If your love for video games goes beyond the ordinary and you want to apply that passion to a career, you might consider becoming a video game developer. The job outlook for the coming year is on the rise and expected to grow by eleven percent, according to a recent study a major employment assistance website. While this growth may benefit you as a prospective game developer, there are several skills you may want to grow or hone if you want to compete for jobs in this lucrative career opportunity.
1. Creative Thinking
It has always been the job of video game developers to come up with new and innovative gaming ideas. From the introduction of the most basic of games on the Atari systems of the late 1970s to the more creative and immersive games of today, new ideas are what keeps the field alive and profitable. This means coming up with new ideas and creative ways to hook your gaming audience will probably be a big part of your job description.
If you already have a creative mind, you are on track to be a game developer, but there are other ways you can hone your creativity. Set ideas down instead of simply dreaming about them, improve your drawing skills with daily practice, and learn skills such as storyboarding and scriptwriting to give your creative tendencies a sharper edge.
2. Problem-Solving Skills
Today’s technology has given rise to some of the most realistic and innovative video games of all time. However, it is reasonable to believe none of these games were created without the developers running into problems and glitches before their release. Therefore, it is helpful to have critical thinking and problem-solving skills for this type of job.
As with many creative thinkers, you may find that your problem-solving skills are not as strong as they could be. However, there are ways you can incorporate your creative side into solving development and programming issues. For example, creative thinking may help you look at the problem in a different way than someone with a logical mind might, and being able to come up with intuitive solutions can help keep you in demand.
While most programmers work on a team, you may find yourself working alone on side projects from time to time, or you might be given a singular task that requires you to be self-directed. While working alone can have its pros and cons, one of the common pitfalls is poor time management. However, there are ways you can improve this skill and become an expert at self-direction.
One of the most vital components of proper time management is preparation. Being prepared for each work day can help you focus during the morning hours when your energy is likely to be at its highest. At the end of each evening, take a moment to schedule the next day’s work and list the most difficult task first, such as coding or tackling that graphics issue. The more prepared you are, the simpler it might be to learn the art of self-direction.
4. Attention to Detail
When coding and other software programs for video games are created, every small detail counts. If one symbol or character is out of place, the entire game may crash, and therefore, attention to detail is an important skill for you to have as a developer. However, this skill is not only important for software creation, it can increase your value to companies who are looking for game developers who can catch errors and suggest improvements before titles are released.
Attention to detail can also be an asset if you one day aspire to own a video game company. Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Blizzard Activision, has led his company to major success in a highly-competitive gaming market, which would not have been possible without the ability to track many different details related to his company and developmental ideas.
5. Working Under Pressure
Because the gaming market is so competitive, releasing a major title before another company premieres theirs could mean the difference between success and ending up in the gaming store bargain bin. As a result, you may have to work under pressure more often than not. If you hone this skill, deadlines can become a positive daily challenge instead of causing constant stress.
You can coach yourself to meet daily deadlines by staying informed about the projects you are involved in, being proactive about keeping in contact with other team members, and dividing up your work into morning, afternoon, and evening tasks. Breaking up tasks can help you focus on one at a time instead of feeling stressed about all you have to do that day. Remaining in the present and staying on task can keep stress at bay and give you the ability to work on a deadline.
The gaming development field is expected to grow by leaps and bounds over the next few years. By honing some important skills related to this work, you can increase your chances of finding a rewarding job that lets you indulge in your passion and love of gaming.