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Career Spotlights ~ Computer Games Developer
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Basic Info
  • Hours: 30-40 per week
  • Starting Salary: £25,000 + per year

If you love computer games and enjoy using your imagination, this could be ideal for you. Computer games developers produce games for PCs and game consoles. They also produce games for the internet and mobile phones. This work could involve making new games or updating exisiting titles.

Most computer games developers have a qualification. However employers may be more interested in your software skills and experience.

To become a games developer, you will need to have creativity and imagination. You'll also need to be able to work under pressure and to deadlines

The Work

If you love computer games and enjoy using your imagination, this could be ideal for you. Computer games developers produce games for PCs and game consoles, the internet and mobile phones. The work could involve developing new games or updating exisiting titles. A game can take several months or even years to produce. There are many stages before a game is released, from creating ideas and characters to programming and testing.

There are various tasks involved at each stage, so your role could be, for example:

  • Designer - Deciding what a game looks like and how it plays. You would either come up with your own original ideas or work from an exisiting concept (idea)
  • Artist - Creating the game's visual characters, objects and scenery, and producing concept art and drawings (storyboards) at the planning stage
  • Animator - Bringing the characters, objects and scenery to life with computer modeling and animation software during the production stage
  • Programmer - Creating the code to make the game work. You could specialise in developing graphocs, artificial intelligence (AI), or game play software

Working hours in the computer games industry can vary. In many jobs you would work standard office hours, with some unsocial hours (such as evenings and weekends) and overtime to meet deadlines.

You could be based in an office or a studio, depending on your role. You would spend most of your time sitting at a computer.


Starting salaries for artists and programmers are usually around £25,000 a year. Experienced and skilled designers, head programmers and producers can earn between £30,000 and £50,000.

Many companies also offer bonuses and share schemes for successfully completing projects.

Entry Requirements

Most games developers have a foundation degree, HND or degree qualification, especially staff such as programmers, designers and artists. However, employers will be interested in your skills, experience and software knowledge as well as your formal qualifications.

Lots of colleges and universities offer courses in computer games design and development. The most useful courses include practical skills and work placements. Many people find their first job in the games industry through placements as a part of their degree. Check the course content and entry requirements carefully so that you choose the right one for you.

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