Gaming is a hugely attractive career for people interested in graphics, tech and creativity. Here are some of the most essential skills you’ll need to get ahead.
Becoming a gaming developer is one of those rare career paths that can, in theory, come about from a person’s love of gaming as a hobby. It’s pretty much a dream for us all to have a career we love in a field we are passionate about so working in the extremely lucrative gaming industry is a really good idea for someone who enjoys gaming in their downtime.
Generally speaking, people who game regularly as a hobby have more than a passing interest in technology. That’s an asset when it comes to a career like gaming development, which is obviously quite tech-oriented. You need to continuously follow new emerging trends in gaming and in tech to keep your skills relevant. It’s worth pointing out, of course, that many devoted gamers might prefer not to mix their hobby with their work. A career in gaming is very different from gaming as a hobby – working as a games developer is not all about gaming all day long, sadly.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at some of the professional skills you should hone if you want to work in the sector as a developer.
Being able and willing to work with other people is a big plus in any creative tech sector. In gaming, you might find yourself working with people with a lot of different skill sets and you’ll have to know a little bit about what they do and how their roles in the game dev process interact with yours.
You should be comfortable with working with people from departments like graphic design, motion design, scriptwriting, audio engineering and so on.
Programming and development
The types of programming languages you should learn depends on what area of gaming development you want to end up in – for example mobile, desktop or console. If the answer is mobile, do you want to be an iOS developer? Or Android?
Android mobile devs need Kotlin and Java skills as these are the languages most frequently used in that medium, while iOS game devs need Swift and Objective-C. It’s not just languages you need, it’s also important to have knowledge of the backend systems for either the Apple app store or Google Play and Android Studio.
And if you’re aiming to work in the desktop and console scene, you will need decent programming skills with Python and C++ and C#. Backend dev knowledge for common gaming systems like Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation are also important to learn.
VR and AR – ie extended reality – are huge trends in gaming at the moment, so if you have knowledge of those you will stand out. A while back, we did an explainer of some of the skills you should work on if you want to work in extended reality, which will be helpful if that’s an area you’re interested in as a developer.
The tech is not exclusive to the gaming industry of course but it is frequently deployed by developers so it is a good area to know.
Yes, you’re a developer rather than a designer, but it is certainly very useful for you to be able to use the tech tools that animators use. Working in a creative field like game development means you need to have some creative flair as well as tech know-how. By learning popular animation software programmes like Unity and Maya, you’ll be able to prove you have the skills necessary to make yourself an asset in the industry.
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