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Questions about career

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Hi, I am a 13 year old and I've been playing games for practically my entire life, and I am thinking about getting into game development as my career. However I am worried about for one the pay, and if I will be able to support myself. And two if I will even be able to get a job in the industry because obviously a lot of people would want to get a job in this field and it will be very competitive. I have already started fiddling with unity and i really like it, so its not a matter of resources or if I enjoy it. So i guess my question for someone who is already in the industry is was it worth it? And if so do you have any tips or advise on how to get a good job as a game developer. Thanks in advance..

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1. The pay is reasonable if you have the right skill set. The pay is lousy if you work as a tester in QA. It's awesome if you work as a programmer. You didn't say which game job you aspire to. 

2. Yes, it's competitive. It's not easy to get hired, unless you outshine the competition. The competition for you, 10 years from now, is "other college grads." (I'm saying you need to get a college degree.)

3. "Worth" is subjective. Only YOU can determine whether or not something is "worth it" for YOU. 

Salary link1: https://www.gameindustrycareerguide.com/video-game-programmer-salary/

Salary link2: https://www.jobmonkey.com/videogamejobs/video_game_design_compensation/

Salary link3: https://www.gamasutra.com/salarysurvey2014.pdf

Getting hired: http://sloperama.com/advice/jobapp.htm

Worth: http://sloperama.com/advice/route66.htm

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Are those salaries real? Do people actually make $70,000 with under 3 years of experience as a game programmer? And where? If it's in San Francisco, $70k is not much. I heard for a family with 2 children, if you are earning less than $100k you can barely afford living in the Bay area for example.

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1 hour ago, Magogan said:

Are those salaries real? Do people actually make $70,000 with under 3 years of experience as a game programmer? And where? If it's in San Francisco, $70k is not much. I heard for a family with 2 children, if you are earning less than $100k you can barely afford living in the Bay area for example.

Yup. Everything depends on where you live and where you work. Ie, in France, normal game companies do not pay their employees. If you make 25K€ per year (gross salary, so you earn less once you paid your salary taxes), you can feel happy. And this will be in Paris, the most expensive city in France. If you are very lucky, it will be in Lyon. Some companies will tend to settle in less expensive areas (ie Spain). Other main places in UE will be in London, and there you can expect 30-35K£ a year. But again this is not that much. With such salaries, you can expect to live (have a very little bedroom and eat pastas everyday). If you move out from the game industry (ie you go to global industry) then salary will be slightly higher. Expect 30K in France (even out from Paris). In UK, this will generally be outside of London (even for Imagination Tech), and salaries will be almost the same. In Canada, you can expect a bit more, but again, will depend on your location (ie Vancouver will be more expensive than Montreal for exemple).

What you also need to know is that companies tend to flatten their salaries, worlwide speaking. So except if you are a top known programmer, with excellent skills, whether you will apply here or there, at the end, you'll mostly have the same thing. What will make differences is where you will apply. Ie, in USA, you'll be able to raise your salaries quickly if people are happy from your work. In France, not or very few.

Also note that these appealing salaries are made to appeal young, single and devoted people. If you have a family, if you expect to have a life appart from your job, then your chances to be hired will be lowered. I'm talking from my experience, from the believes I made, so I might be wrong here.

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Salaries are also whatever you negotiate.

Some people negotiate well, and they have exactly the skills and work history the company is desperate for.  In that scenario, pay can be quite high.

Some people bring less to the negotiating table, or don't have skills that perfectly align with what the company needs. In that scenario, pay is generally good, but as mentioned, depends on the role.  Programmers are usually the highest earning discipline in game development, but sometimes someone in that first group can earn more. 

Some people negotiate badly, or will automatically accept the first offer (which is always the company's lowest offer since they assume it is the starting point of the negotiation).  In that scenario, pay can be relatively low.   I've seen companies who immediately bump the rates up because they know their initial negotiation rate was too far below market rates.

Know what your wages should be, and learn how to negotiate your wages. Salary negotiation is an important skill to learn, and can have an enormous effect on your lifetime earnings.

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Salary is all well and good, but most entry level jobs are hourly, plan accordingly.  

if the OP is 13, than the best advice for now, is to work on your portfolio. Focus on making something, and releasing it. 

We can give him a bunch of #s about how much he can expect to make, but ultimately it won't matter at this stage, since he  is not of working age yet. 

Focus on school, and get a general CS degree, or something, game degrees are not what they are cracked up to be, for multiple reasons.  

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