10.6. Programmers


This stage is an edited excerpt from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Outlook report for Video Game Development.

Programmers see a video game differently from the way its players—or even their fellow game development team members—do. To programmers, a video game consists of numerous lines of code that dictate how the computer should handle everything from the game’s rules to its graphics. Under the guidance of the lead development team, programmers build video games from the ground up: writing code, line by line, in computer programs.

Programmers use different types of coding languages. Each language has different capabilities, and programmers choose the language that best suits their needs. The type of language that programmers select also is determined by the type of platforms—computers, consoles, or mobile devices—on which the game will be released. Creating a full-featured video game requires many different types of programmers. Common programming jobs include:


Almost all programmers must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering. Some colleges and universities have specialized programs that focus on video game programming.

Most importantly, programmers must be experts in the programming languages and operating systems used in game development. Nearly all programmers are skilled in C or C++, computer languages that are commonly used to create video games. Depending on their specialty or the game platform, programmers also might need to know other languages, such as Perl, Assembly, or Lua.


Optional: Here is some specific advice from programmers at Hi-Rez Studios about how to get started: