A beginners's guide

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Building pathways towards games careers

There are lots of resources to help educators at College and University level. First, let’s answer some common questions asked by games students.

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.

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 actually work;
  3. Keep going and don’t be put off if knocked back. See 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.

  • 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 actually work;
    3. Keep going and don’t be put off if knocked back. See 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 such as the Games Education Summit
  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

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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