- Game Designer
- System Designer
- Level Designer
- Game Programmer
- AI Game Programmer
- Gameplay Engineer
- Game Artist
- Character Artist
- Environment Artist
- Technical Artist
- How To Attract Top Game Development Talent?
- Training Is a Mandate
- Support Employee Growth
- Remote-first Is the New Norm
- Hire The Most In-Demand Game Development Talent With Pingle Studio
- How to Become a Game Developer?
The gaming industry is one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries in the world. According to the latest report by NewZoo, the games market will advance at a healthy CAGR of +8.7% to reach $218.7 billion in 2024. This impressive growth is bolstered by an ever-growing player base and, ironically enough, the pandemic.
These positive industry dynamics make game development both an equally attractive field to work and invest in. So, if you are thinking about tapping into this career opportunity or setting up a team of rockstar game pros, you should be aware of the most demanded skills in the market.
With that said, let’s go over leading game developer jobs in 2022 and explain in brief what each role involves.
The role of a game designer is probably more associated with game development jobs than any other employment path. Indeed, this senior role covers almost all stages of game creation, nurturing your brilliant idea into a solid technical and conceptual ground. So what do game designers do?
Game designers are responsible for devising the game’s core mechanics, concepts, and layout, ensuring that your product is balanced and playable. These experts also help set the game rules as well as chart out the gaming experience with mockups and detailed layouts.
Game designers work in tandem with other team members to create the initial framework that will be transformed into the final product. Due to their wide area of expertise, they must hold hands-on experience in:
- Gameplay theory
- Technical documentation writing
- Scripting tools (blueprints)
- UI designing approaches
- Popular game engines, like Unity, and others.
- Software technologies and coding languages (C#, C++, etc) – it’s not a mushave requirement, but a solid advantage
So no wonder, game designers are highly coveted specialists with one of the highly-paid game development jobs in demand. According to Glassdoor, the average yearly salary of a US game designer is $74,118. The minimum stands at $47K, while top specialists earn up to $116K per year.
Little do most people know that game designers come in different flavors. Thus, system design is one of the design domains and in-demand game development jobs. A system game designer channels their efforts on the rules and dynamics of a game rather than its visuals. They are in charge of creating the software systems that will power a video game as well as devising the rules and accompanying calculations for the game. This is the only game design task relevant to any game since all games have rules.
The ideal system designer will have the following skills:
- Strong scripting abilities
- Understanding of narrative structures
- In-depth knowledge of gaming software and hardware
- Experience in game design
- Exposure to game engines, productivity software, ranking systems, and others.
As for the earning potential, system designers are among well-compensated careers in gaming. The national average salary is $68,001 per year in the United States.
Next on our list of demanded jobs in video game development are level designers. As the title implies, a level designer is a person who creates levels for video games. They are engaged in conceptualizing a level idea as well as building the level scheme and creating level documentation. Level designers also build a playable prototype, perform testing and finalize the game logic on the level.
To make it happen, level designers must have the following qualifications:
- Experience in 2D and 3D object creation tools
- Solid background in game engines and coding languages
- In-depth expertise in game testing, and others.
The average yearly remuneration of game level designers is $55486 a year, according to ZipRecruiter.
A game programmer is another salient role among trending game dev jobs. So are game developers in demand? Certainly yes. Essentially, a game programmer is a software developer who specializes in computer games. Therefore, this position involves a variety of code development tasks that help implement game design and translate game concepts into clean code.
Their work scope is broad and may include everything from implementing game balance and tuning to audio effects and controls-specific code. Since game programmers major in different platforms (console, PC, etc), their programming skills vary based on the specific environment.
General requirements include:
- Proficiency in programming languages (C#, C++, Objective-C, Java, and others)
- Knowledge of gameplay concepts and game engines
- Solid knowledge of design patterns and design principles, and others.
Salary expectations match the job complexity – the yearly salary of a game developer stands at the median of $64K, according to Payscale.
AI game programmers are said to grant the game its brain and intelligence so you can enjoy a real-life and more immersive gaming experience. They design core AI systems and archetypes that define the behavior of game characters and elements according to the gameplay of the individual player.
Intel, for example, has made extensive use of Machine learning algorithms to make GTA V hyper-realistic. Red Dead Redemption is another textbook example of how AI gets blended into the game storyline.
To bring about this intelligence experience, game developer jobs come with the following skills:
- Solid background in game coding technologies
- Specific expertise in artificial intelligence concepts and machine learning algorithms
- Understanding of automation scripts, and others.
The average yearly salary of an AI game programmer is on par with the mentioned titles – $60,592 for US-based talent.
A gameplay engineer is a software engineer who designs and implements the control systems and mechanics of a video game. The primary duties of this role are to create code that will allow for interaction between the player and their game environment. The main qualifications usually include training in scripting technologies, knowledge of game engines, and the game loop. A firm grasp of game systems and architecture along with gameplay mechanics is also a much-need qualification for gameplay engineers.
The national average salary is impressive – $82,845 per year with a maximum of $134K.
Game artists are also among sought-after game developer jobs. They are accountable for creating both 2D and 3D art. Thus, everything you see in the game – from game art assets to models and textures – is on game artists. They collaborate with the game designers, animators, developers, and producers to craft visually appealing games that will engage gamers.
The average salary estimate for game artists is $44,395 per year as stated by Glassdoor.
A game character designer is another attractive job for gamers that drives visual game quality. A game character artist is someone who is an expert at creating 3D models and animations of characters that are used in video games. The job can also involve creating new worlds to populate the game, creating props, vehicles, and other aspects of the fictional world.
A proficient character artist must be proficient in:
- Digital sculpting, UV mapping, texturing, and modeling
- Hands-on knowledge of Unreal Engine, Maya, Modo, or equivalent package
- Exposure to modular character sets, and others.
They get a yearly compensation of $75,078 to $89,623 with a median of $82,262 for their services.
Environment creators are also on the creative side of the game developer jobs. They are responsible for creating the virtual worlds on which a video game’s action is based. This can be anything from indoor to outdoor, such as a medieval castle to an alien planet. Since virtual environments have an additional level of complexity, environment artists make sure the game surroundings function and react based on physics laws or game rules.
The knowledge base is similar to other artist fields and includes 3D modeling, level design, basic architecture and lighting, and others. According to Glassdoor, the US remuneration standard is $72,772 per year.
Technical artists are the unsung heroes among the jobs in game development, despite being one of the most important and influential roles on development projects. They act as a middle person between artists and programmers, thus holding skills in both areas. The responsibilities vary by company, yet their main objective is to embed art objects into a game universe without compromising the creative vision or breaking the technical limits of the specific platform.
An ideal technical artist has the following skills:
- Confidence in game engines toolset
- Prototyping skills
- Skills at creating artistic and atmospheric effects (magic, shots, water, dust, fog, rain, etc.);
- Exposure to texturing, optimization, color science, etc.
On average, technical artists make $80,896 in the United States.
Now that we’ve looked into the most demanded game talent on the market, let’s see how you can land one for your next project.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook rate for developers is 22 percent between 2020 and 2030. This percentage indicates a swell in demand for this particular job role which will continue to gain traction. But there’s more.
The global talent shortage has already climbed to 40 million skilled workers worldwide. By 2030, over 85 million jobs could go unfilled because of the lack of skilled talent. Hence, the prospects for finding an ideal hire seem more remote than ever.
Yet, as an experienced game development company, we know some tips and tricks that will help you recruit and retain vetted talent.
Your talent investment shouldn’t end at the hiring stage. On-going developer training is vital to expand the knowledge base and keep your programmers motivated and engaged.
According to the research, 93% of employees confirm that well-planned employee training programs positively affect their level of engagement. Therefore, we always recommend making employee training a priority by allocating the time and resources to make sure your training program is comprehensive. For game developers, courses, conferences, and events like Unite will help your hires retain their competitive edge and keep up with the latest tech trends.
Both game and software development are the two industries with the neck-breaking competition. Companies tend to recruit talent away from a competitor, thus poaching your hire with more benefits. However, a 2019 Glassdoor survey found that 56% of employees prioritize workplace culture over salary. Hence, a breeding workplace environment based on long-term growth and retention is as equally important as competitive rates. If you nurture a supportive work atmosphere with goal-driven values and long-run goals, your company will have more chances of attracting top talent.
The pandemic-induced work realities led to the massive adoption of either remote or hybrid environments. Having had a taste of freedom from office settings, most employees now deny being shackled to the office in a post-pandemic future. According to The State of Remote Engineering, 80% of developers need hybrid options (both home and the office), and one out of three express their wish to work remotely on a regular basis.
And with the rising outsourcing statistics, the stigma of remote work practices is almost gone. Therefore, assembling a remote team now seems the shortcut to accessing a global pool of demanded talents and niche skills.
It is important to keep pace with innovations and maintain the resilience of your product amidst the global talent shortage and evolving business perspectives. Pingle Studio is a global game development partner and outsourcing provider with over 10 years of experience.
Since our start in 2007, we’ve built fruitful relationships with companies like Epic Games, Square Enix, Qualcomm, tinyBuild, Revolution Software, Egosoft, and other industry leaders.
Our teams of game developers support global publishers in extending their in-house talent force. As a company with diverse and steadfast expertise, we cover full-cycle game development, including art and animation, testing, porting, and others.
Now that you know what jobs are in game development, let’s find out how to get into game development so you have a better idea of the technological background. A typical game developer is a person who holds a BA in computer science or computer engineering. After mastering broad coursework, they usually focus on one or a few technologies, which may include C, C#, C++, Java, Python, Lua, or others.
Linear and nonlinear storytelling techniques and narrative techniques are also useful for developers to get a much-needed perspective on game code. Once fresheners hone up their programming skills and get the hang of popular game engines, they can get practical experience by building a simple game for their portfolio.