Video Game Developer: How to Become a Video Game Developer

Published Sep 08, 2009

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Video game developers create and design video games, from storyboards to the final production. To become a video game developer, you'll need a video game design degree or one in or a related field like graphic design or computer science. Experience is key in the video game industry, so get your foot in the door however you can, possibly through a college internship.

What Do Video Game Developers Do?

Video game developers design software for game systems like Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, as well as personal computer games. They typically work with a staff of professionals, including artists, sound engineers and programmers.

There are three basic types of video game developers: third-party, in-house and independent. Third-party video game developers are hired by software publishing companies to create new games, while in-house, or first-party, video game developers are kept on staff by publishing companies. Independent video game developers work separate from major publishing companies, often publishing their own software.

What Education Is Needed in Order to Become a Video Game Developer?

Video gaming is a highly competitive industry, and those interested in breaking into the business should have a strong educational background to boost their chances of finding a job. An increasing number of schools offer associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in video game development or design. These programs cover both artistic and technical industry concepts, from story design and character creation to animation and lighting.

Degrees in computer science, computer programming or graphic design would also benefit aspiring video game developers. Graphic design students study 3D design and modeling, which are used to create video game software.

What Types of Experience and Skills Are Needed in Order to Become a Video Game Developer?

Because experience is highly valuable in the video game industry, anyone wanting to become a video game developer must be willing to start at the bottom and work their way up. A college internship is a great start for students. Though most internships are unpaid, the experience and training generally prove invaluable when searching for entry-level positions.

In addition to understanding programming and design basics, video game developers should be highly creative individuals. They also require excellent communication skills and a love for gaming.

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