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How to Become a Video Game Developer

Revised: March 22, 2024

Today, playing games is more than just a teenager's hobby — it's a lifestyle. As a result, the field of video game development and design has taken off. According to Statista, the worldwide gaming market is worth more than $347 billion, with the mobile gaming market making the gaming industry even more influential than it was before. If you are passionate about playing games and have a few creative ideas, you may want to consider a career as a video game developer.

What Does a Video Game Developer Do? 

A video game developer is a professional who takes a game designer's concept and transforms it into a playable game that users can enjoy. According to Coursera, video game developers are often responsible for:

  • Developing visuals for the game.
  • Incorporating artificial intelligence into the game.
  • Designing a user interface.
  • Creating the game logic.

These are some of the primary tasks and responsibilities of a video game developer:

Programming and Coding

Game developers rely on programming and coding languages to build the virtual worlds that their players will enjoy. Some top programming and coding languages for video game developers include Python, C++, and C#.

Designing and Storytelling

Video game developers are often responsible for bringing a game design idea to life, which means they work tirelessly to create a virtual world and develop a storyline that players can immerse themselves in. From lighthearted, family-friendly video games to advanced games designed for the most avid gamers, storyline development is a critical component. It has a direct impact on the overall success of a game.

Graphics and Animations

Video game developers often work to design the graphics and animations built into the game. Advancing technology has allowed game developers to create realistic and lifelike characters, adding to the immersive nature of today's modern video games.

Collaborating With Other Teams

Game developers often have to collaborate with other teams to ensure that every detail has been considered and that the game development is moving forward cohesively.

Testing and Debugging Game Elements

As video game development reaches its final stages, it becomes crucial for the developers to test the game thoroughly and identify any bugs. Testing and debugging are significant components of the game development process, as players do not want to encounter any frustrating glitches during their initial gameplay.

Key Skills for a Video Game Developer

Game developers must work to hone a variety of technical skills to succeed in this dynamic field. According to Indeed, some game developers' most critical technical skills include animation, programming, and coding. However, game developers also must focus on honing soft skills, such as:


Game development is a collaborative industry, so effectively communicating is essential to your overall success. Clear and concise communication will allow you to pull together the vision for the game, meet deadlines, and create a memorable gaming experience for the end user.


Game developers have freedom and flexibility when bringing a game design to life, and they are constantly working to develop the hottest new game. As a result, creativity plays a central role in their daily lives on the job.


Unexpected issues are the norm in the game development and design industry, so maneuvering through problems and developing creative solutions is essential.

Video Game Developer Job Outlook

positive job outlook. The BLS predicts that there will be a 16 percent job growth rate in this field, with more than 34,700 jobs being created by 2032.

Salary Expectations in Game Development

Due to the in-demand nature of these types of technical positions, you can expect a higher-than-average salary when compared to other entry-level jobs. These are some salary expectations within game development, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Educational Pathways for a Video Game Developer

While video game developers can enter the industry by perfecting their programming and honing skills, candidates with a bachelor's degree in game development may have a competitive advantage. A bachelor's degree in game development provides advanced insight into the game development industry and the methodologies used to bring a game to life.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Video Game Developer

If you are wondering how to become a game developer, you can follow this step-by-step guide:

1. Analyzing Video Games to Understand Their Creation

One of the first steps to becoming a world-class game developer is to play more games. By becoming an avid and committed gamer, you will better understand the different genres and techniques used to bring those storylines to life in an engaging and fun way.

2. Earning the Necessary Degrees and Certifications

In addition to having a passion for gaming, you should pursue a bachelor's degree in game development. By earning your undergraduate degree, you will develop a more advanced understanding of the industry and perfect the skills needed to enter the job market.

3. Acquiring Proficiency in Computer Languages

Becoming fluent in computer and programming languages will give you the technical skills needed to launch your career in game development. The best languages for game developers to focus on include Python, C++, C#, and Java.

4. Developing Strong Mathematical and Physics Skills

Computer science and programming are rooted in the foundation of mathematical concepts and physics principles. You will want an advanced understanding of math and physics to create lifelike virtual worlds.

5. Learning Effective Storytelling Strategies

In many ways, gaming is no different than reading a book. You are becoming immersed in a new and exciting world, and there needs to be a set of characters, an inciting incident, a challenge to overcome, and a possible solution. Studying and analyzing the best game development storytelling strategies can make you a more creative and intuitive video game developer.

6. Gaining Relevant Experience in the Field

In addition to earning a degree in game development, you also will want to pursue professional opportunities that allow you to gain practical experience. Internship programs and mentorship opportunities may help you gain the knowledge to secure an entry-level game development position.

7. Building Your Portfolio as a Game Developer

As you tinker with game designs and develop your concepts, begin building a portfolio showcasing your strengths and skill set. Your portfolio should be reflective of your gaming ideas and your technical prowess.

8. Staying Updated With Game Development Trends

Rapidly advancing technology ensures that new game development trends are always on the horizon. By staying abreast of the latest trends and industry shifts, you can prepare accordingly and develop a future-forward skill set that ensures you remain relevant and competitive. Most industry insiders predict that artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality will dominate the game development industry in the future.

Is Game Development the Right Career for You?

If you have always wanted to know how to make video games, you may want to consider the online Bachelor of Science in Game Development degree program at Champlain College Online. This skills-based degree program focuses on the leading game development principles and methodologies, allowing students to become proficient in coding and game design. Request more information about the CCO game development bachelor's degree program today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Job Outlook for a Video Game Developer?

The overall job outlook is positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipating a job growth rate of 16 percent between 2022 and 2023.

How Much Does a Video Game Developer Make?

The salary for a video game developer may vary based on their employer and overall experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it can range anywhere from $80,000 to $120,000 per year.

What Skills Should a Game Developer Have?

Game developers should be proficient in technical skills such as coding, programming, and animating and soft skills such as communication, creativity, and problem-solving. 

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