on LinkedIn I can see that people who attended Sheridan went on to get jobs at places like DreamWorks, Rocket 5, and Sony, Microsoft, and Bungie. So I think you will do well if you work hard and build a great portfolio. I wish you luck!

  32. Avigya Aryal says:

    I want to be Game Programmer , Can you give me information that how long to finish it’s course and when can we start our job?? 🙂

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Avigya, most programming and game-programming degrees are Bachelor’s Degrees, which usually take 4 years. But there are also shorter programs you could look into, such as certificate courses. You can start applying for jobs as soon as you gain some game programming skills, and have a small portfolio to demonstrate your skills.

  33. Zoraiz says:

    Hi jason
    Love your article. Can you guide me I’m doing bachelors in Software engineering and which is the best coding or programming? From which we can earn more? Can we earn more by coding or game developer or software developer?
    Waiting for your reply..!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      It’s a bit confusing, but the words “coding,” “programming,” “engineering,” and “software developer” are all words that mean the same thing – somebody who writes computer code. To confuse things even more, sometimes the phrase “developer” can also apply to anybody on a team that builds software, even people who aren’t writing code.

  34. Angel says:

    So what should I take in college to get into video game programing/coding?

  35. Jowo says:

    I have for a long time now wanted to be a game programmer, but the road to get there is really hard.

    I really want to just apply for the college here in Norway where they teach it, but in order for me to apply, i have to attend and pass 1 year of norwegian highschool where it’s basicly 3 years worth of history, math, english, etc. in that one year, and that is really hard. I’m the kind of guy who almost only learns the things i’m interested in and i also have a hard time self learning so i have a hard time actually passing the year. The alternative option is for me to wait until i’m 25(i turn 22 this year) so i can apply by different means.

    So finally, here is what i want to know: Is there any official online courses that teach game programming that you know of? because i’m really tired of waiting and searching for options here in Norway.

    and if there isn’t any online courses, can you give any tips on where to start if i want to try to self learn?

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