How To Become a Game Developer

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 January 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Video games are a fun pastime that many people enjoy, and they can also provide rewarding career opportunities for those with strong technical skills and comprehensive knowledge of gaming systems. Game developers design the core features that bring a video game to life. If you have a passion for video games, excellent math skills and a creative mindset, you may be interested in how to become a game developer. In this article, we explain what a game developer does, highlight some beneficial skills for these jobs and provide seven steps to become a game developer.

Related: What Is a Software Developer? Definition and Skills

How to become a game developer

Here are seven steps for how to become a game developer:

1. Study video games

In order to develop video game features, you must first have an understanding of the different types of video games and their various components. While you play these games, study their features and try to understand what may have led a developer to make certain decisions about those components. Pay attention to the game's narrative structure and how it advances throughout the game. By playing video games mindfully, you can begin to build a more comprehensive understanding of how they work, what features they include and how those features work together.

2. Earn a bachelor's degree

Most game software developers have a formal education background and earn at least a bachelor's degree. Employers tend to prefer candidates who have completed three-year degree courses because they have a more in-depth scientific background that is necessary for game development. Check with colleges in your region to see if they have any degree programmes that can help you with becoming a game developer.

While completing an undergraduate degree is the most established way of getting a video game programmer education, you can also take an accredited online program. The popular specialisations for game developers are computer science and computer engineering.

3. Develop math and physics skills

To become a game developer, you need to have solid coding skills, for which a basic knowledge of mathematics and physics is essential. You need mathematical skills to create equations that can direct computer systems to perform in specific ways. For instance, for animation programming, you need to know calculus, trigonometry and linear algebra. Also, knowing physics can help you to understand concepts like mass, inertia and thermodynamics.

While the physics, graphics and lighting engines offered by prominent game development platforms have made things easier for game developers, you should still brush up on your maths and physics skills. Those seeking an undergraduate degree should get an in-depth education in linear algebra, basic algorithms, trigonometry and geometry. It can also help to know calculus, statistics, combinatorics, physics, game theory and artificial intelligence algorithms.

4. Gain technical skills

Game developers need to be proficient in hardware technology and C, C#, C++, Java, Python, Lua and other programming languages to write code that crafts everything about the game. While you may learn these as part of your degree course, it can help to refresh yourself periodically and stay updated through online forums, tutorials, guides and videos.

It can be beneficial to have experience in using MySQL, Oracle or MS SQL for database development. You should also know about server backend implementation and be aware of changes in the system architecture. Since there are constant system updates, you need to take a dynamic approach to your design, coding and structuring to keep up.

Related: 10 C# Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

5. Learn storytelling strategies

Most game studios have writers to create original stories or new adaptations of existing comics, novels and films. However, it can still help game developers to know about linear and non-linear storytelling and narrative techniques. In a linear storyline, the players' actions drive the story forward, while in non-linear games, the actions that the players take can determine how the story unfolds. Understanding how stories develop and reach a satisfying end can give you a much-needed perspective in writing the increasingly complicated code that is necessary for such storylines.

6. Build a game developer portfolio

Your game development experience and portfolio are crucial factors in determining if you get a position with a video game studio. One of the best ways to get practical experience, build your portfolio and attract the attention of large game studios is to design and develop your video games. Create simple games at first and then work your way up to more complex ones.

When you add the games to your game developer portfolio, include screenshots of game scenes to allow interviewers and game studio executives to evaluate the games. Also, include links to the game installation software to allow them to try out the games. If you collaborated with anyone to create the games, mention that in your portfolio notes.

7. Get an entry-level game developer position

Getting started in the video game industry can be challenging for new entrants. If you have advanced skills and a very well-polished portfolio, you may be able to get a job at once with a major game studio. Otherwise, it helps to get an internship first and work in entry-level positions with smaller studios.

It is easier to advance in your career once you have gained the necessary work experience and have a more extensive game development portfolio. Scan the job boards on leading game industry websites to get an idea of what employers are currently looking for and try to align your resume to these requirements. Look for in-demand skills in these postings and acquire them as soon as possible.

Related: 23 Interview Tips: How To Get the Job

What does a game developer do?

A game developer creates the features of a video game that make it functional for users. They write the code that tells a computer or system how to operate for users to play the game. Game developers may design games or core features, test games and conduct design reviews. These professionals may work in small or large game studios. In smaller studios, developers may work on all aspects of the development process, while those at larger studios may specialise in a specific area, such as graphics or audio. Some developers work independently to create and sell their own games.

Because these positions are highly competitive, it can take many years of hard work to become a game developer. Most developers earn an undergraduate degree at minimum and may spend several years after graduation working in entry-level positions or internships. They have advanced skills in mathematics and computer science or programming. Many find it helpful to keep growing their technical skills through continued development, such as learning a new programming language. They may also participate in online game forums and attend industry conferences. These can provide excellent networking opportunities that can be beneficial for finding jobs or gaining professional recommendations.

Average salary for game developers

The average base salary for a developer is ₹3,70,727 per year. However, your actual salary may vary depending on several factors, such as your skills, experience and location.

What skills do game developers have?

Aside from technical skills, here are some soft skills that can be beneficial for game developers:


Creativity is an important skill for game developers because it helps them turn abstract ideas into functional components. This skill allows developers to consider innovative solutions to the challenges of a video game, such as how to advance to the next level. They may also work collaboratively with artistic teams or designers to provide input on the look and feel of the game, which requires a creative mindset.


These skills help developers solve technical problems related to the development process, such as coding errors. Developers must be able to solve these problems effectively using analysis, research and good judgment. Problem-solving skills help developers identify the cause of the issue and brainstorm various answers before choosing the most logical solution.


While developers may work independently at times, they also regularly work in teams throughout the development process. For example, they may work closely with game designers to develop the layout of a video game. Developers must have excellent teamwork skills to communicate effectively, share ideas and offer feedback to help the team reach their shared goals.


Communication can be an important skill for game developers to help others understand highly technical information. This can include both written and verbal communication skills. Developers may use written communication when writing reports on their reviews of a video game. They may use verbal communication when explaining complex processes to business or design teams. Communication skills can also include active listening, which helps a developer work with other teams to understand the overall goals of the game and how they can help to achieve those.

Read more: How To Improve Communication Skills


Adaptability is a key skill for developers because the video game industry is constantly evolving. New technologies may emerge that have significant impacts on the game development process. Being able to adapt quickly can help developers handle any changes and continue to do their jobs successfully in all circumstances.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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