While every developer is unique, just about all of them love video games almost as much as they love coding. This is why becoming a game developer is a dream of many professional programmers. The problem is, with so many people wanting to get into this field, the competition is quite stiff. If you want to pursue this area of development it is essential to learn a little bit about how to get a job as a game developer and start taking steps toward that goal.
Perfect Your Craft
Before you ever have a chance to apply for a job as a game developer you need to perfect the right skills. With so many programmers fighting to get jobs in this field, the companies don’t need to take entry level developers. The first step in this area is to learn the most popular programming languages used in game development. There are several different languages, and having a good understanding of all of them is essential. Many developers will have a primary focus in one of these languages, and then learn the others as secondary options which can be used when necessary. The most popular languages for game developers include:
- Assembly – This low overhead language is difficult to learn, but it is worth the effort if you become an expert. Only the most detail-oriented developers should focus on this language because it is error-prone and slower than most other languages.
- C – This is one of the most common languages, and the base of multiple others. It is not an objet oriented language though so it does have some weaknesses for larger projects or those which will be used on multiple platforms.
- C++ – This has been one of the standard languages for many years. It has strong OO support and many tools available for developers to use. This language is required for anyone who wants to be a game developer.
- C# – While it uses more memory than other languages, it is still a powerful option. With game consoles and PCs having increased amounts of memory this might be a good language for up-and-coming developers to specialize in.
- Java – This is the perfect language for people wanting to get their foot in the door as game developers. It is used to create many smaller and simpler games.
Of course, there are other languages which are used in this industry, but mastering any of the above mentioned options will be a huge advantage over the competition. Remember, it is not enough to be proficient in these languages, you must be an expert.
Build a Portfolio
Game developers are passionate about what they do, and you should be able to show that to potential employers. Start creating games in your free time. This is a great way to practice your coding, and will give you a portfolio which you can show during interviews. It is not enough to be able to code a game that is fun and works though; it must be efficiently coded to impress people in the gaming industry.
Join Developers Associations
There are many programming and developer associations available to look into. These are great options for not only meeting people, but also learning more about the development industry. Many gaming companies look to hire directly from well known associations like the International Game Developer’s Association (IGDA). These types of associations are also great for sharing information and learning more about how to properly code for games as well. Look for associations with chapters in your area, or find groups which allow for online only membership if there aren’t any in your city.
While getting a job as a game developer may seem difficult at first, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Taking your time and building up a strong resume and portfolio while keeping a close eye on job boards is the best way to achieve this dream. Gaming companies are always looking for talented developers so keep working on improving your ability and you’ll be working for the company of your dreams before you know it.