|Education level :||Bachelor’s degree|
|Recommended high school degree specialisation :||Scientific|
|Employability :||Very good|
|Beginner’s salary :||€ 3,100|
|Experienced salary :||€ 6,000|
|Mobility :||Very good|
|ROME code :||M1805|
|FAP code :||M2790|
The role of the video game creator is therefore essential. Following the specifications drawn up by the project manager, the programmer, also known as a video game developer or designer, creates the game engine and brings the game to life, thanks to their coding skills. It is up to them to design the sound and video interfaces, the menus and all the elements provided by the other members of the team.
This is confirmed by David Nasr, programmer at Pastagames : « A programmer is an essential link in the game production chain. The programmer will bring the game to life by adding interaction and integrating the assets (images, audio, 3D models, etc). »
The responsibilities of the video game programmer
« Programming creates the interactivity of the project. Without it, nothing happens. Therefore, they are at the centre of the application and allow the gaming world to come to life, » recalls Julien Millet.
The primary responsibilities of the developer are fourfold:
- It needs analysis
- Detailed program writting
- Performing test
- Bug fixes
In some cases, a programmer may also specialise in an area of expertise such as 3D, creating development tools or building blocks for games, etc.
« The profession is evolving in the sense that we are talking about a full stack developer as like with the Web, and no longer just a technical skill or a single speciality« , specifies Jean Mariotte, co-founder of EVA – Esports Virtual Arenas.
The abilities of a video game programmer
This profession inevitably requires you to be on the lookout for new developments, trends and technological developments. But they must have an essential grasp on technical skills to master the tools and methods used daily. And the tools needed are many :
- Development languages C #, C ++, Java, etc.
- Graphical programming (HLSL shaders)
- Team development tools(Perforce, Git, etc.)
- Network programming for connected games
- Conception methods
- Production, integration, visualisation and test tools
- Project management knowledge
- Basic knowledge of technical English
- Data management
In additionJean Mariotte, says that a developer must also have the ability to excel in their responsibilities.
Specialisations by video game engine
To become a video game programmer, you must have good knowledge of video game engines. Often, video game developers specialise in an engine, a technology. Examples of video game engines:
- Unreal engine
- Cry Engine
Below are some examples of engine interfaces that you will need to know if you become a video game programmer.
Who better than a video game professional to list the essential qualities of a video game creator. Julien Millet gives us several:
- « Have an analytical mind
- Have a sense of logic
- Be able to organise complex thoughts
- Know how to work in a team
- Be multi-faceted. »
And Florian Reneau adds : « Above all, they must be curious, proactive and autonomous. A game that does not perform well will almost always be their fault. It is, therefore, necessary to be meticulous from the first minute so that production runs smoothly throughout the development of the project. »
This job also requires them « o be methodical, to like to solve problems, to be curious and to propose new things », argues David Nasr.
Studies needed to become a video game programmer.
To become a video game developer, you can choose between several options:Licence, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, MSc. One is a 3-year diploma, and the other 2 are 2-year degrees with a specialisation in video game technologies. You need to have specialised in science before entering this specialised school.
A strong taste for mathematics is a plus because code is the official language of the programmer. Then, you will have to choose a video game programmer course.
Faced with the challenges of developing a video game, companies often ask for a degree in computer science or specialisation in video games. It’s a plus !
For this, the G. Tech school (one of the three Gaming Campus schools) offers everyone passionate about video games and wishing to discover coding languages two professional courses to train for the profession of video game programmer. Firstly the IT Development Bachelor’s degree specialising in video games. In 3 years, you will be taught to do this profession with an annual internship to best integrate into the world of work.
Then the MSc in Video Game Programming. This course takes over two years and teaches all the elements to meet the needs of professionals with management modules. It is supplemented by the last year of immersion in a company with a work-study program or multiple internships.
We also ask you to carry out concrete projects by developing a mobile application, a hyper casual mobile game or a more classic game.
In France, the number of students engaged in courses of this type is estimated at approximately 5,000 each year.Find out more
The programmes of our two courses emphasise professionalisation. That is to say; we do everything to ensure that the courses are adapted to the challenges of the profession you aspire to. This is why we offer you both theoretical and practical lessons, internships, and professional meetings. In detail, the 5 years is based on:
For the Bachelor :
- The history of video games
- Game design
- Sound design
- Network systems
- Game engines
- Development of web applications
- Gaming economy
- Labour and company law
For the MSc :
- Financial management
- Business creation
- Project management
- IT development
- Deepening of programming languages
- The architecture of game engines
- Mastery of different video game engines (Unity 3D, Unreal, etc.)
- Graphic programming
- Big data
Apply for a course
We ask you to have at least a high school diploma specialising in mathematics or a technological specialisation to join our 1st year of G. Tech. As a video game developer, you need to be comfortable with math.
We allow students of BTS, DUT in computer science, technology, a bachelor’s in science, or computer science to enter the bachelor’s degree in the 3rd year directly.
In addition, we are not part of the Parcoursup process, so you can freely apply for our diploma recognised by the EEA Eduniversal rating agency..
For our MSc in Video game programming (RNCP title, level 7), you must have a bachelor’s degree.
Our school makes every effort to ensure that our students are future qualified professionals. This is why we make sure that they are confronted with the reality of the working world through internships. There are some throughout the training.
In the bachelor’s degree, the internship periods extend from two months in the 1st and 2nd year to three months at the end of the 3rd year.
There are six months in the 4th year and a 5th year exclusively in internships, work-study programmes, and professionalising contracts in MSc.
Sites such as AFJV, Seek-Team, Welcome to the jungle or even Gaming job regularly offer internship offers.
But also, it is essential not to neglect more general job sites that show ads like:
We also distribute offers within the school.
Video game programmer salary
Salaries vary according to years of experience and companies. A junior programmer can earn between 20,000 and 40,000 euros gross annually. Over time, their remuneration can reach 50,000 euros or even, in some cases, 90,000 euros.
In Montreal, the salary for a programmer averages $ 64,000. The lowest salaries still reach 50,000 dollars.
In the United States, in San Francisco, salaries are between $ 50,000 and $ 90,000.
Which company to work in ?
If there is one career where you can work in almost any studio, it is a video game programmer. All companies have one or more programmers. Whether it is a serious game creation company like the Lyon-based Dowino or internationally renowned studios like Nintendo, Arkane Studios in Lyon, Gameloft or Green Panda Games, they all hire programmers. Gateways also exist towards the IT or web sectors.
A video game developer is a technical profession sought by studios both in France and abroad. Someone who has a Bachelor in video game development, for example, will be able to do this career and gradually take on responsibilities by moving up to the position of senior programmer. A programmer can also try their hand at jobs such as a technical director, consider project management or even become an R&D engineer in an innovative company.
According to David Nasr, a programmer can also specialise. « They can become a lead developer, a technical lead or a communication lead. The lead developer will suggest technologies to use and be the technical referent, while the communication lead will be more involved in communication and team management. The advantage of being a programmer is that you can also change industries quite quickly and therefore not stay in video games all your life. «
How to become a freelance video game programmer?
Many people have chosen to become freelance video game programmers. It is relatively easy to be one, even though you have to start your business by finding your first customers. It requires perseverance, rigour, talent. The point of being independent is being able to be free. To work for studios in France and abroad, to create your own games. To be able to work from home or with the client. There is real flexibility in freelancing.
The pros and cons
While this is one of the most popular and essential professions in video games, it also comes with its share of pros and cons. In detail, here they are :
- Opportunity to progress in various sectors, to specialise
- Progressive salary
- Strong employability
- Having enough experience to stand out, because there are many programmers
- You can’t count your hours
Famous video game programmers
Behind each successful video game hides a programmer. Among the best known are Mark Cerny, programmer at the time for Atari and Sega; he was at the origin of Sonic 2 and Knack. Today, we owe him… the PS5. Eric Chahi is a famous Frenchman known for Another World, which was released in 1991. Christophe Balestra is recognised worldwide for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
Video game developer