A position working in the gaming industry is a dream job for many, and considering the amount of work and skill it takes to create a video game, there are a number of options to choose from when it comes to the role you want to play in the creation and design of a game. Video game programming will involve working on games for different systems. In addition to having an in-depth understanding of computer structures and languages, working in this field also includes being familiar with specific target systems, on which the games will be used for, as well as platform development.
Video Game Programming Education Requirements
The first step towards becoming a programmer for this will involve obtaining a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or a related field. While the requirements will differ for these majors, most students will need to complete such core classes as data analysis, computer science, and math. A student who is accepted into a major will then be able to cover advanced topics such as how to create a software interface and an in-depth look at utilizing algorithms. Also, a program can mandate that a student will need to complete certain courses in which they will create their own game or software program. Typically, students will learn a number of computer languages, such as Java and C+. Some schools will also feature courses in animation and graphic design as part of the curriculum requirements.
While it can be fairly competitive to enter the gaming industry, internship programs with companies such as EA games or Sony, can provide the student with valuable field experience and it can also allow them to network with industry professionals, which can help them to land a job after graduation. Most universities and colleges will post listings for internships, so an aspiring video game programmer should consider meeting with a career counselor in order to determine how they can qualify for an internship.
Advanced Video Programmer Degrees
While the completion of a bachelor’s degree program is sufficient for some jobs in this industry, some employers will prefer applicants who have completed master’s degree or postgraduate certificate programs. The courses in these advanced programs will include topics like interactive design and 3D animation. After a student has learned how to develop simulations and computer interfaces, they will typically be required to complete a senior project, such as a functioning software program.
Video game programming jobs will involve processing the work of developers and designers, in order to create a game that will provide an entertaining and rich experience for the user. Other duties for this position can include increasing processing speeds and analyzing computer codes.
Additional Skills Needed to Land a Programming Job
In addition to having a degree of some kind, there are other skills that can help increase your chances of getting a job as a programmer. Here are some things to add to your skill-set, so you can turn your passion in life into a career as soon as possible.
You Must Have a Firm Grasp of Programming Skills
It may seem pretty obvious that in order to become a programmer, you should have a strong knowledge of programming skills. However, many people assume that as long as you are in the gaming industry, you can work in whatever role you wish. This is not true in any way. It takes a very unique set of skills to master the art that these professionals do.
You can expect to work with everything from casual computer games on the Internet using simple and standard web program languages to high performance console games that use machine language. As a gaming programmer, you must know all of the languages out there, including machine language, C++, C, and you must also understand embedded programming.
You also should be able to pick up on and learn new skills very easily in this area. There is always something new popping up in technology, so you never stop learning in this job. You will rely on things like gaming libraries, physics engines, and languages for special purposes, so you must continuously familiarize yourself with manuals and new codes.
You Should Have Solid Communication Skills to Succeed
As a programmer, you will not be locked up in a room by yourself working on games. In fact, your job will look nothing like that at all. You will have to keep constant communication going with all of your team members, from performers, business people, mathematicians, to artists. Sure, a lot of your time will be spent working on and writing computer code, but it is vital that you are able to effectively and successfully communicate with the other people on board to get the job done correctly.
One example is that you may work with an artist who expresses his or her need to have the lighting or shading changed in the video. However, the artist may not know how to tell you these things in terms of color values or pixels. This is where your communication skills come in, so you can help translate what the artist needs and create a quality game together.
You Need a Lot of Gaming Experience
It can be very difficult to just jump into a career like this without knowing the games yourself, in a personal way. If you are not an avid gamer, this will be a hard job to pick up on. It is possible to learn, of course, but you will be much more successful if you spent hours playing them yourself. In order to communicate with other members of the team, you should be knowledgeable regarding the culture of gaming.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into this type of work. It takes a highly skilled person to find a position as a video game programmer. If you meet the requirements above, this may be the perfect career path for you to take.