How to become a computer game programmer or video game programmer

If you want to be a computer game programmer or a video game programmer, now is the best time to venture into the industry. The industry is hungry for new talent that can bring a lot of new ideas and perspectives on the table, what with the accelerating development in computer technology and with the success of previous best-selling games like Half Life, MYST, The SIMS and Starcraft leaving consumers hungry for more. The computer gaming industry is as competitive and as challenging as it has never been before.

The challenge and the excitement of being a computer game programmer or a video game programmer has attracted many people into thinking of building their careers in that direction. If you are one of them, you should ask yourself first if you have what it takes to survive in the industry and if you are willing to put out the hard work needed to build up the skills that you lack.

Areas of Computer and Video Game Development

First consideration, programming is not the only function in video game development. There are video game designers, artists, animators, producers and testers too. Before diving into the programming area, make sure that this is the aspect of game development you are interested in.

Job Description

A computer game or a video game programmer is generally responsible for generating computer code that is supposed to make the game function smoothly. A typical job for a computer game or a video game programmer has him or her working with a team for ten to 12 hours in a day, with workdays sometimes stretching to a whole week. Most of that time is spent writing code and checking for possible bugs. Pressure can be intense. A lot of times, computer game or video game programmers are also found playing games, usually their competitors’ products, not for fun but to sniff out competition and to keep themselves updated with the latest trends.

Pay or Salary

The pay scale for a game programmer can be anywhere between US$40,000 to US$125,000 a year, averaging US$70,000 annually.

Getting Started

To be a successful computer game or video game programmer, you will need to be well-versed in various programming languages and methods. You will also need an exceptional understanding of how gaming engines are built. Being a regular programmer first before elevating yourself to the level of computer games will help a lot because it will let you hone the skills that you need.

A college degree is not really required to land you a job as a computer game or a video game programmer as long as you possess the necessary skills in plenty. However, with the tight competition nowadays, holders of a degree in computer technology, animation, design and in related fields have an edge on those armed with only high school diploma.

But beyond the skill, you will need to learn to be able to work as a team. Teamwork is a must in the computer gaming industry because it takes a team to develop a highly complex game that sells. With teamwork come exemplary communication skills, initiative and the capability to complete tasks with minimal supervision.

In order to land a good job as a computer game or video game programmer, the best way to start is to get into internship programs to gaming companies. Another good way is to attend job fairs and to leave your resume in headhunter websites specializing in careers in computer technology. Or, if you have a specific company in mind, visit their website and see if they have openings, or simply email them your resume with a great cover letter.

To get started in your game programming career start reading “how to master computer programming

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