Computer games developer

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Computer games designer, video games designer

Computer games developers make games that can be played online, and on mobile phones, PCs and games consoles.

Salary Range: £19,500 ro £59,000

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How to become a computer games developer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in:

  • computer games technology
  • computer games development
  • computer science
  • interactive media
  • mathematics

You may have an advantage when you look for work if you do a degree that has a work placement.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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College

You could do a college course, which may lead onto more advanced qualifications or a higher apprenticeship, or help you to get a trainee position with a company. Courses include:

  • A level in Computing
  • T level in Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production or Games Development

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and computing
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma

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Apprenticeship

You could do an advanced or higher apprenticeship in creative and digital media or software development, or a software developer or junior 2D artist higher apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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Work

You could start as a quality assurance (QA) tester if you have plenty of experience of game playing.

You’ll usually need an IT qualification or work experience. Employers will be interested in your talent and creativity. You may also find it helps to have A levels or a diploma in relevant subjects like computing or media production.

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Career tips

You can create a portfolio of work or online demo to highlight your skills to potential employers.

Further information

You can get more advice about working in games development from ScreenSkills.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to write computer code
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • deciding what a game will look like and how it can be played
  • 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 or 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

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio or in an office.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior developer, producer or technical director.

If you develop your own successful game independently, you could increase your income significantly.