Games Programmers - Description
A game programmer is a software engineer who primarily develops computer or video games. Games programming has many specialized disciplines, such as a graphics programmer, sound programmer, user interface programmers, game scripters and many others. All of these profiles would consider themselves to be "game programmers". A game programmer should not be confused with a game designer. While many games designers are also programmers it is rare for one person to do both in modern games development.
Games Programmers - Education
There are now specific study programs that lead to a college degree in games programming. The list of accredited universities to offer this program is still fairly short, but as the gaming industry continues to grow, more universities will likely add this program to their computer science offerings.
Career Path - Games Programmers
While much of the career potential depends on which specialty of game development one is involved in, in general, there is mostly a progression from entry level games developer up through Senior and Lead Development positions. Some games developers will start out in one area of game development and end up branching out into specialty based on talents and interests. As of 2006, the average salary in the US for the games industry (as a whole) was approximately $75,000. The average annual salary for games programmers specifically was just over $80,000. The 2007 Games Developer Game Career Guide is available for digital download (requires a payment of $5.95).
Companies that Hire Games Programmers
The Games Developer Magazine site has a list of job openings for various game development related positions. Here are some of the top companies that hire games programmers and games developers: