Games developer

games programmer video games developer

Career outlook for games developer

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

£46,280

Currently employed in Scotland

26,100

Five year job forecast

+4.16%

"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would create code and tests for games that might be played by millions of people.

You’d help to produce games for PCs, games consoles, the internet and mobile phones. You could develop new games or update existing 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.

You could work as a:

  • Artist – create the game's visual characters, objects and scenery, and producing concept art, drawings and storyboards at the planning stage
  • Animator – bring the characters, objects and scenery to life with computer modelling and animation software during the production stage
  • Programmer – create the code to make the game work. You could specialise in developing graphics, artificial intelligence or gameplay software

In all of these roles you would report to a producer or project manager, who oversees the whole process and makes sure that the finished game is completed on time.

Working conditions

Hours

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.

Environment

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.

UK employment status

Full-time

60%

Part-time

27%

Self employed

13%

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Innovative
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Concentrating
  • Sorting

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

Most computer games developers have a qualification at Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) level.

The majority of entrants to the computer games industry are graduates with degrees in a maths, physics, computer science or computer games subject.

To study for a degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires a minimum of four Highers at B or relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) qualifications. A portfolio may be required.

Useful subjects

English and maths are required by most courses. Other required subjects depend on the course but may include:

  • Physics
  • Design & Manufacture
  • Technologies subjects such as Computing Science

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show knowledge of software and creative skills such as Skills for Work Creative & Digital (SCQF level 4) or Creative Industries (SCQF level 5).