Get A Job In Unity Game Development

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Get A Job In Unity Game Development

A career in video game development is challenging and rewarding. But getting into the industry is not easy.

As reported in the Guardian, the game development industry makes $60bn a year [2014]. It is an industry that’s bigger than Hollywood, that dwarves the music business – and an increasing number of young people want to work in it. Hundreds of universities throughout the world offer degree courses in computer games programming and design.

It is a good time to join. With the arrival of digital distribution, games now have a bigger audience than ever; they are beamed directly to our phones, PC, consoles and tablets.

In my previous article Finding Your Next Unity3D Job I overview what companies want in prospective candidates and outline where you can search for available positions.

As a tangent on the same subject, below is a quick overview of working in the industry with a decided focus on programmer roles, my chosen career.


Game Development Careers

There are many, many ways to contribute to the games industry.


Let’s compare the skills required for programmer and Lead Programmer. Typically a ‘Lead Programmer’ was first a ‘Programmer’ earlier in his/her career.

I choose to divide the lists into 3 areas; the technical skills (fostered by education), the personality skills (less trainable), and the social skills (how we interact with others).

You can see that as a programmer advances in his career, the lead position requires many social skills to excel.


  • Tech
    • Be able to program in C++, C and other programming languages
    • Have specific platform experience, e.g. Wii, PlayStation, Xbox
    • Have a good knowledge of game play
  • Personality
    • Be systematic and highly organised
    • Be creative and possess problem-solving skills
    • Be able to work to deadlines
  • Social
    • Have good communication skills
    • Be able to work on your own initiative and as part of a team

Lead Programmer

  • Tech
    • Have a hands-on knowledge of all programming roles
    • Have advanced programming skills
  • Personality
    • Be able to resolve conflicts and solve problems
    • Be able to multitask
    • Be creative and innovative
    • Be composed under pressure
  • Social
    • Be a team player and a leader
    • Be approachable and listen to what people need and want, both from other disciplines and within your own team
    • Be able to communicate your ideas and vision to the programming team
    • Be able to inspire and motivate the programming team to ensure that everything gets fixed on schedule
    • Have excellent people skills with management and communication, including tact and diplomacy

Advice For Career Planning

I choose to divide employee effort/value into 3 areas; the product (what is being created), the process (how it is created), and the people (who is creating it). Here is some advice;

Focus on ‘Soft Skills’ – Programming is important. Its ‘the’ core skill to develop, but once you set that ball in motion, shift your focus to other ‘soft’ skills. Everyone is a great programmer. It doesn’t set you apart as dramatically as other areas of improvement. Many will disagree with my point of view. Many product-centric employees believe that doing more development, in less time, with less lines of code is the only goal. As a people-centric and process-centric philosopher, I recommend instead to focus on the soft skills; EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), social graces, communication, language, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, etc. that characterize relationships with other people.

Focus on Learning – Create a virtuous cycle of meeting the requirements of your assigned job description (typically focused on ‘product’) while also raising quality of the process and bolstering your people skills. For more info, see my previous article Ultimate Path Learning. I contribute high quality Free Unity / C# Video Tutorials for new and veteran developers to build community and sharpen my knowledge and communication skills.

Pick Your Moment – Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba advises to pick your moment. Your strategy must change as you age.

  • Age: Childhood – Be a good student.
  • Age: 20’s – Follow a mentor. Go to a small company — you learn the passion, you learn the dreams, and you learn how to do lots of things at any one time. Make mistakes.
  • Age: 30’s – You have to think very clearly if you want to work for yourself. If you really want to be an entrepreneur. This is the ‘mid-game’.
  • Age: 40’s – You have to do all the things that you are already good at.
  • Age 50’s – Work for the young people.
  • Age 60’s – Spend time on yourself. Its too late for you to change.

Focus on Passion – Use your early years to try EVERYTHING professionally, then settle into the things that are a fit for your strengths, your interests, and your passions. For more info about my passions including teaching and charity see my previous article Playing For Good.

Consider Your Mid-Game – Over your career (ex. 40 years of work) you will likely hold many different positions and many different companies. You may start as a Game Tester, then become a Programmer, then Senior Programmer, then a Lead Programmer which is generally  most advanced role in that specific career track. For the excellent and ambitious that might happen in the first 10 or so years. So what then do you do for the next 30 years of your career? There are endless layers on top of the value offered within that track, but other opportunities are calling too. The biggest mid-game (i.e. mid-career) question is do you want to lead people, or do you want to stay solo. Consider your strengths and interests. As your answer becomes more clear you can steer your growth and progression to fit that goal.

Advice For LinkedIn

While working as a Mentor at the Unity Game Development program, I often talked about the importance of creating a clear, consistent digital presence to support the job search. LinkedIn is part of that digital presence.

The popularity of LinkedIn for job seeking and job recruiting varies by industry and by country. In my opinion it is a vital tool for Unity Game Developers.

Here are thoughts about creating a powerful LinkedIn profile. I included a fictitious profile and a real profile for discussion.

Fictitious Profile
Real Profile

LinkedIn Example Profiles

  • Fictitious Profile –– Here is a fictitious LinkedIn profile which includes my suggested format and content for someone WITHOUT (much) game development experience
  • Real Profile – – Here is my LinkedIn profile which represents a career with over 20 years of experience.


Learn more about Unity game development with these great courses.

MVC Architecture For Unity – On Udemy

Learn to create and maintain Unity projects which are faster to develop and easier to maintain.

Available Now!

  • Design principles, design patterns, and software architecture
  • Video, slides, & source-code
  • Four sample projects

Physics For Unity – On Udemy

Learn to create and maintain Unity projects which are faster to develop and easier to maintain.

Available Now!

  • The A to Z of Unity Physics
  • Video, slides, & source-code
  • Two sample projects