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Career Path: How to Become a Gaming Engineer

Thinking of becoming a gaming engineer? It’s not hard to see why. One of the fastest growing sectors in the world, the gaming industry is expected to hit over $230 billion by 2011, with software sales accounting for over 50% of generated revenue. If you’re creative, have good communication skills, enjoy programming and you’re passionate about video games, then a career in game engineering may be the right fit.

Getting Started. Learn More About the industry

A career in gaming engineering can go in different directions. Do you want to build games for consoles or ...more

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Career Path: How to Become a Gaming Engineer

Thinking of becoming a gaming engineer? It’s not hard to see why. One of the fastest growing sectors in the world, the gaming industry is expected to hit over $230 billion by 2011, with software sales accounting for over 50% of generated revenue. If you’re creative, have good communication skills, enjoy programming and you’re passionate about video games, then a career in game engineering may be the right fit.

Getting Started. Learn More About the industry

A career in gaming engineering can go in different directions. Do you want to build games for consoles or work as a gaming engineer for mobile platforms? Do you want to build games on the Unreal Engine or work with development platforms like Unity? Knowing what the options are will help you in deciding what programming languages or tools to learn.

Get a Degree

It’s possible to become a gaming engineer without a college degree, but you’re likely to face a stiffer challenge getting an internship job. Obviously, a game-related design degree is the easiest route to becoming a gaming developer/engineer because it gives you the opportunity to learn more about important gaming concepts like modeling, character development and game mechanics while formalizing your qualifications. However, most recruiters are flexible on the issue, as long as candidates have a degree and the necessary skill for the position.

You can still get a job with a degree in other fields like fine arts, applied science, media and even business. To put in in perspective, in 2018, only 11 percent of game engineers had game-related degrees and less than a quarter of the developers actually went to game school. On the other hand, less than nine percent of game developers did not attend college—so an education is important.

Learn More About Coding and Design

Game engineering and programming go hand-in-hand. If you’re new to coding, try learning Python and then move on to other programming languages like C++ and C#. You can also learn more about game development platforms and apps, such as Unity and Adobe Creative Suite.

Build Indie Games

Start creating games. If you don’t have a degree, then a crucial path to becoming a gaming engineer is having a portfolio that shows what you can do. Gaming companies place a lot more weight on skill and experience than they do on education. A good portfolio should include several games—preferably games that can be played to completion with active links for installation. It should also feature source codes for the game, several gaming screenshots and possible reviews.

Apply for Internship Positions

Working as an intern gives you invaluable experience in gaming development as well as helps build your resume. While it’s okay to apply for internship positions at major companies like Insomniac Games, EA Games or LucasArts, competition at these companies means that you’re going to have a harder time getting in. A good tip is to focus on smaller companies or younger startups with a good team. You can then work your way up from there. Depending on the size of the company, your responsibilities may include:

  • Working closely with game development team members
  • Communicating with artists, game modelers and designers
  • Assisting with programming using languages like C#, C++ and Java
  • Performing routine debugging
  • Translating gaming requirements into efficient code
  • Working on the base engine or game prototype

Work as a Game Tester or any Other Game-Related Role

You don’t have to start your gaming career as an intern or junior engineer. A quick way of breaking into the gaming industry is to apply to be a game tester. That’s because unlike junior-level positions, the requirement for most testing jobs isn’t as steep—they don’t require specialized training or a degree. And because most game testers rarely stay in the position for long, you’re likely to find more vacancies.

You can also apply for jobs in gaming studios that aren’t related to game development. Like starting off as the studio’s web developer or system administrator before then slowly make the transition into game development.

Advance Your Career: How to Become a Senior Gaming Engineer

Senior level gaming engineers typically work as lead developers, supervising projects and mentoring junior developers. They may be responsible for managing the developing team as well as the execution of projects. To qualify for this position, you’ll need good communication and leadership skill as well as strong technical skills.

Expand your Skills and Qualification

While education requirements vary for different employers, most jobs require that senior gaming engineers be proficient programmers. Improve your qualifications and give yourself an edge in the competitive market by expanding your experience with core programming languages. Senior gaming engineers also display a strong grasp of core areas like 3D illustration, graphic design and game conceptualizing. You can also prepare yourself for an advanced position by taking programming courses, high-level math or physics.

Build your Experience

Senior and mid-level gaming engineer positions often require a minimum of five years for the role. You will need to display a genuine passion for designing and developing video games. It also helps if you have a diverse portfolio that displays your comfort with different types of games. Other technical skills that can improve our qualification include experience with frameworks like SCRUM.

Network

Competition within the gaming industry is fierce, so you’ll need to be a step ahead to improve your odds. Sign up with professional networks where you can meet and interact with other engineers and developers. You can also expand your network through social media channels and online forums. Conventions and conferences provide a good opportunity to make new connections as well as learn more about emerging technology.

Your duties as a senior gaming engineer may vary depending on the size of the company. For instance, within larger game studios, gaming engineers often focus more on particular areas such as graphic, networking or artificial intelligence. But in smaller studios, game engineers are more likely to combine the duties of a designer with that of a developer, so in addition to programming, they’re also involved with animation, modeling, localization and concept design.

Gaming Engineer Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level gaming engineer with between 2 and 5 years of relevant experience.

We’re looking for a mid-level gaming engineer who can impact our game visuals. You’ll work closely with our development team, collaborating on a range of disciples. You’ll also be expected to assist principle engineers ensuring proper code adherence and creating functionality when needed. If you’re eager to work in a fast, dynamic space and have a passion for contributing towards creatively game tiles, we’re a good pick. Our developers and engineers are versatile and self-motivated, can work in a self-directed manner or in a collaborative setting as needed, and display leadership qualities.

What We Need Your Help With:

  • Contributing to the audio and visual features of the game
  • Creating validation procedures to ensure quality
  • Developing the base engine on which games will be built
  • Assisting with the generation of scripts and storyboards
  • Polishing the game code to iron out bugs and occurring problems
  • Animating objects and characters
  • Collaborate with software developers, game engineers, animators, modelers and game designers
  • Establish and maintain best practices in engineering team through technical leadership
  • Perform code reviews, design document critiques and brainstorm with the team throughout the game development process

What We Look For

  • Experience with core programming languages like Java, C and C++
  • Experience in full life cycle game development
  • A creative, forward-thinking approach to solving problems
  • 5+ years of skilled experience in 3D animation, physics, 3D rendering, physics or networking
  • Good knowledge of APIs and libraries
  • An ability to work independently
  • Bachelor’s degree in Game Technology, Software development, Computer Science or a related field
  • Exemplary communication skills; able to map problem-solution space and explain possible solutions to non-technical team members
  • Good organizational skills and flexibility to meet deadlines
  • Passion for learning new technologies fast

These Would Also Be Nice

  • 3D Math knowledge
  • Experience with building console games
  • Knowledge of game asset streaming systems
  • Knowledge of Android and Apple build processes
  • Knowledge of Android Studio, Xcode or Unity

Senior Gaming Engineer Career Paths: Where to Go From Here

With 10 years of experience in the gaming industry, your career options expand at a much faster rate. If you’ve worked within the same studio and built a good reputation, you’ll have a real shot of going on to become the studio lead developer. But that’s not your only option. Games are created in different forms across a range of industries. So in addition to gaming consoles and PC games, you can develop games for other companies such as marketing agencies, mobile phone companies, broadcasters, educational institutes and more.

You can also expand your career in new directions, specializing in different areas of game development. For instance, you can enroll in a postgraduate degree and specialize in game audio design or make the switch from game development to game design. Other possible senior level positions include working as a Team Manager, Senior Developer or Technical Director.

If you have experience managing game projects and are skilled in core development areas like interactive game applications and wireless platforms, you could head studios as a Game Producer. Alternatively—if you have a passion for gaming and strong creative streak—you could leverage your experience towards becoming a Creative Game Director, charged with shaping the artistic vision of the projects.

Virtual Reality (VR) offers appealing options. With major companies like Google and Samsung invested in the technology and gaming studios working towards VR titles, the demand for VR game engineers is on the rise. A career in VR would require experience with game development, graphics programming and high proficiency in C/C++. You could sign up for a college degree in VR and augmented reality (AR) or take a crash course with a VR development bundle.

Whatever you decide, always consider your personal needs. Because, in the end, the best career option will be one that aligns your skills as a gaming engineer with your personal interests and passion as a gaming enthusiast.

Unity is a popular game engine and development environment that allows rapid development of games targeting many platforms, including: PC, Mac, WebGL, Android, iOS, tvOS, XBox 360, XBox One, PS4, 3DS, Wii U, Switch, and others. Developers wrote c...

Java is a statically-typed, cross-platform language. It is concurrent, class-based, and object-oriented. It has minimal implementation dependencies and compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilat...

C++

C++ is an object-oriented language derived from C, and invented by Bjarne Stroustrup, while working at AT&T's Bell Labs. It is widely used for systems-level programming, and building applications on Windows and various Unix operating systems (Lin...

C

C is a widely used low-level, static-typed, compiled computer language known for its efficiency. Developed in the late sixties, C has become one of the most widely used languages of all time. It provides direct access to memory and due to its de...

Python is an object-oriented programming language notable for its clarity, power and flexibility. Python is an interpreted language, meaning that an interpreter reads and runs the code directly, rather than compiling down into static lower level c...

Swift is a programming language created by Apple Inc. for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS development. It is meant to work well with the large body of existing Objective-C (ObjC) code written for Apple products. Some of the core concepts it supports...

PHP

PHP is a widely-used open-source scripting language that has seen wide use in web application development. PHP code must be processed by an interpreter like the Zend Engine. With a strong open-source community and large adoption world-wide, PHP ...

Android is an open source mobile operating system created by Google. Globally, it is the most popular operating system, followed by Apple's iOS. Applications for Android are typically developed in Java, though Kotlin may also be used. Limited supp...

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally implemented in web browsers, but now widely used server-side via the Node.js platform. It supports a runtime system based on numerical, Boolean and string values, with built-in, first-class support f...

Top industries hiring Gaming Engineers

Gaming

The Gaming Industry has moved past casinos and resorts. Video games have not only become mainstream but extremely profitable. In the United States alone, gaming generated $9.5 billion in 2007 up to $11.7 billion in 2008 and soaring to $25.1 billio...

Platform

With an increase in spending noted for the overall information technology industry, it’s no wonder that platform jobs are projected to be in demand as companies seek ways to streamline processes and increase efficiency. Platform jobs are a subs...

eCommerce

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Retail was once a brick-and-mortar industry, comprised of small, independently owned-and-operated businesses and large chain stores with multiple outposts throughout the c...

Robotics

Robotics combines the fields of mechanical engineering, computer science and electrical engineering into one discipline. Engineers are responsible for the design, construction and operation of robots as well as the sensory feedback, information...

Education

The education industry involves working in an environment that implements and teaches various skills and applicable material. Formal education typically involves various levels of education, including preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary, vo...

Manufacturing

Manufacturing involves creating merchandise through various forms of labor or machinery, including processing and formulation. There are many different types of manufacturing, including agile, flexible, just-in-time and lean manufacturing. Othe...

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