Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month, we explore the role of a Computer Games Designer/Developer.
Computer Games Developer Ben Lowther shares his insight into a career in game development with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.
So what is a Computer Games Developer?
Employers are specialised companies producing games for computers or games consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One or PS4.
Using storyboards and flowcharts, you will present your ideas for a new computer game to a panel for acceptance or rejection.
If it is accepted you will manage all aspects of the playing experience, from scripts to programming and from animation to sound effects and music.
You will work with a team of specialists, such as programmers and graphic artists, to produce a prototype. Once a computer games playtester has picked out any flaws and if the panel think it is a winner, it will go into full development by your team.
You will generally work Monday to Friday, although you might need to work overtime in the evenings and at weekends to meet deadlines.
You will be mainly based in an office or studio.
Type of work
You will work collaboratively with other members of the games project team.
Things to consider
Games designers say it is enjoyable creating entertainment for a living and there is the opportunity to be creative.
It is a young, vibrant business and the rewards can be high.
It can be tough when a game does not sell or receives poor reviews.
It is stressful producing a game for a timed release, like in time for Christmas.
The reputation of the gaming industry continues to grow and so more and more applicants want to work in this profession.
Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need previous experience/passion for the field
Many employers will ask for a minimum of a degree and although entry into the industry is possible with a HND, many developers are graduates.
Most people have a portfolio of game projects or designs. This will be geared towards meeting either artistic or programming requirements and will be largely dependent on the kind of job you apply for. Relevant industry experience is a must and many people work initially as a tester of quality assurance in a games studio. The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) offers the Professional Certification in Software Testing at Foundation, Intermediate and Higher level for quality assurance testers, which may also help your application.
£19,000 to £25,000 per year is the usual starting/training salary for designers with prior industry experience.
For senior or lead designers this can then rise to between £30,000 and £50,000 with several years’ experience.
Those in management or leadership roles can go on to earn up to, or in excess of, £70,000.
A funded route that may be on offer in your area is the Higher Apprenticeship in IT. Apprenticeships in Quality Assurance and Games Design are also available.
Emma Davies is a Content Editor at Trotman Publishing. Graduating from her Masters degree in 2017, she is familiar with all aspects of the student journey through university.