How To Become a Game Engineer in 7 Steps (With Salaries)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated September 14, 2022
Published September 7, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
If you enjoy video games and are interested in how they're created, becoming a game engineer could be the ideal career choice for you. This role requires creativity, interpersonal skills, and specific technical knowledge. Knowing more about the role can help you decide whether it suits your unique skill set and interests. In this article, we discuss what a game engineer does, explore their average salary and working conditions, explain how to become a game engineer, and answer some frequently asked questions about the role.
What does a game engineer do?
A game engineer is a software developer who creates video games for computers, gaming consoles, tablets, or mobile phones. To do so, they take on the following responsibilities:
Work closely with a development team to discuss and create new video games
Create the software and programs for the game with code
Design the game's systems and mechanics
Review and test the final product before release
Contribute to the game's storyline, script, and character design
Fix errors or bugs in the game
Create and release updates for the games, such as expansion packs
The national average salary for a game engineer is $16.56 per hour. This salary varies depending on your experience, location, education, and the size of the company. Many software development companies prefer to have their headquarters in larger cities, so that is where you can typically find more opportunities and higher pay. Here are the top five highest paying cities in Canada:
Edmonton, Alberta: $18.60 per hour
Toronto, Ontario: $17.54 per hour
Fredericton, New Brunswick: $17.48 per hour
Vancouver, British Columbia: $17.53 per hour
Game engineers typically work a regular Monday to Friday, nine-to-five schedule in an office. They may work overtime close to a game's release date, but typically work 40 hours a week. Game engineers may have their own office or share a workspace with their team to collaborate effectively. They spend most of their time working on a computer or attending meetings with their colleagues.
Related: The 6 Types of Work Environments
How to become a game engineer
Here are some steps you can follow when exploring how to become a game engineer:
1. Seek an entry-level position
Having experience in the industry can improve your chances of getting a game engineer position. Consider relevant entry-level roles, such as quality assurance tester, where you ensure the video game you're playing has no bugs or other issues. Pursuing an entry-level position is a great way to learn more about the industry, meet like-minded individuals, and prepare for a role as a game engineer.
2. Get a bachelor's degree
While working in your entry-level position, it's a good idea to pursue a bachelor's degree to become a game engineer. Most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree or a college diploma to ensure they have the necessary technical knowledge and skills. In addition, consider relevant programs, such as computer science, computer programming, or software development, which most universities and colleges offer.
3. Find an internship
To gain even more relevant experience, pursue an internship. Some college or university programs may even include an internship or placement program, as they give you real-world experience in a controlled environment. Even if your program doesn't require it, it can still be beneficial to pursue an internship on your own. Internships are a great way to network and learn more about the role. If you do well, your employer may even offer you a full-time position after you graduate.
4. Build a portfolio
When you start interviewing for game engineer positions, employers may ask to see your portfolio. Your portfolio is a collection of games or demos you've worked on that exemplify your skills and experience. You can include any projects you've worked on in school or your personal life, as long as they highlight relevant skills a prospective employer may want to see. As a game engineer, your portfolio is typically digital, so consider optimizing it for different platforms.
5. Improve your skills
It's important to develop new skills and improve your existing ones continuously throughout your career. Technology is constantly changing, so you need up-to-date skills and knowledge to attract employers. Consider taking extra courses, seminars, or conferences to improve your skill set.
6. Create your resume
With your new education, skills, and experience, you can create an updated resume. Your educational background is one of the first things employers look for to ensure you have the necessary credentials. Highlight these credentials by including them at the top of your resume. Then, include any relevant work experience you have. Includes your entry-level roles, internship, or any other position you had where you learned valuable skills.
End your resume by including the skills you have that you know prospective employers value Look through job postings or descriptions you're interested in to determine what these skills are and how you can feature your relevant experiences in your application. Note keywords that come up often and ensure to include them in your resume to help you stand out. You can also consider developing skills you see regularly throughout your search.
7. Prepare for your interviews
After you submit your resume to a few employers, you may start to receive some invitations to interview. To improve your chances of getting the job, it's important to prepare for your interview beforehand. One of the best ways to do this is to research potential questions the interviewer may ask you and prepare your answers. Interviewers usually ask a mix of general and role-specific questions to get to know you and your experience better. Preparing potential answers to these questions helps you feel more confident in the interview.
Another way to prepare for your interview is to pick a professional outfit that can help you make a good first impression. Research the company's culture and dress code to determine which type of outfit is appropriate. Next, ensure the clothing you pick is wrinkle-free and clean to add to your positive image. Finally, ensure you arrive early and greet everyone you meet. This shows prospective employers that you're punctual and friendly, two great qualities for a game engineer.
Frequently asked questions about game engineers
To help you decide whether gaming engineer is the right career for you, here are some answers to frequently asked questions you may have:
What skills does a game engineer need?
Game engineers need a mix of hard and soft skills to be successful, such as the following:
Interpersonal skills: Game engineers work closely with an entire development team and often clients as well. To work with your team effectively, strong interpersonal skills are necessary.
Creativity: To design and develop new video games with unique features, you must be creative. Your creativity can help you develop new and exciting ideas, helping your work stand out.
Problem-solving skills: If you have any bugs or issues with your games, you need problem-solving skills to develop a solution. Problem-solving skills also make you a more effective team member, as you can brainstorm ideas and solutions with your team.
IT skills: IT skills, such as knowing how to code, are essential as a game engineer. You will learn the IT skills you need in school, but it's important to update them constantly.
Time-management skills: You likely have to abide by strict deadlines in this role to ensure you complete all your projects on time. Time-management skills are essential to help you prioritize, multitask when necessary, and adhere to deadlines.
Communication skills: Verbal and written communication skills help you collaborate more effectively, making you a better team member and game engineer. You can also benefit from developing your active listening skills as part of your communication abilities.
What are job prospects like for game engineers?
Job prospects vary significantly depending on whether you live in an urban centre or rural area, and even vary by province and territory. According to the Government of Canada's Job Bank, here are the job prospects for game engineers:
British Columbia: good
New Brunswick: good
Newfoundland and Labrador: good
Northwest Territories: undetermined
Nova Scotia: good
Prince Edward Island: good
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.
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