This article is for you guys (or gals) out there planning on breaking into the game industry by becoming game programmers. It’s a very tough field, so don’t expect to get a job right away after college/university unless you’ve been planning for it all along. From my intense research, I’ve compiled a small guide to give you a good idea of what you’re about to get into.

The human resources department of big game publishers have fun weeding out all the junky resumes and broken demos. Let’s assume that more than 50% of all young gamers want to become game programmers. Imagine the competition (good and bad)! That’s why it’s necessary to come ready for the worst when looking to score your first job.

Let’s go through the qualifications most companies look for in entry-level game programmers:

  • Intermediate C++ (orĀ Java)
  • Knowledge of DirectX (orĀ OpenGL)
  • Excellent Math skills (Trigonometry and Linear Algebra)
  • Having worked on several game projects in the past (approx. 1 year experience)
  • A working demo
  • Enthousiasm

Feeling overwhelmed already? For what you get at the end of the road, I think it’s worth it.

As for the 1 year experience, this is why I mentioned earlier how important planning is. This time can include working on personal projects, as long as you have something to show for. Expect to be asked which types of games you’ve made in the past, the techniques you’ve used, and the problems you’ve encountered. Companies arn’t looking for fresh fish; they don’t have time to waste on hopefuls.

The other specifics sometimes depend on who’s hiring. However, the C++ requirement almost never changes. Why? Because the game industry still uses C++ because of how flexible the langague is, and the number of programmers still using it to this day. If you’ve never done C++, now’s a good time to learn it; trust me, it will never go to waste.

I hope this article has given you a good idea of what to expect. Give me a shout if you think I’ve forgotten an important detail.