Video Game Programmer Salary for 2019

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This article is part of the Video Game Developer Salary series. See the annual pay for all video game jobs here.

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 nerdy?) for the average person to understand.

But the truth is that anyone can learn to be a game programmer. And there’s something else 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 researched video game programming jobs, you know 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 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 around USD $44,000 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 lead teams. Also, any given game studio has several programming roles. 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’ll likely be paid.

But there’s another factor to consider. And that’s whether a given programmer’s skill set is currently considered a “premium” skill. For example, graphics programmers were in high demand ten years ago, so they were paid a lot more than other programmers. These days, server programmers are in demand. That’s why 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.

Search for Game Programmer Jobs

Many game programming jobs are available, but they have different titles depending on the country, state and game company. Try searching for job titles like “video game programmer,” “game developer,” or “game engineer.” You can also try more specific searches like “gameplay programmer,” “AI programmer,” or “combat engineer.”

READ  How to Write for Video Games
What Where

Game Programmer Salary: Details

Okay, let’s take a look at the numbers in detail. These figures draw on three sources:, Game Developer Magazine’s annual salary survey, and my own experience as programmer and 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 $120,000
Technical Director
N/A N/A $140,000

Note that there isn’t data for Lead Game Programmers or Technical Directors until they have three to six years of experience. As you may have guessed, 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. This can be more useful (and more realistic) because it gives a salary range. It also separates each job’s title from years of experience, which better reflects the way game programmer careers actually progress. You won’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 responsibility you can handle on a game project.

Video Game Programmer salary by job title

Low/year High/year
Game Programmer/Engineer1
$44,000 $108,000
Senior Programmer or Lead Programmer2
$70,000 $140,000
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. Lead Programmers usually run a programming team of three or more other programmers.

3 Technical Directors usually manage a team of programmers working on a large or important area of technology. At some studios, they may 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 generalized. Specific programmer salaries have a wide range, due to several factors that affect how much each programmer is paid. The largest influencing factors can include:

  • Company or studio size. Larger companies generally have bigger project budgets. That allows them to pay their game programmers higher salaries. For example, indicates that some game programmers at Konami and Naughty Dog are paid as much as $115,000/year. That’s 25% more than the top-range programmer salary at most other game studios.
  • Education background. The early days of the game industry saw many self-taught programmers. But nowadays, most programmer job descriptions require 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 can 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. It all depends on the needs of the game industry at the time. For instance, shows “server programmers” can be paid as high as $126,000/year. Compare that to “mobile programmers,” which average a top salary closer to $70,000/year.
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Demand for Game Programmers

The video game industry is a cyclical business. But 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 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 (a job-posting aggregator).

Note that this approach can sometimes show 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. We’re interested in the trends, not the absolute numbers.

Video game programmer/engineer/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 solving problems, then I hope these salary figures are encouraging. Programming video games for a living isn’t just an extremely fun job. 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 skills will translate extremely well into other industries. If you can program games, you can also learn 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.

*All values are in US dollars.
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215 comments on “Video Game Programmer Salary for 2019
  1. Mario Pita says:

    I’m looking at either being a writer in the gaming industry or game developer.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi, Mario. If you think you’d like either job equally well, then I’d recommend going with programming. There are very few full-time writing jobs in the industry, but there’s always demand for programmers. Unless writing is your true passion – and then, go for it!

      • Michael Tansell says:

        Great article Jason, a good read.
        It was exactly what I was looking for as I was curious to see what programmers got as an annually salary. =]

        I’m currently running through a course in game development, and when it came to coding, I never thought that it would work for me. However, once I tried it out and got past the initial (grinding) learning curve, I was surprised to discover how enjoyable it can be! The options, the flexibility, the freedom and power that you have with coding knowledge.
        There are many obstacles when coding and many problematic puzzles to work around, but when you get around those issues and find the solution to all your problems, you feel so good.

        For this I hope to continue in the field, gathering as much knowledge as I can and with luck, find a great starting place for exp in the field and growth.

        Out of interest, I was wondering how you yourself got into the industry as a game programmer? Was there much competition for the role, experience required or anything else that may have given you an edge on your portfolio?
        My plan so far was to make some mini-game examples, demonstrating my knowledge in the field as a part of my portfolio. Would you think that this would help to get in the door?

        Thanks again Jason for the great article!

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Hi Michael! I’m so glad you’re enjoying your programming classes. I think a lot of people still think that programming is too hard, or too boring, or too nerdy or something, and so they don’t try it. It’s actually pretty awesome! I encourage everybody to try programming, just to find out. Plus, even for people going into art or design, life will be easier if they know a little bit of programming.

        I got into game programming in a very roundabout way. I had already done a VERY small bit of non-game programming, just for fun. I wasn’t very good at it yet, so when I got hired at my first game company it was as a QA tester. Then I became a level designer at the same studio. I got frustrated with the poor design tools and started programming some new ones (along with one of the “real” programmers). I really liked programming, so I took a one-year programming certificate course from the University of Washington. After that, the studio hired me as a full-time junior programmer and I moved up from there.

        I think your plan of making some mini-games for your portfolio is exactly the right thing to do. When you apply for jobs, you can send your games along with the source code so they can see what they think about your coding ability. It also demonstrates that you’re passionate about game programming, and you have the ability to do good work even when you don’t have a supervisor giving you deadlines (you’re self-motivated).

        Just be sure to keep the games VERY SIMPLE. If you try to do too much, you’ll never finish. Remember that you’re not trying to impress them with how awesome your game is, you’re trying to impress them with how awesome your code is and how good you are at starting and finishing work.

        If you ever put your games online, send me a link! 🙂

      • Jacob Bergfeld says:

        Hey, recently I began looking into Full Sail for a game development degree and was hesitating because of their tuition cost and that they are located in Florida while I’m in Illinois. But after reading your articles and many of the comments and replies, I know that I’m going to go to Full Sail because it is what I need to do. So thank you for this incredible info, and I hope you don’t mind that I use some of this info for a report I’m writing. Again thank you very much and have a nice day!

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Hi Jacob, I have several friends who went to Full Sail and they loved it. So glad to hear you’re planning your future career, I wish you the best on your report.

      • master b says:

        how much can earn from a video game?im programin a video game in 3d,how much can i earn from it?

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Most people don’t make any money from their first game – it can take several tries before you learn enough to create a money-making game. So I’d recommend that you don’t focus on the money, instead focus on how much you’re learning and growing your game development skills. Have fun!

  2. Yash says:


    I want to become a Game Designer in future, but as of now i have no knowledge or experience of programming or coding. I am a absolute beginner. Where should i start with? Which language/languages should I learn first?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Yash, this is a great question. Honestly, it doesn’t matter much which programming language you start with. All programming languages use roughly the same concepts, so it’s really more important that you start learning them. Once you learn the basic game-programming concepts, it’s easy to learn other languages as needed.

      I think a good way to start off is to make a simple game using Adobe Flash. ActionScript is really similar to other languages, and you don’t need any special development hardware – just your computer.

      Start with a game design that’s SUPER simple. Don’t try to come up with a new design – your focus should be 100% on just learning to program. Re-building a classic arcade game design such as Asteroids, or Breakout (Arkanoid), would be a great lesson in game programming.

      Remember, the most important thing is that you START programming and START making a game. Have fun!

      • Harshadev HKV says:

        Dude i am also like yash.what do i have to do 1st.I am now playing games when i play games my ambition becomes more stronger.Bro can u tell me what to do 1st.Also bro i hav a question.We will get our salary on the years end?!!

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        Most programming jobs require a bachelor’s degree in a field like computer science, a related field that emphasizes computer programming, or a specialized game development degree. Salary in the game industry is usually paid once per month.

    • Zirkinator says:

      khanacademy or codecademy are the best. start with those.

  3. Tanveer says:

    How much does a video game designer make an hour?

  4. Christian says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing,
    it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

  5. Tio says:

    Hi, Im a high school freshman and I’ve been completing lots of projects about my future career. I chose being in the video game industry because I felt like it was something that I would enjoy doing as a permanent career. But anyway, what are the duties and resonsibiltities for an entry level game programmer, what should I do to be promoted to a midlevel game programmer, and what is the midlevel game programmer’s duties.

  6. bunny says:

    hI Jason I want to become a graphics programmer I have even made a small snakes game the came in old Nokia question is do graphic programmers have a scope in near future or shall I try something different I have also read your article on game testing and commented and got you answer I want to thank you for that

  7. bunny says:

    hI Jason I want to become a graphics programmer I have even made a small snakes game in java
    that came in old Nokia question is do graphic programmers have a scope in near future or shall I try something different I have also read your article on game testing and commented and got you answer I want to thank you for that

  8. Sam says:

    Hi Jason,
    This is the first article of yours I’ve read, but I will definitely be coming back for more. I have an interesting question. Game design and programming both interest me greatly, but my current university doesn’t offer courses in either really. I want to learn more and experiment with it, but I don’t want to have to transfer to an entirely different university to learn that it’s not my cup of tea. So I guess my question is: how can I start on my own? Are there online guides that can teach me the basics? Also do you have any advice for my predicament in general?


    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Sam, thanks for stopping by. There’s a whole lot you can do just on your own, to figure out whether you like it enough to pursue it. You could start by learning some programming and see if you like it, and go from there. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Codecademy for beginning coders – and it’s free, so give that a try. Enjoy!

  9. William Hipólito says:

    Hi Jason,

    I need some help. In order to become a video game developer\programmer, what route should i take? I am looking in to taking part in a software developing course next year, am i taking the right path? Another question, is maths fundamental, because I am not very good with it.

    Thank you,

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi William, good news – you are on the right path. To be a game programmer, you’ll need to start by learning the fundamentals of computer programming. Taking software development course is an excellent way to start. If you find that you like programming, then take more classes or start programming at home to get better and better at it.

      As far as math goes, you do not need to be a math whiz to be a game programmer. But the better you get at math, it will be even easier to program games. So definitely study hard in your math classes. (There are some areas of game programming that DO need hard-core math on a regular basis, such as graphics programming. But if you don’t care for math then you probably won’t pursue one of those areas!)

      Also keep in mind that it’s fairly normal to struggle in math classes. It’s really common. Just keep at it – it might be hard to believe now, but the more you practice the better you’ll get at math. You can do it!

  10. Unknown says:

    if someone was addicted to video games how would this career path affect them?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Since I’m not a psychiatrist, I definitely couldn’t provide an answer for you. But if you think that you or somebody you know is suffering from an addiction, you should talk to a parent or other counsellor to intervene as soon as possible – don’t wait!

  11. Deep says:

    Hi Jason,

    Your blogs seem to cover almost everything i wanted to know. But there are still a couple of questions(more like advice)that i wish to ask you,if you dont mind answering them. I am currently on the verge of graduating from a college in India with an UG degree in IT,and wish to pursue a career as a game programmer. I have considered taking up a course in MSc Games Programming in the UK. I have no intention of staying close to home and i finally want to work in a country/place where there will be a lot of opportunities for my career and as you might know,India is not by far the country you want to be in if you want to be successful in this industry.

    I know that working as a QA tester as a fresher is the best thing i could do if i do not get a job as a programmer right away, and i would have been most happy to work for it, but as i am from India,i will need a skilled job with a salary that will allow me to apply for a Tier 2 Work Visa after my studies are completed, and as far as i know,QA testing jobs will not pay me enough to be eligible for it.

    Now,my questions:

    1) Is it wiser to work for some months or even a year as a QA tester in India,gain some work experience and then apply for the course as it will give me a better chance of getting a job there after my MSc, or should i just go ahead and enrol right away and hope for a job that employs me as a fresher without any work experience?
    2) If i do work for some time before taking up the course, will the experience as a QA tester be of any value to employers since the job that i finally want to be in is as a game programmer or will it be a waste of time?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Deep, I don’t know what the UK job market is like right now. But I do know that UK companies are very accustomed to hiring staff from overseas, so I think you should be able to get a job there without much problem.

      Any experience that you get as a QA tester will likely help you in your job search for programming positions, especially if you’re doing QA for video games – but only for the first year or so. Anything longer that about 1 year spent as a QA tester will not further increase your chances in a programming job.

      I think that you should enroll for university right away, and at the same time start looking for UK jobs. You should try for programming internships first, and then QA jobs if there are no programming jobs available for you.

  12. Drew C says:

    So, I’m a high-schooler hoping to work in the entertainment industry after college. I have a couple questions:

    1. How does AI programming compare to other positions in the gaming industry?
    2. Is there a difference in the success of employees who attend a general university vs. those who go to an entertainment-specific one like Full Sail University?

    I hope to eventually become a Project Lead or a Technical Lead, to put things in context. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Drew. AI programming is a good job if it’s what you like and you’re good at. Just understand that very few studios need a full-time AI programmer, so you’ll probably be programming a lot of other things besides AI. So be sure to learn other areas of game programming too.

      In the short term, if you go to a game university then it may help you get a game industry job faster. That’s because you’ll have game-specific experience and you’ll also have some game demos for your portfolio. But in the long term, I’ve never seen evidence that people going to game universities do any better/worse in their careers than people going to non-game universities.

      Don’t worry about being a lead right now – just focus on building your programming skills. Once you have a job for a few years, you’ll have the opportunity to become a lead if you’re still interested and your managers think you would be good at it. But many programmers have long, productive careers without ever leading a team!

  13. Mustafa C. says:

    Hi, I’m honestly not sure what to become in life, as I’m only in grade 9. I want to have a good salary while doing something that is enjoyable. I am not necessarily a programming fanatic, but it seems like something that is fun to do. What I’m worried about, is whether it is risky to pursue programming. I excel in math and science, and for that I can go for an engineer, but I think programming is quite neat. I have not begun any basic steps as a programmer. Basically what I’m saying is, I don’t want to pursue it and not find myself in a decent, well paying, position. What can you advise me to do and to finally get my head straight in what I want to become?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Mustafa. If you enjoy programming, then it is a very good career. It pays well, and there is always a high demand for programmers and many job openings. If you go to school to be a programmer then you can use your skills to get a variety of jobs: game programmer, Web programmer, app programmer, computer software programmer, etc. As long as you study hard and become a good programmer, it will be a great career path.

      • rupali says:

        i have completed polytechnic in IT
        can i become a good game programmer

      • Jason W. Bay says:

        If you learned some basic programming in your IT courses, then the next step might be to try programming a small game. It takes time and work to become a good game programmer, so the sooner you start the sooner you’ll get there!

  14. Jacob.W says:

    Hey Jason. I’m about to begin an Advanced Diploma of professional game development and was wondering how good the chances of finding a high paying job would be after I have completed the two year course.

    Do you think that having an Advanced diploma under my belt with a strong sense of determination would be enough to get me a high paying job?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Yes, getting a professional game development diploma will help your chances because you’ll have an advantage over other candidates that don’t have a degree. But you’ll likely start out on the low end of the pay scale. You’ll get raises and make more money as you gain experience with the company.

  15. Mary says:

    Hello Jason! First of all, I would like to congratulate you for the article. It’s awesome! Next, I would like to ask you a few questions because I am a bit confused in the topic. See, I am in my last year of high school and I am interested in the video game industry.

    1. I’d like to know what are the differences between game programming and game design.

    2. In the case that I am equally interested in both, which one is better? which would you recommend that I study or work with?

    3. What career should I take? Computer engineering or a general bachelor of computer science or should I go directly to a degree in gaming stuff (for example: BSc in Game Development & Simulation Programming, BSc in visual and game programming)?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      These are great questions, Mary.

      1. Programming and Design are are very different career paths. If you don’t know the difference yet, you should do some more research to see whether one or the other seems more suited for you. You can find a list of articles and advice about these careers here:

      2. If you’re interested in both equally after doing more research, you should keep in mind that programmers generally are paid more, and their skill set is more transferrable into other industries.

      3. If you’re interested in programming, and if you try it out and find you really like it, then I think a computer science degree would be the best path. If you find you prefer game design, then I’d recommend a more game-specific degree.

      I hope that’s helpful. Time to do some more research! 🙂

  16. Chris Q says:

    Hi, im currently attending a cc and im planning to transfer to a UC and receive a degree in computer science.

    1)I am really interested into game programming, and i was wondering if im choosing the right path for it.

    I also started using codecademy in were u stated it in a previous comment, which has been a real help, and i wanted to say thank u for that.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      I’m glad to hear that Codecademy has been helpful for you, Chris. It’s a great site for learning programming.

      If you’re interested in game programming, then getting a degree in computer science is an excellent path. And I often recommend that people take their first 2 years (AA degree) at a community college, since it’s a much less expensive way to do your prerequisite classes before transferring to a 4-year school.

      It sounds like you’re working hard and on the right path!

  17. Balaji says:

    First,thanks for your blog. Found very useful. I am nearing 40. Interested in game programming. What advice can u give me? Do age is a barrier?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Balaji – no, age is not a barrier. The game industry used to be a very “young” industry full of twenty-somethings, but now it has matured and there are many people around 40 years or older.

      The best approach to learning game programming, is to take a game programming courses (either at a school or online) and then make one or two very small games. From there, you’ll start to build a portfolio of work to put on a resume as you apply for programming jobs. Best of luck!

  18. Tynecia Hundley says:

    Hi I enjoyed reading your article and it gave me a lot of information. I am thinking of going back to school to get another degree. I already have a degree in Scriptwriting and that is a hard field to get into. I was thinking of going back for a video game developer and also video game storytelling. I love video games and have played them since I was 7 years old. I also am really good with computers and math and am quite confident that I will pick this skill up pretty easily. I took a few classes that were like intro to computer and used to play around on computers with html coding for a small moment of time back in my late teens and early 20’s and I was able to pick it up pretty good and kind of enjoyed it. I am not sure if the job market for that is any better than being a scriptwriter.

    My whole purpose of going back to school is to find something that I will be able to get a job in after graduation. Being a single mom it is very important for me to put money aside for rainy days and I want one job that pays enough so I can take care of me and my daughter and still have money left over to save up for my other passion which is writing and shooting my own short films.

    My question is this a field that I can get a job in after graduation pretty quickly?

    Also what exactly do video game programmers do and are there other video game jobs that are in the video game industry that are just as good when it comes to the salary?

    Also do you know of any good online schools that I can get this degree in?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Tynecia, good questions. If you’re good at math and computers then video game programming might be a good career for you. It pays very well – usually the highest of any job on a game development team.

      If you already have a degree, then one strategy you could try is to take a 1- or 2-year certificate course in game programming. That should be enough to get you up-to-speed, and help you build a small portfolio to show employers. You might be able to find an entry-level game programming job at that point.

      It’s my policy to not recommend any particular course (since I haven’t tried them all!) but you should do your research to make sure that people graduating from the course are able to get jobs in games. LinkedIn might help with that research. Also, you should check to see if your local community college offers any game programming courses, since many of them do offer game-related certificates.

      Good luck. You can do this!

  19. Aayush says:


    Great article first of all. My question is though what do you really think is the best bachelors degree course to get for getting a job as a game programer? Computer Science or Game programming?

    I have been looking at game programming schools in Sweden as I live there but the courses are taught in Swedish and I’m not that good in Swedish.

    So I started looking at online degree courses provided by few universities in the US such as Devry University and UAT. Do you think getting a bachelor degree in game programming online from one of these types of university would be a good decision?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      I think that any program could be helpful, as long as it teaches you game programming and helps you build a portfolio of game work to show employers after you graduate. If you go with a Computer Science degree, it will apply to other industries besides just video games; whereas a Game Programming degree won’t apply to as many other industries, but will teach you more game-specifics. You’ll need to weigh the trade-offs for you and your future goals.

  20. Akash Shahriar says:

    I’m having my BSc in computer games development at Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation. Can you give any idea of the salary that I might get after graduation?
    Thank you.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Akash, I haven’t worked with Malaysian programmers so I do not know about their salaries. A quick search on Google seems to indicate that Malaysian IT salaries are about 25% of USA equivalents (!!) but I did not research it very much to arrive at that number. A little more googling should get you a better answer.

  21. jeet says:

    Nice article. I work as a game programmer,and Now I have better insights of industry I am working in.
    Looking back in the past from future, this is the only decision that I am not going to regret about.I don’t just work for money, For me, programming is my life.
    I like to code, every time i see any structure or pattern I think of it in terms of code, how i can program it’s logic.
    As a game programmer, simulating the environment,and come up with the logic is really fun.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      I totally agree, Jeet – game programming is super fun. I have good memories of the problems I solved as a game programmer, and of all the games that my team shipped. I hope you continue to enjoy your career making games for many years!

  22. TheAsker says:

    Jason, I have a question what college should go to, to study video game programming this is like a dream of mine and I dont want to drop it and what would need to study to get in a big developing team, what are the requirements?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      I don’t recommend certain colleges, but to become a video game programmer it would be best to get a college degree if possible. Many game programmers get a degree in Computer Science at a standard university, or a comp sci degree with emphasis in video games at a specialized game degree at a video game university. But in general, you’ll want to focus on computer programming, math, and maybe some physics and graphics if possible.

  23. Brandon Swerer says:

    Hi, I am a high school senior interested in becoming a video game programmer. I was wondering if beside any of these colleges it suggest would be could like a regular university because my dad believes these aren’t actual school and wants me to for example go to a college like OU or OSU or a college like that but ive noticed that they have degrees in computer science would that be ok and then ask if u could specialize in like programming.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Brandon, if your dad wants you to go to a traditional university, then I think you should consider that – especially if he’ll be paying your tuition. 😉 Many programmers in the game industry have Computer Science degrees, so yes that’s an excellent way to learn about computer programming. It will set you up well for a job as a game programmer.

  24. Feranando says:

    Hello Jason. I am a 13 year old teenager and well i was like looking for what job should i get. Then I looked at video game jobs and it looked really interesting. So I really liked the job of a video game programmer. But how many years do I have to study and what should I study? What are some good colleges? And like what is the percentage that I would have a video game programmer job? And like if they were to accept me How much money would I make a year? And what do u work in ? The last thing would i be able to make my own vide game? like not for the company but like gather a couple of ppl and then make a video game and get $$$$ ? Thanks for the answer! And sorry for the bother in all these questions… Hope you answer soon!

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Lots of questions, Fernando – I don’t have time to answer them all, but I can say that to be a video game programmer it’s best to get a computer science degree or a related degree that contains a lot of computer programming. Then once you get a job and spend a few years learning how to make games, you could probably build a small game on your own with some friends, if you wanted to.

  25. yuvraj says:

    After 12th class what should I do to become a programmer and do games like Crysis 3. And watch dogs

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      It may take a few years of on-the-job experience before you can work on big AAA games like Crysis 3. You might need to start out at a smaller and less glamorous studio until your programming skills really start to shine.

  26. Arpit Yadav says:

    Hi everyone i just wanted to ask that…I have a passion for video games and all but my maths is a little weak so what do i have to do..Either i improve it or i can let it be weak.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Arpit, you don’t have to be a math wizard to be a game programmer. But you must understand and work with the basics of trigonometry and 3D math like matrix math. Anybody can learn math – you just have to keep working at it. You can do it!

  27. Prafull says:

    Hey jason!!! Superb article
    Just a few questions….
    I m in high school in india nd want to b a game programmer.I hav decided to get a degree of comp. sci. Does the institute frm which u get the degree concerns??

    After degree how much time do u hav to work as a game tester??

    Nd the last question can u roughly tell the salary of a game programmer in india??
    thank u for ur time..

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Prafull, the institute of your degree may matter somewhat, it depends on the company. The quality of IT education in India varies considerably, so do your research and go to a school that has a good reputation. After you get your degree, you may not have to work as a tester – you can probably get a job directly as a junior game programmer. I’m not sure about India salaries, they used to be about 1/3rd the salaries of USA listed in this article; but they were getting higher each year.

  28. Gabe says:

    Hi Jason this is Gabe first off I think you did a very good job with this article. I am a softmore in high school and will be graduating soon. I LOVE technology in general and have spent quite a bit of time learning how it works on my own personal time. I think its kinda funny you mentioned because that is one of the sites I have been learning from. So far I have studied html csl and python programming languages and I think they are kinda fun I would like to presue a career in gaming software development when I am older. As of now however I am at a loss. Any advice would be great thanks.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Gabe. If you’re already taking coding classes online, then I think you’re doing exactly the right thing. When you graduate, you could research which colleges or universities might have game development programs, or at least Computer Science with an emphasis on games. You might also find some helpful info in my e-book on how to prepare for a career in games.

  29. Farhan says:

    Hi Jason, you wrote an awesome article that answered many of my questions!! However I still have some questions….

    I am from Bangladesh, currently enrolled in BSc program in computer science. After completing my degree, I’d like to work in game studios in USA as game programmer since there are many opportunities over there. My primary choice is to work as graphics programmer which is I am currently learning. Also I have worked in Unity game engine over a year.

    So my question is-

    1. Do I need job experience in this field before applying on overseas job? If I have portfolio of my work, is it sufficient enough to get a job in US?

    2. As I mentioned earlier, I have some experiences in Unity game engine. Will it help me to get a job in US? For example, if I’d like stick with this game engine for some time, will it help me to get a job without professional job experiences?

    I am having some trouble to take a decision what to do. So any suggestion will help me a lot.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Farhan, thank you for the questions. Here are my thoughts for you:
      1. If you have experience in the field, then yes it should be easier to get a job overseas. Employers in the US are sometimes hesitant to relocate employees unless they’re sure that it will be a good fit, so they may not want to take a chance on an entry-level applicant from overseas.
      2. There are many game studios in the US that use the Unity 3D game engine, so your experience would help when applying to those companies. I believe it would help for all other companies as well, as many game engines have similar types of tools.

      I hope that helps!

  30. jayant says:

    Hi!! Jason .
    A great article really delited to read . I want to ask that are programming jobs in the industry easy to find in a good company for eg. Gta or EA

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Thanks, Jayant. Usually you’ll need to have a lot of experience to work at the large, well-known companies. Most developers start working at smaller studios until they build their skills. Luckily, there are dozens of game studios, and it’s fun to build games even if it’s not a big AAA game like GTA. (I had fun programming even on small games like Lord of the Rings on the GameBoy Advance!)

  31. Miguel Castro says:

    You wouldn’t happen to know what is the return on investment for video game programming would you?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Miguel, I guess that depends on where you to to college, since there’s a large range of tuition depending on which school you attend. But you could calculate ROI if you do your research to find out how much a given school costs, and then estimate how much you’d make as a game programmer (from this article). For a simple ROI, take the amount of salary you’d make over your career, and divide that by your tuition cost.

  32. Zirkinator says:

    Is there a place you reccomend for learning code? I’ve wanted to be a game programmer since i was 7! I am already a little experienced, but i would like to know more. Your website was very helpful for my career research paper!

  33. Escorian says:

    Hi I just wanted to thank you for this article.

    I am going to start college in December for Electronic game programming and was wondering how much the salary would be and this article answered my question perfectly.

    I would like to ask though what games you have worked on? Just a bit curious since I enjoy playing games a lot.

  34. Mark O Connor says:

    Hi just read this article now. I’m really interested in game developing/programming. I’m 16 and I have little knowledge of where to start ? Could you help me out ? Also I live in Ireland would it better for me to go to America to do a course in college ?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Mark, I don’t think you’d need to go to college in America. I’m not sure what hiring managers are looking for in Ireland, but you could find out by looking through the job postings from Ireland-based game companies. You can find a list of Irish game studios at For each one, check their job listings, and see what they want for qualifications. You could even try emailing a few and ask them – you’d probably get some good advice.

  35. kaustubh sharma says:

    Hi sir,
    i am from india i want to become a video game developer.what programing language i should learn firs i am in 11th class this time and my another question is i can learn the video game programing language in india or i should come to another country to learn this and become a video game developer thanks sir…..

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Kaustubh, it doesn’t really matter which programming language you learn first. Once you learn a language, you can learn others without much trouble. Most video games are written in C++ or C#, so if you have the chance to learn one of those then it would be good. You would not need to leave India to learn, there are good universities in India and there are many game companies as well.

  36. Anthony Puleo says:

    Wow, thanks Jason! This is a great resource. I’ll likely be returning to this website to look at other articles (and you may see a question or two from me in the future). Great job, and thank you.

  37. Jim Russell says:

    My son is a freshman at a university with one of the Top 10 video game programming curriculums in the US according to Princeton Review Magazine. He says that he wants to drop out and self-teach himself to be a video game programer. I totally disagree with dropping out of college. What do you think?

  38. Mandaar says:

    hii Jason sir….I am a student of FY Bcom
    my dream is to make very high graphics games like assassin creed I m mad about this game so and I am deeply interested in this but Sir Jason plzz tell me how can I be a game creator/ designer what i have to do after Bcom my dream is to become a best game designer……..

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Mandaar, it’s great to “dream big” but most of the time you’ll have to start small. Start by learning some design fundamentals, and then try your hand at making a small game and start to build your portfolio. Maybe take some online game design courses. You have to learn how to walk before you learn how to dive off a church steeple and assassinate a bad guy.

  39. Mark O Connor says:

    Hi it’s me again. I was putting more thought to it and looking around Ubisofts graduate program. And I’m wondering in gaming which is the highest paying job. And how much expierence. And what would I have to study in college to get on my way to this job ? Thanks you’re a big help

  40. Tyler says:


    I’m wanting to be a programmer. I’m thinking more of going into coding. Bc I cannot draw. But I have lots of great ideas for games and am really interested into going to school for it. But my concern is that I know it’s a tough course to take from what I have heard. But what I want to know is what I’d a school that’s worth going to neAR Chattanooga tn. And if too far is it worth doing them online? One more question. Is there a huge price difference in online and in school classes?

    • Tyler says:

      Sorry about typos. What school is near me that’s worth going to. I have only looked at the art institute of Atlanta but I need to keep my job in order to pay for classes. Unless I can start an apprenticeship

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Tyler, I haven’t done the research to compare prices of online/offline schools – I think you should do some research to find out prices, and also do the research to compare schools near you. This is your future we’re talking about, so it’s worth spending several hours until you figure out which school is good for you. There are some tips on how to compare game schools here.

  41. Gerardo says:


    I just graduated in computer science and realized that I’m really into making games. I don’t really have experience in game development except for some openGl, making games in HTML5 using the canvas and I just started learning Unity on my own. What do you recommend for searching a job in the gaming industry? Should I just start to send applications or learn more about game development on my own and work in some other job in the mean time.

    Is almost Christmas so merry Christmas and thanks for any help.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Gerardo, since you’ve graduated with a degree in computer science then I think you could start applying to game jobs now. Look for entry-level programming jobs, sometimes called Junior Programmer or Associate Programmer. Try to collect your OpenGL, HTML5 and Unity work into once place as a sort of portfolio so you can show potential employers what you’ve been working on. Best of luck!

  42. Alejandro says:

    I am only a freshman which means I still got some time to be sure on what I want to be, but I have been recently thinking of becoming a video game developer. The problem is I don’t know we’re to start and the things I have to learn with on my own are very limited, so if there’s any web site that can teach me so I at least learn the basics or what people that could hire me in the future are expecting that would be great.

  43. D4AMNAT1ON says:

    Hi Jason, nice article! Just wondering what programming language is used in game development.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 The most commonly-used programming language for games is probably C++. But C# is gaining ground, thanks to the popularity of Unity 3D game engine, and there are lots of others like Java, Objective-C, or even ActionScript. If you focus on learning just one of the languages (I’d recommend C++), you’ll be able to learn the other ones easily enough when necessary.

  44. NotYourNormalGuy says:

    Good day sir,

    I just recently stumbled upon this website and I have a question. I am currently in a Game Design and Development course (currently on the first term of my third year in this course), and I must admit, I really suck at programming (We use Unity, C# and I admit, I get low grades due to extreme difficulty) AND arts (only good in making vectors using Adobe Illustrator, and not Photoshop)… though I really do like writing/ speaking and I do believe that writing and communication is well within my set of skills. Do you think I can still manage to get into the video game industry if those are only my skills? I’ve been hearing a lot of people saying that only artists and programmers matter… so I often feel intimidated and at times, I have these thoughts of shifting to another course. Plus, it seems that a lot of subjects in our course’s flowchart only focus on programming and arts, which makes me feel unsure if I could utilize my skills to the fullest. 🙁

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      I think a lot of schools focus on programming and art because they’re easier to teach (and easier to grade) than some other disciplines like design or production. Since you like writing and speaking, then maybe a career in design or production will end up being a better fit for you. But even if you don’t end up being a programmer or an artist, you’re still going to learn a ton about the game industry and game development by finishing your degree. And being able to do some programming and some art (even if you’re not great at it) will help a lot, especially as a designer.

  45. Vishal Kadiyala says:

    Hello jason! A pretty good article.

    I am one of those guys who is fascinated towards gaming.I would like to pursue my career in programming(Game industry).

    I am basically a graduate of Mechanical Engg. I got placed in a couple of software companies, I would like to shift my career in gaming because i’m passionate about making high end games. Does working for a couple of years helps me getting into a gaming company. I would like you to suggest me the path i should follow to get a job in gaming industry. I’m good in java. what are the additional steps i need to take being a mechanical graduate :/ Please help me out.
    Thank you very much.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Vishal, if you already know how to program software and have some professional experience then it’s an excellent start. The next step for moving into games would be to make some game-related programming demos that you can show to employers when you apply for jobs in games. For an example, check out my article on this graphics programming portfolio.

  46. Siddhant Bhati says:

    Hello Sir

    I am very impressed by your blog and I really want to make a career in Game Development specifically Game Programming. Actually I am doing my Btech in computer science right now but I want to drop a year and go for Game Development courses. Is it a good idea? Game Development courses are usually of 2 or 3 years long and this would even save my year. Sir, most of the top universities for Game development are in USA but USA is quite expensive so I am looking for Singapore to do game development as Singapore is brilliant for IT. Please suggest me some good universities outside USA for game development from where I can make AAA games with my work experience.

  47. Rahul says:

    Hi Jason,

    Very nice article you have here. I have a couple questions about joining this industry. I am a junior in high school and know the basics to Visual Basic. I am learning JAVA currently. I desire to be a video game programmer but am not limiting myself to be one. I would also like to program other things if video game programming doesn’t work out for me. Now for the questions,

    1) I live in Iowa and most likely will go to Iowa State University for college. Can you tell me what the right path(what the right classes) to enroll in? I want to enroll in Computer Science but I don’t know if this is an undergrad, bachelors, or majors thing. I would love your help.

    2) What other good high paying jobs are there similar to video game programmer?

    3) What are good starting companies that I can apply for a job in ?

    Thank you and I hope you reply.


    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Rahul, great questions.

      1) Computer Science is a good degree choice for programming games or anything else. Most people would start off by getting a Bachelor’s.
      2) A couple of industries similar to game programming are “serious gaming” companies, and educational/training simulation companies. Both of those industries make software that are like games (and often have higher salaries for programmers).
      3) There are hundreds of game companies. When you’re just starting out, it’s not as important which one you work for – just try to work someplace that has some senior programmers that can mentor you and help you grow your skills.

      It’s great that you’re getting a formal education, it will pay off in your career!

  48. matthew ghinea says:

    Well its kind of hard for me I’m 15 and I’m learning the basics.

  49. Tanvir says:

    I have a question for Mr Jason W Bay, “which countries have the most job demand for game developer/designer/programmer”? Thanks.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Tanvir, this is a great question. To answer it for you, I looked at the data for game development studios on, pasted it into Excel, and made a pivot table. That’s a fancy way of saying that I made a count of the number of game development studios in each country. My theory is that the countries with more game dev studios are likely to have more demand for developers.

      What the data shows, is that the countries with the most game development studios are:

      1. United States (626)
      2. England (161)
      3. Canada (137)
      4. Germany (84)
      5. Japan (82)

      There are many other countries that have game development studios, but those countries appear to have the most. I hope that’s helpful!

  50. Spencer Gerald says:

    Hi Jason,

    This is a great article! It had a lot of hard-to-find information I’d been looking for. I’ve had my heart set on becoming a game programmer for quite some time now. I’m currently a senior in high school and it’s the time of the year where I have to decide on a college. Right now I have two choices for colleges:

    1. A state school with a generic, but high-ranked CS program. This school will keep me close to home and won’t put me in debt.


    2. A private school with a great game programming program, but that will leave me $100,000+ in debt.

    My question is, which do you think the better option is? The school that will allow me to be financially secure or the school that will allow me to specialize in game programming?


    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Spencer, I’m glad you’re thinking it through now. I’d recommend going to the local CS program since it won’t put you in (as much?) debt, and you’ll learn to code either way. While you’re doing that program, you can try to focus on video games for your homework projects; if that’s not allowed, then you could work on a small game project outside of school. The important thing is 1) to become a strong programmer, and 2) then build some small video game projects so you’ll have a little portfolio when you start applying for game jobs after school. You can do it – good luck!

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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

  54. 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.

  55. 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?


    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Michael, there are a ton of game studios in Ontario. Check out the list at, 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.

  56. 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, 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.

  57. 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

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. RAHUL KUMAR SAH says:

    Hello sir,I am Rahul kumar 18 year old from question is that some video games like NSF ,counter strike, 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 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.

  63. 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.

  64. yash says:

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

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Yes! You might have a hard time getting hired at a game studio without some game-specific experience, though. So go ahead and start applying to studios, but also start building your game dev portfolio by making some small game demos to show off. This podcast about becoming a game developer isn’t directly applicable but should help you get started.

  65. Johns says:

    Hi jason,im from from south 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.

  66. Biswa says:

    I’m bsc in physics and im planning to get admitted to a game institute here in 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!

  67. 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!

  68. Johns says:

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

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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. 🙂

  72. Kushan says:


    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…

    • 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!

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

    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:


        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.

  75. 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!

  76. 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.


    • 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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!

  80. 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

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Prasanna, there are a lot of video game studios in India, and they employ many game programmers. As a safety measure, if you learn programming but can’t find a game programming job right away after graduating, there are a huge number of software programming jobs all over India, so I think programming would be a reasonable choice.

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. Angel says:

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

  85. 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?

  86. Christian says:

    Hi Jason

    I have learnt some Python and began with other programming languages like JavaScript

    I would like to go to Sail University.
    What do you think about the university.Is it good 4 game Development

  87. Leo Hyeeen says:

    are all of these values in USD? i live in canada so i was curious if i should convert all of the values to canadian

  88. Joshua Xu says:

    Hi Jason!

    Thanks for your article. It is really helpful!

    I’m a bachelor student in Information Engineering and Media. I made some games with my friends in my free time, and I mainly do the game art (and some programming) for those games. Will these art skills be helpful if I want to find job in game programming, or any other game related jobs?

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Unless you take a job as a game programmer with a very small team, you won’t be doing any art. There’s still value in the experience because it will help you understand the processes/tools/needs of game artists, making you a more effective game programmer. But if your end goal is to get a full-time programming job, I would recommend focusing more on programming from now on, and building your programming portfolio instead of your art portfolio.

  89. Ripley Johnathan says:

    Hello Jason!
    I have always dreamed of creating my own games. I recently started becoming interested in it as my future career. For someone with no knowledge of programming and game engines yet, how can I start to learn game development by myself? Game colleges are kind of expensive for me so I hoped I could try to learn how to develop games by myself via the net’s free guides and lessons.

  90. Aman Lesnar says:

    Hi Jason I play games too much game lives in my body it is the only thing that I can do for 24×7 my interest is in becoming game developer so I want to ask what should I study which degree is required I have listen some where that I have to study java for becoming game developer so which book I should buy I am in class 10 and I am indian

  91. Brennan Zacharias says:

    Hi my name is Brennan Zacharias i am 13 and am interested in being a graphics designer and as a plus maybe learning programming, i have been taking beginner courses online and i was wanting to know if it is possible to make a complex game like warframe or fallout at my age? Just email me your response thank you

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Brennan, I’m so glad you’re starting to think about your future career at age 13! You’re already ahead of most of your peers. As for making a game like Warframe or Fallout, a single person simply can not make a game of that scale — they were made by hundreds of game developers, working hard for several years, and costing tens of millions of dollars. If your goal is to learn game development, I’d recommend learning how to use some of the free game development tools, and making a very small “arcade” style game. You’ll learn a lot — and you’ll find that it takes a lot more time and work than you might first expect. Have fun!

  92. Ateeb Ansari says:

    Hi sir I am an 12 grade student who doesn’t know any thing about coding but is really interested in games development and programing what should be my first step please guide me

  93. LFG says:

    @Jason – we’ve cleaned up public game industry salaries reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (requirement for H1-B Visa hires). I’m happy to run custom reports, but otherwise available here:

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi LFG, this is a clever way to get gamedev salary information, I’m glad to share it with my readers. Thank you for doing the work to help the game dev community!

  94. Kanye says:

    I am 12 turning 13and we got this for homework but I am a big fan well I like ur book and yes I read it but I would love if you could reply to me

  95. yashaswi says:

    hi jason. game industry has not much scope in our country ,india. so can u tell me what should i do to get placed in good companies in japan or us

  96. Charlie says:

    I want to be a game programmer in future and also select it as a career for me and want to work for ubisoft or Santa Monica that’s my dream I am a beginner in this so please help me for first step plsss.

  97. Dana Nova says:

    Hello, Jason. Another two years and I will be in College. I live in Israel. We need to serve 3 years of army here. Should I serve my army first? and then go to College? Or should I do College first? Also what do I need to learn in order to become a Programmer such as a Software Programmer or to become a good Game Programmer in big companies? I want to start learning from now on already till I finish my study so I can have more knowledge about programming for my job interviews.

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Dana! I don’t know the Israeli education system, so I can’t offer advice on whether to do army or college first — I recommend that you ask advice from successful Israelis in your life, ask them what they did and what they would recommend for you. For programming, any programming or computer science degree/courses will be good preparation to work as a game programmer. Once you start learning programming, you can download free game engines to start learning how your new skills can be applied to games.

  98. udit says:

    sir i’m interested in server games and your article helps me alot . I want to graduate in game developing courses …i’m currently studing in 12th in India and want to shift to canada so can you please suggest me some good colleges for graduation and what kind of requirements do i need to apply in colleges for game developing courses.