Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Brian Macken from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Brian Macken

Science Communicator

Smart Futures

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  Brian Macken

I would strongly advise you to do the Masters in Science Communication in DCU. It really gives you a feel for the different kinds of media and ways of explaining things. And it's a good place to make contacts, which is also useful.

I would also recommend that you read science books. Not textbooks, good popular science books are just as useful for this kind of work, as it's already been broken down into simpler language for you. And only read the ones that you're interested in - it shouldn't be a chore to read them.

But I would recommend reading outside your subject area, so if you're into physics, then read some books on biology and vice versa (everyone should read Stephen J. Gould).  However, the more knowledge you have, the more questions you'll be able to answer.

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Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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Occupation Details

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Games Programmer

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an engineer must complete four years of college and work for several years in engineering to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€24k > 70 
Computer Games Programmer
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€24 - 70 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
Morgan McKinley

Last Updated: April, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Computer games programmers turn the ideas and specifications of games designers into games that people can actually play.


Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records: 1

Jason Ruane
Computer Programmer  

Jason works as a Computer Programmer for Intel. He went to DCU (Dublin City University) to complete a BSc in Applied Physics, from where he went to immediate employment with Intel. Since then he has completed a Masters in Applied computing at DIT. Both courses have prepared him very well for his current position.

Go to Interview  
 

The Work header image

It takes a variety of talented people working many long hours to produce a successful video game. Besides programmers, the production team may include artists, musicians, actors, analysts, game designers, accountants and project managers. A successful game programmer must be willing to work closely with a variety of nontechnical people, write code according to detailed specifications and endure long hours to produce the next spectacular video game.

Programming Skills

Game programming ranges from working with high performance console games written in machine language to casual Internet games using standard web programming languages. There are many types of programmers, including engine programmers, artificial intelligence programmers, graphics programmers, sound programmers, tool programmers, network programmers, physics programmers, and user interface programmers.

A game programmer must be fluent in a variety of languages and be able to switch when needed. Start with traditional languages like C and C++ and some understanding of machine languages and embedded programming. Game designers rely heavily on physics engines, game libraries and special purpose languages so programmers must have the skills to learn new tools quickly, getting up to speed reading manuals and following code examples.

Internet and mobile-based games are the early 21st century rage, so become familiar with web programming, Android and Apple's IOS development.

Communication Skills

Game programmers work closely with a variety of team members ranging from artists and performers to mathematicians and business people. While most of the day is spent writing computer code, you will also need to work and communicate with other team members. Learn to speak and understand their jargon so you can translate their needs into code. An artist, for instance, will describe changes to video rendering in terms of light and shading, but not necessarily in terms of pixels or color values. The better you understand their needs, the more realistic the game you help to create and the player's experience will be.

Gaming Experience

Computer gamers share a culture built from long hours playing in the same virtual worlds. While it may be possible to assimilate some of this from other gamers, a certain amount of background and knowledge of this culture will be needed to communicate with other team members. Specifications and problem reports will assume an understanding of gaming concepts and gamers judge new games against past experience. When two programmers with similar abilities interview for a new position, the one with the most gaming experience has the competitive advantage.

 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Correct errors by making appropriate changes and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced.

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Conduct trial runs of programs and software applications to be sure they will produce the desired information and that the instructions are correct.

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Write, update, and maintain computer programs or software packages to handle specific jobs such as tracking inventory, storing or retrieving data, or controlling other equipment.

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Write, analyze, review, and rewrite programs, using workflow chart and diagram, and applying knowledge of computer capabilities, subject matter, and symbolic logic.

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Perform or direct revision, repair, or expansion of existing programs to increase operating efficiency or adapt to new requirements.

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Consult with managerial, engineering, and technical personnel to clarify program intent, identify problems, and suggest changes.

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Perform systems analysis and programming tasks to maintain and control the use of computer systems software as a systems programmer.

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Compile and write documentation of program development and subsequent revisions, inserting comments in the coded instructions so others can understand the program.

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Prepare detailed workflow charts and diagrams that describe input, output, and logical operation, and convert them into a series of instructions coded in a computer language.

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Consult with and assist computer operators or system analysts to define and resolve problems in running computer programs.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Interacting With Computers:  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Thinking Creatively:  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

bullet

Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

bullet

Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Administration and Management:  Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

bullet

Programming:   Writing computer programs for various purposes.

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Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Quality Control Analysis:   Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

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Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

bullet

Systems Evaluation:   Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

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Operations Analysis:   Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

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Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a computer games programmer, you will need an interest in computers and a good knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, computer games. Advanced programming skills, preferably in a number of different computer languages, are essential.  
 
As with most computer-related jobs, you will require a logical, methodical approach to your work. You will also need to be patient and painstaking, as developing a new game from scratch is a long and demanding process.  
 
You will need to be a good team worker, able to get along with others and meet deadlines. You must also be willing to spend many hours sitting at a computer developing code. Good problem-solving abilities are essential when attempting to remove 'bugs' and to find ways to solve complex programming challenges.  
 
Those working as consultants should be prepared to travel to visit clients and spend some nights away from home.  
 
A constant willingness to learn and develop your knowledge is also important as the industry is constantly changing and improving.


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Content Developer - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Games developer - from:  GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

bullet

Organisation: ICS - The Society for Chartered IT Professionals in Ireland
  Address: 87-89 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4
  Tel: (01) 644 7820
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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