Simulation and game developers create computer games and software and then run simulations to test their designs, ensuring the programs perform as intended. They typically hold at least a bachelor's degree and are trained and experienced in various programming languages.
Simulation and game developers are a specialized group of computer applications software engineers. They design and test simulation software and computer games for many types of employers. The most basic requirement for entry-level positions is a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics or a programming-related field. Some employers require a master's degree, and professional certifications also might be helpful.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in computer science or another relevant field|
|Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)*||22% for all software developers|
|Average Salary (2021)**||$87,303 (for a software developer working in the entertainment or video game software development industry)|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.
Salary Information for Simulation and Game Developers
PayScale.com reported in May 2021 that the mean salary for software developers working with entertainment and video game software was $87,303. The website noted that, among professionals in the entertainment and video game software development industry, senior software engineers, developers and programmers earned the highest mean salary, at $129,000 as of May 2021. Software engineers in this industry earned a mean of $97,000 at that same time, while video game designers made $66,152. Associate video game producers in the industry earned a mean of $53,783.
Career Information for Simulation and Game Developers
Simulation and game developers design, develop, and test applications for government agencies, military training departments, and private companies. Developers identify user needs, assess application demands, and then create or modify software using program languages such as C, C++, Java, or Python. Developers may also be responsible for troubleshooting software or providing insight into areas for improvement.
Most employers require a bachelor's degree in computer programming, information systems, or other related field. Some colleges and universities offer degrees in game and simulation programming. Course topics include mathematical applications, player interaction, and spatial design. Experiential lab courses offer students opportunities to develop simulated games, evaluate constructs, and assess user appeal.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some employers may prefer candidates who have attained industry or vendor certifications such as Sun Certified Java Developer (SCJD) or Sun Certified Business Component Developer (SCBCD) (www.bls.gov). Others may prefer candidates who have obtained a Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science or related field. Candidates with advanced experience coupled with business skills and training may have better opportunities for promotion.
The BLS estimates that job opportunities for software developers are expected to rise by 22% between 2019 and 2029. Career paths for simulation and game developers include chief technology officer, systems consultant, or information systems manager. Developers may also be promoted to project managers or systems analysts.
Simulation and game developers are required to have a degree in a field like mathematics, computer science or a subject area related to computer programming. Increased job opportunities may be available to those with experience, industry certifications or a master's degree, and business skills are also an asset for these professionals. All software developers can expect to see a much faster than average job growth from 2019-2029.