With a current valuation of over $178 billion worldwide and growth predicted to reach over $260 billion by 2025, the video game industry is one of the most lucrative business sectors offering plenty of career options. With the skyrocketing growth, most big-tech giants like Google, Netflix, and Amazon are scrambling to claim their market share. With gaming increasingly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, this is an excellent time for those interested in a gaming career to get in on the boom.
The top recruiting firms for gamers report programmers earn an average of over $140K annually, with salaries ranging from $90K to over $250K per year. However, virtually all computer game jobs require knowing multiple programming languages, and knowing the right languages is critical for landing the top video game programmer jobs. To help you prepare, here is a list of the best programming languages used for game development:
C++ is most often the go-to language for most programmers when learning the basic concepts of data structures and algorithm construction. One of the game programmer jobs that C++ is used for is building game engines.
HTML5 is the latest incarnation of hypertext markup language and the code web browsers translate into text and objects. More and more developers are turning to HTML5 for their online games due to the language’s ability to provide added scalability and increased flexibility. Many of the most popular video games created are now using HTML5, including Angry Birds, 3D Tetris, and Rush.
Java is a beginner-friendly, cross-platform programming language that runs on virtually all systems, including Windows and Linux, and is popular for developing mobile games. Initially built in 1991, Java permitted computers with different hardware and operating systems to easily run new programs and was the first programming language to gain worldwide acceptance. Java is widely used in game development because it has strong open-source support for its powerful 3D engine, which offers the unparalleled capacity to create action-intensive games like Minecraft.
While not one of the more popular programming languages in general, Lua is an extremely lightweight programming language that is perfect for video game programming. One of Lua’s most beneficial features is it is highly embeddable, so it is easily integrated into other applications, allowing it to draw on multiple languages to create the needed effects. Lua has a small memory, so it is fast and efficient, runs well on virtual machines, and is used to power mobile engines like Gideros Mobile.
PHP is a server-side programming language that allows data to be queried from a web page. Working in conjunction with a database, PHP is used to create dynamic browser-based online games. Some big-name companies that use PHP for their online games include Goodgame Studios and Gameforge.
Python is typically used to conduct rapid prototyping, develop animated graphics, and add backend functionalities and scripts during game development. Guido van Rossum initially developed Python as a competitor for Java in the late 1980s. Python has a massive following in some development communities and ranks at the top IEEE Spectrum with a perfect score of 100. However, while Python offers superior readability, usability, and quick development time, it is somewhat slower than other languages. Still, Python is one of the easiest programming languages to learn for those just starting out looking for jobs in video gaming.
Ruby is a pure object-oriented language designed to act as a framework between programmers and computers. While it cannot write complex code for high-performance 3D games, Ruby is an excellent choice for learning the concepts of two-dimensional game development.
This is an overview of the best programming languages needed for landing the top video game programmer jobs. The best course of action for those just getting started is to begin by learning the basics with beginner-friendly languages like Java or Python, as this will allow you to learn the most important concepts without getting hung up on syntax. For more experienced programmers, the more languages you know, the better chance you will have of getting one of the top-paying jobs in video gaming. However, because the world of video game programming is ever-evolving, programmers will have the best chances of landing a high-paying position by working with a video game recruiter. DAM, Inc. is one of the top recruiting firms for gamers and works with dozens of video game studios across the country. DAM also maintains one of the most extensive listings of unpublished opportunities, including remote video game jobs. DAM also offers career guidance as well as interview preparation. As employers pay DAM’s fees, there is never a charge to the job seekers for enlisting DAM’s services.