Gaming Engineer Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about a gaming engineer's job descriptions, salary and education requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a gaming engineer career.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Gaming Engineer

Gaming engineers, also known as application software developers, make computer applications that are used for consumer entertainment. You can learn what the other pros and cons to being a gaming engineer are by reading below.

PROS of Becoming a Gaming Engineer
Higher-than-average mean annual wage (about $99,000 in 2014)*
Good job prospects (23% predicted rise in employment over the 2012-2022 decade)*
Opportunity to help create a creative and entertaining product*
Telecommuting is an option in some cases*

CONS of Becoming a Gaming Engineer
Long hours are normal (about 25% worked 40-plus hours per week in 2012)*
Post-secondary education is normally needed (about 75% have at least a bachelor's degree)**
Outsourcing to foreign countries may occur*
You have to remain knowledgeable about current technology or risk falling behind in the field*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine.

Occupational Information

Job Description

Gaming engineers make custom software in the form of video games. Other related job titles include software engineer, game designer and game developer. As a gaming engineer, you'll typically have a specific goal in mind for the game that you're working on with your team. Your job may include developing, designing and testing the software to meet that goal. It is important that you document your entire work process and use it as a reference when it comes to upgrades and maintenance. You also have to work with other departments and computer specialists who are all contributing to the development of the game in some way.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an above-average employment growth of 23% for application software developers from 2012 to 2022. This growth can be attributed to a rise in computer software demand, especially in mobile technology.

Salary Info

In May 2014, the BLS reported that application software developers had average yearly earnings of roughly $99,000. New York, Washington, Maryland, California and Massachusetts are the states that paid the highest on average for application software developers. You could see a salary close to $149,000, according to the top ten percentile of wage estimates for application software developers.

Career Requirements

Education and Training

Prior to becoming a gaming engineer, you'll probably want to obtain a bachelor's degree. Ideally, you'll want to find a school with a gaming engineer major, although similar majors like software engineering or computer science can be suitable. Some gaming engineers also acquire a background in computer programming. For higher level positions in the field, employers tend to look for gaming engineers with a master's degree. It is important that you keep current on the latest gaming technology, as new tools are developed regularly with each new generation of technology.

What Do Employers Want?

As most employers have several workers assigned to a project, it is important that gaming engineers have good teamwork skills. The ability to work well with others while meeting a project's deadline is important for an employee's success. As a part of this, communication skills are crucial as well in order to avoid any problems that could arise from miscommunication. Several job postings for games engineers from November 2012 were summarized below.

  • A senior games engineer position in New York calls for an applicant with one to three years of experience in mobile gaming and seven to eight years in software development. Candidates should also have a bachelor's or master's degree and be familiar with object-oriented programming.
  • An Alabama-based technology applications company is looking for a gaming software developer to work on a particular first-person shooter game. Development experience on a FPS-style game is preferred.
  • Previous debugging experience is important for a Washington-based company looking for a gaming engineer. Candidates should have a passion for game engineering as well as 1-3 years of experience.
  • In California, a business is looking for a gaming engineer who has a technical understanding of the Nintendo Wii, the Microsoft Xbox 360 or the Sony PlayStation 3.

How Can You Stand out as a Gaming Engineer?

A gaming engineer with a lot of creativity can sometimes stand out from his or her peers. As it takes a creative mind to come up with an original and new game, creativity can help you create the next blockbuster video game. Problem solving skills can also help distinguish you from other gaming engineers. Sometimes, a game might not be completed due to problems that occur in its production. If you possess a keen mind for solving problems, then you'll be able to ensure that a game that might've not otherwise been made gets released. Once you're with a company and you've worked on several game projects, it can help to keep in touch with your fan base and the gaming community in order to address what people are looking for in your games.

Other Vocational Options

If you're interested in creating the equipment used to make computers and video game consoles run successfully, then you could consider becoming a computer hardware engineer. First, you'll start off by creating a blueprint design for the equipment you want to build. From there, several prototypes are typically created and tested before a final design is figured out. That final design can then be put into production. Computer hardware engineers were found to earn about $101,000 on average annually according to the BLS in May 2011. The BLS also projected an employment growth of 9% from 2010 to 2020 for computer hardware engineers.

Instead of being a gaming engineer, you may want to look into being a computer programmer. In this occupation, you create the code that is used in software programs. The software code is basically a set of directions that the computer follows. You'll need to test and debug the code in order to make sure the program is behaving appropriately. From 2010 to 2020, the BLS is expecting a 12% growth in employment for computer programmers. Roughly $76,000 was the yearly average salary for computer programmers in May 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming
      • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Game Development
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • B.S. - Game Design
      • B.S. - Game Art
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Information Technology/Multiplatform Software Development
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
    Associate's
      • Associate: Information Technology
      • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. The Art Institutes

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Visual & Game Programming (BS)
      • Visual & Game Programming (BA)
      • Software Development for Creative Technologies (BS)
      • Web Design & Interactive Media (BFA)
      • Web Design & Interactive Media (BS)
      • Game Art & Design (BFA)
    Associate's
      • Web Design & Interactive Media (AAS)
      • Web Design & Interactive Media (AS)
      • Graphic & Web Design (AAS)
      • Graphic & Web Design (AA)
      • Graphic & Web Design: Graphic Design (AA)
      • Graphic & Web Design: Web Design (AA)
    Certificate
      • Web Design & Interactive Communications (C)
    High School Diploma
      • Web Design & Development (D)
      • Web Design & Interactive Communications (D)
      • Web Design (D)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Computer Science
      • BS: Computer Science - Information Assurance
      • BS: Computer Information Systems
      • BS: Cybersecurity
    Associate's
      • AA: Cybersecurity
      • AA: Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    7. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Computer and Information Security
      • PhD in Business Admin - Computer and Information Security
      • PhD-TIM - Cybersecurity
    Master's
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MBA - Computer and Information Security
      • MSTIM - Cybersecurity
      • MSTIM - Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Cyber Policy
      • MBA - Cybersecurity
      • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
      • MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
      • MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Intelligence
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
      • BS in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Cloud Security Risk Management - MBA (Master's)
      • Cloud Security Risk Management - MSIS (Master's)
      • Information Systems - MSIS (Master's)
      • Leadership Studies - MBA (Master's)
    Bachelor's
      • Game Software Development - Bachelor
      • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
    Associate's
      • Information Technology - Associate

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming
  • B.S. - Game Development
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
  • BS in Information Technology/Multiplatform Software Development
  • Associate: Information Technology

Which subject are you interested in?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

The Art Institutes

  • Visual & Game Programming (BS)
  • Web Design & Interactive Media (AAS)
  • Web Design & Interactive Communications (C)
  • Web Design & Development (D)

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Computer Science
  • BS: Computer Science - Information Assurance
  • AA: Cybersecurity
  • AA: Information Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education completed?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?