Play for Life: What You Need to Know About Becoming a Video Game Developer

become video game developer

If you love video games, you’re definitely not alone!

Gaming is a 23.5 billion dollar industry, with 63 percent of homes housing at least one person who plays video games. Women make up almost half of the gaming population, and the average gamer is 35 years old.

With such an exciting industry that is constantly evolving (think virtual reality, gamification and more) why wouldn’t you want to take your hobby to the next level and create a career of it?

If you’re seriously considering becoming a video game developer, you’re in the right place! Learn some helpful first steps that you can take to level up to your future career.

6 tips for future video game developers

1. Dive in to development

"You will learn so much through trial and error."

“Dive in and start making games,” advises Matt Engesser of Epic Games. “You will learn so much through trial and error. Also this will allow you to see all the different aspects that go into making a video game, even if it is a simple platform.”

He recommends downloading a free game engine that will help you get started, such as Unreal Engine. Another option for rookie game developers is Game Salad.

2. Check out conventions

“Networking will be a huge help and conventions are the best place to start,” Engesser says. He recommends saving up some cash to check out the Penny Arcade Expo, a conference for game fanatics featuring console free play, panels, a hand-held lounge and more with five locations around the states. Then possibly, attend the more “formal environment” of the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

According to the GDC website, the conference “features over 400 lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions on a comprehensive selection of game development topics taught by leading industry experts.” The conference also boasts their inclusion of some of the most relevant game development tools, platforms and services, which would make it a great place for someone interested in game development careers to stay relevant and make connections.

3. Pick a position

There are several different individual roles fall under the umbrella of game development, including animators, audio engineers, game designers and more. So take some time to research and explore to find out where your interests truly lie.

“Game development is one of the most appealing sectors in the software community,” says Jordan Hudgens, CTO of and cofounder of devCamp. “Within the game dev category there are multiple positions to pursue, including backend programming, user interface design, and various SysOps and DevOps roles, so it's important to first select what type of game development ecosystem that you want to fit in.”

4. Get educated

Like most tech-based professions, one of your first steps into the industry is gaining a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build your career. With such a variety of roles and responsibilities, educational paths may vary, but for the most part a background in computer science, software engineering or other related fields is preferred. Engesser chose the path of computer game design, graduating with a traditional bachelor’s degree. You can also begin learning the languages of video games to be even further prepared.

“From a language standpoint most games are built in C++, Java and Lua, with Lua probably being the easiest to learn,” Hudgens says. “From a design perspective, developers should have a solid understanding of frameworks such as Unity.”

5. Find an internship

“Internships are the next level as those will literally get your foot in the door,” Engesser explains.  “You will gain relevant experience in the field and network at the exact same time.”

Engesser found that the majority of internship opportunities in the gaming industry were on the coasts, so if you’re serious about game development, you may want to consider relocating.

6. Be a learner

"Learn how to teach yourself almost anything."

In the tech industry as a whole, change is the name of the game. As a video game developer you will be in a state of constant evolution as new technologies and trends emerge. Learning to embrace the change is all part of the adventure.

“Learn how to teach yourself almost anything,” Engesser says. “I find myself daily having to learn new processes and tools to help out in various ways on my project.” He believes your biggest asset in the industry will be the ability to adapt and learn on the fly.

Control your career

Becoming a video game developer is a great career option for a gamer like you, but it can be a competitive field. If you’re not willing to relocate to chase down the career of your dreams, that’s ok!

There are several in-demand tech careers available in your own backyard that allow you to capitalize on those same skills and interests. Find the perfect fit for your future by familiarizing yourself with the Top 10 Computer Science Careers.


This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

Megan is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She hopes to engage and intrigue current and potential students.

Receive Personalized Information Today

  • Personalized financial aid
  • Customized support services
  • Detailed program plan
  • Attend a no-obiligation Nursing Information Session
  • Meet the Dean of Nursing
  • Enrollment application
  • Personalized financial aid
  • Career path guidance

How may we contact you?

Please complete all fields

What would you like to study?

The program you have selected is not available in your area. Please select another program of interest.

By requesting information, I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided.

Share Your Story Ideas
Our campuses and online community have stories to tell and we want to hear them! Did your campus raise the most money in the community for an organization? Do you have online study tips for other students? Would you like to share a personal success story about overcoming an obstacle while earning your degree?
To have your story idea considered:
  • You must be a faculty member, current student or graduate
  • Story ideas must be regarding Rasmussen College or an inspiring story about a student at Rasmussen College
  • Your submission must be original and may not have been published elsewhere online already
Please Note: Your story idea may be featured on the Rasmussen College News Beat or on one of our social networks. A member of our news team will contact you should we move forward with a blog post.
Feel free to suggest an idea for a blog post to be featured on the Rasmussen College News Beat by filling out the form below:

First Name: (required)

Last Name: (required)

Email Address: (required)

Phone Number: (required)

500 characters or less


Your Story Idea Has Been Submitted

Thank you for sending us a story idea! We’re reviewing submissions and may contact you soon to learn more about your story. In the meantime, make sure to check out our current blogs to see what’s happening on campus.