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Computer games developer Computer games designer, video games designer

Computer games developers make games for the internet, mobile phones, PCs and games consoles.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £19,000 to £70,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 30 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need an HND, foundation degree or degree in computer games technology, computer games development or multimedia design. A degree with a work placement could give you an advantage.
 
Employers will be interested in your knowledge of software and the computer games market and will want to see proof of your talent and creativity, as well as formal qualifications.

You could start as a quality assurance (QA) tester. You don’t need a degree to start at this level, but you must have plenty of experience of game playing.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent IT skills
  • creativity and imagination
  • a logical approach to problem-solving
  • the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • patience and attention to detail

3. What you'll do

You’ll be working on computer games that may take several months or years to produce.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • deciding what a game should look like and how it should play
  • coming up with your own original ideas or working from an existing concept
  • creating the game's visual characters, objects and scenery
  • producing concept art and drawings (storyboards) at the planning stage
  • bringing the characters, objects and scenery to life with computer modelling and animation software
  • creating the code to make the game work

You’ll report to a producer or project manager, who oversees the whole process and makes sure that the finished game is completed on time.

4. Salary

Starter: £19,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £50,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £70,000

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

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Working hours in the computer games industry can vary. In many jobs you’ll 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’ll spend most of your time sitting at a computer.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a senior developer, producer or technical director role.

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Last updated: 13 April 2017