Marmalade Game Studio’s Mike Willis discusses the key skills needed for his role in programming

Get That Job Daily: How to be a game programmer

Every working day this month, as part of our New Year, New Job 2014 special, Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.

Head of programming

Mike Willis, head of programming at Marmalade Game Studio, explains what it takes work your way up to becoming a coding chief, responsible for everything from back-end tools to the production pipeline.

What is your job role?
I’m head of programming for Marmalade Game Studio. It is my job to make sure the software happens and, therefore, everything that entails from leading and managing the programmers, to making sure the artists have the necessary engine features and streamlined pipelines and getting involved with design and production to make sure you can build what they want.

How would someone become a game programmer?
Have a passion for programming and making games. Learn to program and start making stuff. A passionate games programmer who has portfolio that contains more than just their degree coursework is much more likely to get a job quickly.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
A degree is the standard level of qualification. Computer Science is the obvious one to ensure your programming is up to scratch. Most engineering degrees are good too as long as you can program. The games degrees are good but make sure they have enough programming in C++.

What do you look for when recruiting a new game programmer?
Passion for games and making games with a portfolio that proves it.

What opportunities are there for career progression?
Plenty as long as you have initiative and a desire to learn. There are so many different areas to learn and specialise in and once you gain experience you can think about leading small project and teams.

Why choose to follow a career in your field?
It’s great fun and there’s a huge sense of achievement that comes with seeing what you’ve made come to life and being played.

If you’d like to get involved with Get That Job Daily, contact You can take a look at all the available programming vacancies over at our Develop Jobs section.

This feature is part of New Year, New Job 2014, Develop’s month-long guide to games recruitment. You can read more at

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