How Do You Become a Video Game Producer?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Explore the opportunities in video game production, and discover the required education, skills, and portfolio.

[Featured image] A male, wearing a blue shirt and glasses, and a female wearing a white and red top are working on a whiteboard with charts and notes as they discuss game development.

If you enjoy video games and technology, video game production can be a rewarding career. As a video game producer, you’ll oversee the creative team that designs a game from start to finish. A video game producer leads a project and assigns duties to team members. 

Learn more about a career as a video game producer and what steps you’ll need to get started.

What does a video game producer do?

A video game producer will manage employees creating video games, play an executive role during each development phase, and ensure the quality and timeliness of the teams working on the project. 

Your role will be more business focused than creative. You’ll handle the budget and ensure production runs on schedule. You may be involved in product marketing and advertising campaigns.

A video game producer is the project lead responsible for coordinating the employees and schedules to ensure deadlines are met.

Education 

A variety of majors and paths provide opportunities in video game production. Most professionals in this field have bachelor's degrees in game design, computer science, digital media, or business. Employees in video game production should have at least a basic understanding of computer programming, design, and project development life cycle to understand the scope of what’s required to develop and release a game.

Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field 

If your goal is to get an executive role in game development and production, having a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field may be beneficial. The coursework will provide technical topics about planning, designing, developing, and what deploying a game requires. If you’re more certain about specializing in the specific area of video games, majors such as game development and animation can get you on the right track. 

Courses 

Many of the courses you’ll be taking could be hands-on, interacting with the software used in the industry to create programs and designs similar to real-world tasks. Your introductory courses will cover basic computer science and computer engineering concepts.  As you progress through your education, you’ll be able to start specializing in more high-level and specific courses.

Some video game production coursework you might take include:

  • Computer science 

  • Programming 

  • Interactive game design

  • Operating systems  

  • Software design

  • Computer graphics 

  • 3D animation and modeling 

  • Graphics 

You’ll take physics, algebra, and calculus along with the technical and creative coursework. You can also expect to take game theory and artificial intelligence courses.

Skills required to be a game producer  

Although a video game producer isn’t directly involved in the creative side of video game development, digital art and animation are important skills. Programming and coding skills are also essential for video game producers.

A video game producer also needs business skills such as budgeting, marketing, and time management. Leadership skills are essential since the producer is in charge of overseeing everyone involved with the project.

Video game producers should aim to be process-oriented, have a detailed plan of how the game will function and be designed, and keep team members on track to release the product within the deadline. Game producers also should understand the jobs of the designers and developers so they can accurately and effectively communicate with team members. 

Technical skills

It’s recommended that you have knowledge of computer programming for video game production. Expertise in the following languages will give you a technical foundation when managing your team. Here are some coding languages to consider learning:

  • C++ is a popular language for video game developers due to the high level of hardware access that the language provides. 

  • Java is another language because of its easy use and the multitude of tools, libraries, and open source software it offers. 

  • JavaScript is used for creating games on multiple platforms. JavaScript can be used on various systems and platforms and works well with HTML and CSS elements. 

  • HTML5 is used for games deployed on web browsers. Games developed with HTML5 work with smartphones, PCs, and other electronic devices. 

  •  C# is a slightly more nuanced version of C++ and is a powerful dynamic language used for games on Microsoft platforms. 

  • Python is an object-oriented language that’s simple and intuitive and allows programmers to create objects within code that can be reused, making for highly efficient and fast applications. 

Read more: Popular Programming Languages

Workplace skills

Managing a game production team and delegating tasks takes interpersonal and technical skills. Video game producers should have a level of creativity and innovation, a passion for gaming and learning, a positive attitude, and the ability to communicate ideas to team members. Professionals in this occupation should have problem-solving and time management skills to adapt to deadlines and time-intensive tasks. Verbal and written communication is critical to this job because you’ll be managing teams and having to understand and optimize where all your employees are in the project life cycle. The ability to work with others and articulate ideas are crucial to the efficacy of a video game producer.

Read more: What Are Job Skills and Why Do They Matter?

Seek out opportunities to build your skills.

If you’re looking to enter the video game production industry, several paths can help you develop relevant skills to become a video game developer. Working on projects, internships, and freelance work is a great place to start.

Work on projects. 

A way to supplement your resume before pursuing video game production is to create a project. You can start by picking a game genre that interests you and learn about its development. 

Unity is an intuitive gaming software for beginners to create their first projects. Once you establish elements of your game,  you can start building and coding the mechanics. Even if your game isn’t 100 percent complete, showing that you have experience in creating and planning a game can indicate your potential as a video game producer.

Placeholder

Internships 

Pursuing a game development internship is a fantastic way to gain relevant experience and increase your value in the job market. Interns typically shadow employees and learn the daily duties and tasks. This may help you understand what responsibilities and skills are required and how to take a plan and create the final product.

Read more: How to Write an Internship Cover Letter: 9 Tips (+ Examples)

Freelance.

If you have a portfolio of games you’ve made, freelancing is a viable option for you to gain valuable work experience. Company gaming websites sometimes post freelance positions. You may have many freelance work opportunities if you’re talented in the field, which can be a great resume builder and a lucrative side hustle. 

Get an entry-level job 

Another way to start your game production career is to get a relevant entry-level job to learn the expertise before taking on an executive role. Several entry-level positions in game production could lead to a game production role. Securing an entry-level position is a solid path to becoming a game producer since many executive roles require more knowledge and experience. 

Entry-level positions for a future game producer

Here are some entry-level positions that may lead to a career in game production: 

Junior software developers work and fix basic programming infrastructure and projects. They often work with senior developers to collaborate on larger tasks. 

Animators are artists who design images and graphics for video games. These employees collaborate with programming, graphic design, and concept art teams to create the final product. 

Junior game designers will work on the foundation of games, assist with basic tasks, and piece together the game with collaboration from the programming and animation teams. 

Build your portfolio. 

Even after you have secured an entry-level job or a job as a video game producer, it’s important to keep learning and expanding your portfolio. Continuing to build projects, networking with others in the industry, and even completing freelance contracts are fantastic ways to be updated on current trends and technology. 

Network. 

Networking can be a valuable asset in the gaming industry. You can start networking by building a contact list of people you know. Once you gain a few contacts from mutual colleagues, you can set up meetings with them. Having many contacts in the industry may help you gain knowledge, business opportunities, and potential partnerships. 

Read more: How to Use LinkedIn: A Guide to Online Networking

Apply for jobs.

Once you’ve developed your resume and have a good idea of what gaming industry sector you want to pursue, you can begin applying for jobs. Online job posting websites are a great place to start, and you can filter based on your preferred criteria. However, if there’s a specific company you’re interested in, you can apply directly to them.

Salary and job outlook 

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a game producer in the US is $64,812 [1]. While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t have specific data on the job outlook for video game producers, similar occupations in the digital design space industry are projected to have a 13 percent growth rate between 2020 and 2030 [2].

Next steps 

If you’re ready to take the next step but aren’t quite ready to commit to a four-year degree program, explore some certificate courses to introduce you to some of the necessary skills to supplement your resume.

Introduction to Game Design offered by the California Institute of the Arts will provide you with the basic concepts of game design. Coding for Everyone: C and C++ Specialization offered by the University of California Santa Cruz is geared toward beginners and those with some coding experience.

Influencer Marketing Strategy offered by Rutgers University is a program that covers the marketing end of video game production. Earning a certificate will show prospective employees that you have additional marketing skills. 

Placeholder

course

Introduction to Game Design

Welcome! This course is an introduction to the primary concepts of gaming, and an exploration of how these basic concepts affect the way gamers interact ...

4.7

(2,447 ratings)

91,183 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Video Game Development, Gameplay, Video Game Design, Game Design

Placeholder

specialization

Coding for Everyone: C and C++

Beginner to Programmer — Learn to Code in C & C++. Gain a deep understanding of computer programming by learning to code, debug, and solve complex problems with C and C++.

4.4

(1,958 ratings)

73,192 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Algorithms, C Programming, coding, C++, Computer Programming, Graph Theory, C++11, Graph Algorithms, Standard Template Library

Placeholder

course

Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing is the practice of engaging internal and industry experts with active networks to help achieve measurable business goals. This course ...

4.4

(155 ratings)

38,168 already enrolled

INTERMEDIATE level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Related articles

Article sources 

1. Glassdoor. Game producer https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/game-producer-career_KO0,13.htm." Accessed July 22, 2022

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Web Developers and Digital Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-1." Accessed July 22, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Learn without limits