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Parents

The UK’s fastest growing creative industry

Didn’t know about the UK-wide, recession-proof industry that has been adding well-paid, challenging, stable jobs at record levels through the pandemic? Here are the most common questions we hear from parents.

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.

Almost all games jobs involve creative technology so computer science is key for many jobs. Games developers use a wide range of skills – drawing, writing, maths, design, science, music, history, all the STEAM subjects children are studying in school today.

We encourage all children to follow their passion and to start making games as early as possible. It’s important for older children to gain experience working in teams and to build a portfolio of work. It is a popular industry to enter but the skills they’ll gain while making games are highly transferable and sought after by lots of other sectors. The links below will help and attending Games Careers Week events will too.

  • 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.

  • What subject choices should I consider for my child?

    Almost all games jobs involve creative technology so computer science is key for many jobs. Games developers use a wide range of skills – drawing, writing, maths, design, science, music, history, all the STEAM subjects children are studying in school today.

  • How can I encourage my child to find their way towards a games career?

    We encourage all children to follow their passion and to start making games as early as possible. It’s important for older children to gain experience working in teams and to build a portfolio of work. It is a popular industry to enter but the skills they’ll gain while making games are highly transferable and sought after by lots of other sectors. The links below will help and attending Games Careers Week events will too.

What next?

8-11 year olds

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  1. Watch the role videos on our careers pages and ask which roles appeal the most
  2. Start making games on a free online course from the National Videogame Museum
  3. Take a Digital Schoolhouse computing workshop
  4. Attend a Games Careers Week event that’s right for the age group
  5. Find out if a Digital Schoolhouse is near you
  6. Keep playing and making games as much as possible in spare time

12-15 year olds

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  1. Watch the role videos on our careers pages and ask which roles appeal the most
  2. Take an introductory class on Gamemaker or Unity (see below)
  3. Attend a Games Careers Week event that’s right for the age group
  4. See if any Colleges or academies near you have games development courses like these from the NextGen Skills Academy
  5. Keep studying whichever of these GCSE subjects they enjoy: computer science, maths, art and design technology.

15-17 year olds

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  1. Watch the role videos on our careers pages and ask which roles appeal the most
  2. Take classes on Unreal, Gamemaker or Unity (see below)
  3. Attend a Games Careers Week event that’s right for the age group
  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. Keep studying whichever of these A level subjects are favourites: computer science, maths, art and design technology.
  6. Keep playing and making games as much as possible in spare time

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. Keep playing and making games as much as possible in spare time

Essential Resources

Essential Resources text

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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