A beginners's guide

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Careers

Explore careers in the UK’s fastest growing creative industry

Find out about the viability, salaries, diversity, skills and pathways into games careers.

19,000 people make games professionally in the UK today, supported by another 6,000 in marketing and retail. During the pandemic, games studios added a record 2,000 jobs in 2020. Games studios are right across the country – only 20% of jobs are in London.

We’ve been world-class exporters of games for 40 years. UK game studios contribute over £2 billion to the UK’s economy. The best selling entertainment product of all time, Grand Theft Auto V, was mainly made in Edinburgh, grossing £600m in just 3 days.

Average games salaries for starters (£22,765) and staff in their 20s (£26,981) are over 20% more than national averages. Mid level to senior developers can earn £40,000-£60,000 or more.

Very! The games workforce is changing rapidly and increasingly developers come from every gender, background and community. Games Careers Week is campaigning to encourage anyone from any background to consider careers in games.

Games development involves artists, writers, programmers, designers, animators, musicians, sound technicians, producers, actors and many more traditional roles like marketing and accountancy, not to mention exciting roles in games streaming and Esports.

No! Many games developers start careers after doing a wide variety of different things beforehand while many are formally trained in college and university (see below for some lists of industry-accredited courses). Games companies are looking for talent and passion wherever you come from and Games Careers Week is supported by hundreds of organisations that want to encourage women and people from more diverse backgrounds to consider careers in games.

We advise everyone to follow their passion and to start making games as soon as possible. Gain as much experience as possible working in teams and build a portfolio of your work. The links below will help and attending Games Careers Week events will too.

A lot of people are trying to start these rewarding, challenging and exciting careers, but don’t be put off. This rapidly growing industry is always on the lookout for diverse new talent and there are lots of ways to stand out.

Studios invariably say 3 things about how they hire:

  1. Show your passion by doing everything you can to make games.
  2. Practice your interpersonal skills by working in teams – that’s how games studios are actually made;
  3. Keep going and don’t be put off if knocked back. See What Next? below for some further advice.
  • Are stable, long term careers available in games?

    19,000 people make games professionally in the UK today, supported by another 6,000 in marketing and retail. During the pandemic, games studios added a record 2,000 jobs in 2020. Games studios are right across the country – only 20% of jobs are in London.

  • Is the UK any good at games?

    We’ve been world-class exporters of games for 40 years. UK game studios contribute over £2 billion to the UK’s economy. The best selling entertainment product of all time, Grand Theft Auto V, was mainly made in Edinburgh, grossing £600m in just 3 days.

  • Can people really make a decent living making games?

    Average games salaries for starters (£22,765) and staff in their 20s (£26,981) are over 20% more than national averages. Mid level to senior developers can earn £40,000-£60,000 or more.

  • How welcoming is this industry to people of colour, women or those with a disability?

    Very! The games workforce is changing rapidly and increasingly developers come from every gender, background and community. Games Careers Week is campaigning to encourage anyone from any background to consider careers in games.

  • What skills are used in games careers?

    Games development involves artists, writers, programmers, designers, animators, musicians, sound technicians, producers, actors and many more traditional roles like marketing and accountancy, not to mention exciting roles in games streaming and Esports.

  • Is there a standard games career pathway?

    No! Many games developers start careers after doing a wide variety of different things beforehand while many are formally trained in college and university (see below for some lists of industry-accredited courses). Games companies are looking for talent and passion wherever you come from and Games Careers Week is supported by hundreds of organisations that want to encourage women and people from more diverse backgrounds to consider careers in games.

  • How can I find my path towards a games career?

    We advise everyone to follow their passion and to start making games as soon as possible. Gain as much experience as possible working in teams and build a portfolio of your work. The links below will help and attending Games Careers Week events will too.

  • How easy is it to start a career in games?

    A lot of people are trying to start these rewarding, challenging and exciting careers, but don’t be put off. This rapidly growing industry is always on the lookout for diverse new talent and there are lots of ways to stand out.

  • How can someone stand out?

    Studios invariably say 3 things about how they hire:

    1. Show your passion by doing everything you can to make games.
    2. Practice your interpersonal skills by working in teams – that’s how games studios are actually made;
    3. Keep going and don’t be put off if knocked back. See What Next? below for some further advice.

What next?

18+ year olds

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  1. Research games roles through sites like Into Games, Grads in Games, British Esports Association and ScreenSkills
  2. Take BGI’s free Start your career in games development course on Futurelearn
  3. Teach yourself how to make games using any of the online courses below
  4. It’s not essential to have a degree but degree courses accredited by industry programmes like TIGA’s or ScreenSkills’ can improve career chances for graduates
  5. Attend a Games Careers Week event that’s right for the age group
  6. Attend an online games jam like these
  7. Build a portfolio of work, perhaps following advice from Grads in Games
  8. Find a games job via these job boards
  9. Keep playing and making games as much as possible in spare time

Essential resources

Below you will find a range of permanent resources running year round.

We have added age badges to guide you towards sites that have resources appropriate for the age group listed.

Parents – please note that our age badges are not certified age ratings so we recommend you review all materials to decide if they are appropriate for your child.

Games Careers Week is a free non-profit event organised and funded by the BGI, Into Games and Grads in Games, supported by TIGA, NextGen Skills Academy, Gamesindustry.biz and Ukie

Organised by

About the BGI
About the BGI

The BGI is a charity number 1183530 which educates the public about games through the National Videogame Museum, training and research.

About Into Games
About Into Games

Into Games is a national non-profit Community Interest Company that supports people from all backgrounds in finding rewarding careers in games.

About Grads for Games
About Grads for Games

Grads in Games is a non-profit Community Interest Company which equips students with the skills games employers need.

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