What Degree Do You Need To Be A Game Developer

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 9 minute read

What is programming for video games?

It is the internal software that allows players to engage with a specific game that is the focus of video game programming. The code that video game programmers use to create the required settings and mechanics is called a scripting language. 

Games may be played on a variety of platforms, each with its own language requirements. Learning to code is the first step towards becoming a game developer who can use these programming languages.

To construct browser-based and mobile games, JavaScript is primarily utilized in conjunction with HTML5. As a result, developers must resort to 2D graphics because of the limits of 3D graphics.

For aspiring video game producers, HTML5’s multi-player and 3D graphics capabilities make it an ideal language choice. It can also be published on the internet as part of a website.
It is essential for game designers and programmers to have a firm grasp of C++, which is used in nearly all console and PC games. 

This programming language is required by anybody developing a game for the Xbox platform in order to access millions of prospective gamers.

One of the fastest programming languages, it can execute several complicated tasks in a video game concurrently.

Programming language Python has a wide range of uses outside video games, such as in cybersecurity, music and movie streaming, and data analysis.

A high-level (easy to understand), object-oriented based on data programming language, Python was launched in 1992 and used in a variety of fields, including data analytics and artificial intelligence; web development; video game development; finance; SEO (search engine optimization); and many more. An incomplete list of languages is shown above. 

The following are some of the other people involved in programming:

  • Future game programmers may want to look at Objective C, Lua, Papyrus, and Squirrel, which are all high-level object-oriented programming languages that can handle complex real-time problems that require a lot of bandwidth.

Programming video games, therefore, necessitates knowledge of several languages, which is why schools offering degrees in video game development or design should reflect this.

The phrases game design and game programming are not interchangeable when referring to the process of creating video games. 

There’s a noticeable change. The former is responsible for the game’s creative design, which is the artistic aspect of game creation.

The characters, rules, goals of the game, plot, and landscape all work together to entice gamers. Electronic Arts, for example, employs a large number of designers, each with a distinct role.

Many people are involved in different aspects of the game’s creation, such as storyline, controls, music, and visuals.

Designers in businesses like Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Take-Two Interactive Software may have various roles:

  • The person in charge of overseeing the creation of a game
    Balance (challenges) and the rule structure of the game are the primary focus of the 
  • Game Mechanics Designer; examples include operating a vehicle, combating an enemy, or climbing up.
  • A game’s environmental designer conjures up many locales and scenarios.

As a programmer, you’re responsible for putting the designer’s vision into action through the use of computer code, often known as programming languages.

Game development’s scientific side is on display in this stage. As with game designers, each programmer in a large company may specialize on a particular area, such as music or character movement. 

No matter how big or small your game design and programming team, you’ll be working together to establish a profitable business for the gaming community.

An important part of a game’s programming is merging the visual and aural elements into a playing experience.

The programmer depends mostly on computer abilities, such as mathematics, logic, and programming languages, such as C/C++, to do this. As the game’s creators, they must collaborate with the artists, musicians, and designers to make it a reality.

Education for Game Programmers

The term computer wizard is appropriate for anyone seeking a degree in mathematics or computer languages. A passion and aptitude for game programming will be evident in the years leading up to making a college choice.

Preparation for the rigors of studying coding should begin in the high school years with courses in trigonometry, physics, and calculus.

There are a number of schools and institutions that offer degree programs in game design and development.

It is important to find out whether or not the institution offers a wide range of courses in computer science and game programming or development.

Is there a specialization in 3D graphics at the school, given that this is the direction in which more games are evolving? Is it possible to learn programming languages like C++, Java, and scripting?

City Colleges of Chicago offers an Associate of Applied Science in Game Design and Development, which might lead to entry-level positions.

There is a focus on game design and development, production, testing, and visuals in this course. There are a variety of courses available, including Creating the Art of the Game and Motion Graphics. 

Because it’s utilized in everything from websites to mobile applications to games, only C# will be covered. Another option is to earn an associate’s degree in computer programming, which teaches JavaScript, Java, HTML5, and SQL.

However, other programs generate business application programmers, systems analysts, and website developers, rather than game programmers. 

In Southern Arizona, there are two campuses and four centers of Cochise College, a two-year institution. Virtual Reality Development Programming Concentration as part of an AAS in Computer Programming is one option.

Virtual Reality Programming Logic in Unity and C and Java Programming are taught in the first course, while C and Java Programming are taught in the second.

Graduates of the virtual reality option will be able to create virtual worlds using the Unity game engine.

The North Carolina Community College System has numerous campuses around the state that offer an associate degree in Simulation and Game Development.

C++, Java, and C# are among the programming languages covered in their Associate of Applied Science degrees.

Colleges that offer game development and programming as majors provide more options for students when they get older. 

If you want to work in the video game business, which got its start in 1972 with Pong, you’ll need a four-year college degree.

Compared to today’s video game concept, this two-player arcade game required each participant to move a little bar in order to deflect a moving ball back at their opponent.

Gamers have it made into a lucrative business. Esports has over 456 million players, and more than 2.5 billion individuals worldwide play games — over one-third of the world’s population!

The gambling sector brings in the greatest money for China and the United States, with $40.8 billion and $36.92 billion, respectively. 

Global revenues from video games will account for over half of all mobile games by then; growth is expected to reach 57%. In 2021, video game earnings might reach $180 billion, with console games absorbing 22 percent of the income.

In light of the facts outlined above, students who are interested in learning computer languages should consider a bachelor’s degree.

Choose a company that has a Game Studio so that you may take your games all the way from conception to completion. 

One of The Princeton Review’s Top 20 Game Design Schools is Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, which offers a degree in game creation.

While taking the Bachelor of Science in Game Programming program at Champlain, students get to work on their games at one of six laboratories that focus on various aspects of the game industry. 

During the first semester, students learn about game production and programming, and then in the spring, they move on to more advanced topics like 3D math and advanced programming. By the third year, students are taking lessons in 3D modeling, animation, and game development.

Engineering for Digital Simulation and Gaming. Shawnee State College in Portsmouth, Ohio, offers a bachelor’s degree in science, as well.

Game programming, simulation, and design are all taught from the perspective of a game programmer in this degree program. 

In addition to the 27 hours in Computer Engineering Technology, students must also complete 33 hours of coursework in Simulation and Gaming Engineering. I & II, Realtime Interactive & Digital Simulation Design Labs 1 & 2 are the courses that students take.

Graduates can find work in a variety of computer-related fields, such as software engineering, multimedia programming, simulation programming, and development engineering, thanks to the wide range of computer classes available.

Creative and artistic students might consider Full Sail University, which offers a wide range of courses in areas such as game design, digital marketing, film production, digital arts, and design and creative writing.

Students in the latter will design, create, and produce a playable game using their understanding of computer graphics, computer architecture, artificial intelligence, and software engineering.

Systems Programming, 3D Content Creation, Engine Development, Game Integration, Programming, and Video Game Development are all part of Full Sail University’s curriculum.

Students can choose between on-campus (in Winter Park, Florida) and online studying options.

Many universities also offer a Master of Science (M.S.) in Game Design and Development or Game Programming, which is an advanced degree in the field.

These master’s degrees in game creation and programming might be regarded as the last degree in the subject.

Object-oriented systems design and analysis, concepts of database architecture, and computer simulation and modeling are all covered in-depth in these programs, which are comparable to a bachelor’s.

Students can get their Master of Science in Game Programming either online or on-campus at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media in Chicago.

93 percent of master’s students who take courses in software engineering, artificial intelligence, animation, networking, and computer graphics get a job within six months.

On closer inspection, the classes lack programming but have a lot of animation, graphics, artificial intelligence, mobile app development, and software testing and development.

The Master of Science in Computer Science with a focus in Game Development at USC-Viterbi is yet another example of a curriculum with a limited number of programming language courses.

Courses cover everything from computer animation to gaming consoles and interaction experiments to game design and game engine development. 

Because of the emphasis on creation, design, artificial intelligence (AI), and mobile gaming, this course format is typical of graduate degree programs. Possibly, these programs rely on the undergraduate curriculum to give this instruction.


For those who are studying game programming, internships are a good idea. High school grads with no prior computer or game industry expertise might look to Epic Games as an option. Year-round, epic internships might run anything from three months to twelve months. 

It’s a great method to obtain practical experience before graduating and build your resume. Internships may be found all throughout the country on job search engines like Glassdoor.

It will take some investigation because there are a variety of internships unrelated to gaming if you key in-game developer intern—for example, intern in data science, iOS Developer, Software Quality Assurance, and systems engineer.

Employing Game Programmers

Whatever your degree, you want it to lead to a career you enjoy. There is a surprising lack of information about job opportunities for video game programmers in the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

It is estimated that employment for Computer Programmers would decrease by 9% by 2029. It’s therefore difficult to get a precise picture of the future job market for game developers or programmers.

According to GameDesigning, the average salary of a game programmer is $64,900. In contrast to the site’s stated range of $45,000 to $100,000, the pay for game creators is far lower.

A well-known recruitment portal showed a 65 percent decline in job posts between 2014 and 2017, despite the gaming industry’s revenue rise.

Interest in video game careers, despite this, remained stable Higher earnings might be due to the major game firms, such as Electronic Arts, Activision, Epic Games and Blizzard Entertainment, acquiring a larger slice of the pie.

If there are fewer companies, there will be fewer employment vacancies, no matter how much growth the gaming business experiences.

An exam offered by Unity that certifies programmers as Certified Professionals might help you improve your marketability. Programmers of games and software are eligible for the credential.

Applicants must have two or more years of experience working in-game or 3D interactive programming using Unity before being eligible to take the test.

With live and recorded courses available for all skill levels, Unity also provides online training for its users.

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