Video Game Programmer Salary: Gaining a Lucretive Career Doing What You Love

In another one of my articles I talked about why starting a career in the video game industry could potentially be a good idea for those wanting to create their own games and begin a career. This related article about the video game programmer salary is going to be discussing this position in a bit more detail by comparison as game programmer was only one of the positions I talked about in that other article.

The Potential

There’s something you might not know about game programming: Video game programmers have, on average, the highest salaries of any development job in the game industry. Generally, programming for video game salaries start at around $40,000 a year, with a median salary of $62,000. Six or more years of experience can have the pay hit an average of $105,000 per year — even in some cases approaching $120,000 at big name studios like Naughty Dog.

LearnDirect career advice puts the starting salary for video game artists and programmers at about $37,000 a year, while experienced designers and lead programmers and producers earn around $85,000. In the US, game designers make $3,500 to $5,000 per month and game programmers make $5,000 to $8,000 per month at the entry level, and those salaries are considered low compared to other industries and given the insane amount of work those jobs often require.

Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry and a big job creator in the U.S. The game design specialization prepare students to work as writers, animators, programmers, and software developers. Although there is no data available for the job outlook specific to video game programmers, the general field of software developers is projected to grow faster than average.


Programmers And Job Outlook

Video game programmers use their skills in computer science and software programming to create code that can be easily adapted to video games. Also, what exactly do video game programmers do and are there other video game jobs that are in the video game industry that are just as good when it comes to the salary? To better understand things lets first define what a game programmer is that way we can better understand what they do. A video game programmer is essentially a software engineer, programmer, or computer scientist who develops code bases for video games. On that note, programmers are likely the key most important position in the entire game industry.

They’re like the architects of the game world as there are many specialized positions that this interesting and challenging field diversifies into such as: game engine programmer, physics engine programmer and graphics engine programmer just to name a few. One thing you could say all these disciplines have in common is that as a career choice they can put you that much closer to professionally creating your own original game title if that’s your ultimate career goal anyway.

Job growth for computer graphic designers with Simulation and Game Programming skills was expected to be ten percent between 2006 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Game programmers can eventually go on to become lead programmers, production supervisors or video game technical directors. For software developers which can be a type of game programmer growth is expected to increase by 24% between 2016-2026, definitely something to think about if your looking to get into game development.

Junior programmers with less than one year’s experience can expect to make $55,000, according to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), However, the entry-level salary for a Simulation and Game Programming professional varies from one company to another. Video game programmers process the work of designers, developers, and other specialists to create an application that provides a full, rich entertainment experience. It’s typically difficult to enter the video gaming industry, but internship opportunities from companies like Sony and EA Games can provide valuable experience and connections to help aspiring video game programmers secure a job after graduating.

Programmers vs. Designers

As with any industry, pay in game design and development jobs runs a wide range from entry-level jobs at the lower end to the highest-paying executive positions that require the most experience. Video game programmers earn quite a high salary, with even the most inexperienced candidates getting a yearly average of around $57,000. Video game designers may design a road and a bunch of cars to race on it, but it is the programmer’s job to decide how fast the cars would run, how far those would bounce over an obstacle, and so on. It is also the programmers’ job to make sure that the games run smoothly, without crashing. When you look at the numbers, a video game programmer salary doesn’t sound like a bad idea. In Fact; it sounds rather attractive from my standpoint.

I know that at least some of you reading this likely have some level of programming skills. You probably have already used your skills to create some code here and there. You may have already created a simple game as part of your hobby and that is awesome. I know a guy on YouTube who has skills in programming and he created a simpler video game about a mouse going on adventures in some kind of fantasy world.

Following Your Dreams and Final Thoughts

Now when you first here that it sounds like some Mickey Mouse game produced by Disney but the guy showed clips of his game and I can  assure you it’s not Mickey Mouse at all. The guy created his own original concept with his own original character. They’re villains, power ups, levels the whole ensemble, the game was 2d and looked a lot like retro games from the 80’s like Dig Dug. I’m not sure how many of you might remember that game but if you have ever played the game before you know what I’m talking about, it can be considered a classic right alongside Ms. Pacman. You might understand what I’m saying and even If you don’t you can always google Dig Dug.

The design of the YouTuber’s game reminds me of Dig Dug but everything else reminds me of Super Mario World. I’m looking at that and I’m saying to myself ”that’s amazing I wouldn’t mind playing that.” I even got a little inspired to learn coding and create my own game or rather I’m certainly going to look into it. Of course the point of all this is the fact that you can take a simple project like that and one day turn it into a large professional production.

A production where you are the lead programmer with multiple professionals working underneath you and helping you to make your dream come true. I’m pretty sure a lot of people who are into programming have that dream. When you think about things in that way a video game programmer salary can be a viable option for a career one that will not only make you good money but also bring you that much closer to bringing your own dreams to life and sharing them with others.

P.S. Let me know what you guys think in the comments I would love to here your thoughts.


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