Design

Computer games developer

Computer games developers make games for the internet, mobile phones, PCs and games consoles.

Annual Salary

£19,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

30 to 40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Computer games developer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll be working on computer games that may take several months or years to produce.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • deciding what a game should look like and how it should play
  • 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 (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

You’ll report to a producer or project manager, who oversees the whole process and makes sure that the finished game is completed on time.

You could do a foundation degree or degree in:

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

University

Doing a degree with a work placement could give you an advantage when you look for work.

You'll usually need:

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

College

You can do a Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production or Games Development.

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels or a Level 3 Diploma

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), usually 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 qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

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.

More information

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

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

£19,000 to £70,000

Starter salary: £19,000 to £25,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £50,000

Many companies also offer bonuses and share schemes for successfully completing projects.

These figures are a guide.

30 to 40

Working hours in the computer games industry can vary. In many jobs you’ll work standard office hours, with some unsocial hours (such as evenings and weekends) and overtime to meet deadlines.

You could be based in an office or a studio, depending on your role. You’ll spend most of your time sitting at a computer.

With experience, you could progress to a senior developer, producer or technical director role.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • persistence and determination
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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