What Coders do:
Coders, also known as programmers, write the code that brings a video game to life. They work closely with producers and other departments to translate the project's artistic vision into software script to create a fully functioning game.
If game system designers imagine the game mechanics, coders are the ones to turn those ideas into functioning things. It could be how different weather seasons play out in-game, how many enemies spawn at a checkpoint, or as simple as the colour variations to clothes or hair in the character design screen.
What Coders are good at:
Programming scripts and codes at a fine, seamless, and highly technical level.
Researching and creating custom software needed for gaming mechanics.
Analysing data from testing systems.
Working as a team and collaborating with game developers, gameplay programmers, art departments etc.
Understanding core mechanics like player progression systems and game play loops to create better gaming experience.
How to become a Coder:
You can study through A-levels or Highers or Level 3 vocational qualifications in relevant subjects like Graphic Design, ICT, or Maths.
At university level, a degree in Game Programming, Game Design, Coding, Computer Science, or similar subjects as the experience may be preferred. However, you can start your career through work experience or an apprenticeship in a junior role.
Whatever you choose, it’s essential to have a portfolio, including completed or prototype game projects, written game design documents or proposals.
“Go and code. Find a problem you want to solve and build something to fix it. If you want to become a games programmer, download a game engine and work through tutorials and documentation to learn the 'ins and outs' of it. There are many languages, engines and frameworks out there and there's a big chance that one will be a perfect match to your skills and needs."
Jaden Palmer-Leandre, Gameplay Programmer at Sports Interactive (for gamesindustry.biz)
How much you could earn:
The national average salary for a Coder/Programmer is around £40,000 in the UK.
A starting salary can range from £20,000, more experienced and senior coders/programmers could make in the region of £65,000 and more. (Source: Glassdoor)