How To Hire A Video Game Developer

Naina Kaul
Naina Kaul
Published: 26.11.2022

Game development is a growing industry, due to reportedly over 2 billion gamers worldwide, amounting to 26% of the population, according to Investopedia. This means that gaming is important to many people. It also means that many big technology firms are looking to get into this industry, among them Google, Meta, and Apple. As such, game development is an area that needs great developers to render the kind of content that gamers can connect to and can find hours of entertainment in.

With great talent comes great responsibility. How can the right talent be found and hired? This article will delve into some of the strategies that can be employed, to hire video game developers that will help you to level up. Employing strategies to employ talent, now that’s a winning formula.

Technology Skills

Programming Languages

Before the process of hiring, it is important to uncover the technology skills required for your specific game development needs. There are a few different options to go with, however, for most games, C++ is the programming language of choice, as per Trio. Some of the most popular games including Halo, Far Cry, and Call of Duty are programmed with this language.

A laptop sits on a brown desk, with a games controller in the foreground.

Game Engines

It may also be important for your game developers of choice to be skilled in working with game engines such as Unity or Unreal, according to YouTeam. YouTeam also mentions Python and JavaScript as relevant programming languages, so to begin with, it makes sense to define upfront which technology skillset your team should have to give your game the competitive edge.

It also makes sense to be clear on what you expect your game development team to do. The tasks that they will be performing may vary according to your specific needs, but there are sets of responsibilities that are commonly observed in this specific area of work.

Responsibilities

As per this piece from Forbes Advisor, the typical responsibilities of a video games developer are as follows:

  • Coding visual elements
  • Game design ideation
  • Making sure the game plays well
  • Monitoring game performance
  • Reviewing and improving existing code
  • Working with producers, designers, and other professionals to bring the game to life

From looking at this list in some level of detail, it becomes clear that far from purely being a technology-focused endeavor, hiring a game developer involves ensuring that the talent pool has other, complementary skills. Let’s take a look at the soft skills needed to excel as a video game developer.

Soft Skills

Critical Thinking

The process of reviewing and improving existing code speaks to a need for critical thinking. Indeed, to be able to pick apart pieces of code to determine what might be causing a glitch or making the character in a game jump two steps forward instead of two steps back is paramount to the role. They must be able to not only decipher where code has gone awry, but also address it skillfully. This means being able to go back and rewrite code, adjusting and fine-tuning, sometimes to a point of tedium. The games of today are impressive in both look and feel, which means that game developers must be highly skilled at troubleshooting when code is not doing what it is supposed to do.

Other skills that sit within this bucket include the ability to research and draw conclusions based on what has been found. This is something that should be high on your list when you have to hire a video game developer. Skills of inference and discernment are key to being able to address the challenges of coding a video game. Done well, these capabilities mean effective use of time for the developer, and for you - the one who has commissioned the work.

Teamwork

Developers often do not work in isolation, which means that individual video game developers require interpersonal skills. They will be working in teams, whether with other developers or within a wider team structure where touchpoints exist in project managers, analysts, and other human resources. This entails collaboration, negotiation, diplomacy, and more. It’s safe to say that soft skills are a prerequisite for any video game developer candidates you are considering hiring! While some claim that technical staff are not good with people, this is perhaps a myth that needs debunking. While technology may be their forté, they are likely to need to be able to ‘play with the others just as much as the HR lead.

A taxicab's 'For Hire' sign in red is in focus against a blurry background.

Hiring Platforms

Now that you’ve identified the profile required of your video game developer, it might be useful to look at where exactly to locate them. Several options exist in this space. There are gaming communities, freelance portals, and then traditional job boards. Some of the popular options include the following:

  • Upwork. Upwork is a freelancing platform for all manner of self-employed professionals. You are likely to be able to find yourself some excellent freelance video game developers for hire on this platform.
  • Gaming Communities. Some of the ones mentioned by YouTeam include TIGSource, IndieDB and Develteam. Perhaps striking up a conversation with one of the video game developers there, will lead you to just the talent that you want to hire!
  • Job Portals. If you want to push communications out, and let people come to you, you could opt for posting a job listing on one of the popular job sites that allow for hiring talent globally. Some of these include StepStone, Glassdoor and Indeed.

Recommendations

It becomes clear from looking at the suite of technology skills, responsibilities as well as soft skills needed for the profile of a video games developer, that it can be more multifaceted than it might seem at first glance. There are several avenues to look out for when hiring a games developer, and these resources may allow you to hone your search according to the specific skill sets being sought. Some roles may require a heavier skew towards the technology, others more towards the soft skills of managing a team or sitting within one, and still others may require a particular blend of both. This is likely to depend on things like company culture, management styles as well as the specifics of the role description.

Hopefully, you are now equipped with the insights needed to start your games developer hiring process! Below are some resources - go take a look at them to augment your hiring process.

Some further reading resources to understand the hiring process for Java developers can be found here. Check out the Pangea.ai tool for finding software vendors that may help you with your next gaming project, here: https://www.pangea.ai/search-for-vendors/. A few of our preferred vendors that can help with game development are Valens, Prototyp, and Tech387. With a little help and know-how, you’ll soon be on your way to being a part of the global gaming community.

FAQs:

Q1. How do you become a games developer?

Becoming a games developer does not technically require more than a high school level education; however, to be competitive in the application process it may be beneficial to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related fields.

This is according to an article by Forbes Advisor — wherein they also make the case that games development can be specifically studied even if the university route isn’t your thing. They say it is also possible to go through a boot camp offered by several vendors, including Udemy, Vertex School and General Assembly.

Q2. What degree do you need to be a games developer?

To get a foot in the door, it may be necessary to have a degree in a computer science field or similar. A more creative approach might be to try to gain work experience on a freelance portal. By offering cheap work at first, it would be possible to gain experience and thereafter, perhaps join an established brand or independent development studio.

However, as mentioned in Q1, a degree may not be strictly necessary to become a games developer. It is also possible to get into the field via training outside of a university setting, however, oftentimes the field can be quite competitive.

Q3. What are the risks of being a games developer?

Job security may be considered a risk, given that a singular game may be developed, after which the game developer’s services may no longer be required. Being hired by a big brand such as Electronic Arts (EA), Ubisoft or Nintendo would circumvent this risk somewhat, since they have continuous game development activities, that a game developer would be hired for over the longer term and on a more sustainable basis.

Need help selecting the right company?

We will do the work for you, all for free.


Tell us what you need