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Learn Where to Hire Game Developers from Recruitment Experts

 

If you’re thinking LinkedIn is where you should start if you want to hire game developers, then you couldn’t be more wrong! The game development industry is its own world with its own rules. Recruitment agencies, outstaffing/outsourcing companies, Facebook groups, and Skype chats are actually some of the best places to find game development talent.

We’re Skillers, an IT recruitment agency based in Ukraine. 13% of the technical vacancies we fill for our clients are game development positions, so we like to think we know a thing or two about hiring game developers. Below, you’ll find out how to hire top game developers, how much Eastern European game developers make, how to recruit an entire game development team, and much, much more.

Game Developers in Eastern Europe

With a total of 1.3 million software developers, Eastern Europe is a go-to destination for filling the gaps left by the tech talent shortage that plagues Europe and the US. Game development, of course, is a more niche industry, but as recruiters working in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, we rarely have problems finding the right game development specialist for our clients.

All three countries have a great supply of game developers, but there are a number of differences between them. A typical Ukrainian or Belarusian game developer speaks English well and has experience with a large variety of games, including AAA titles as well as indie products. The Belarusian game development market is a little smaller than the Ukrainian.

Russia’s pool of game developers is larger, but they’re less accustomed to working with international clients because the majority of Russia’s game products are aimed towards local consumers. As a result, Russian game developers often speak English worse than their Ukrainian and Belarusian counterparts.

A few of the largest game development companies based in Eastern Europe include:

  • 4A Games: the Metro series
  • Crytek: the Crysis series, CryEngine
  • GSC Game World: S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Cossacks
  • Nival: Rage of Mages, Etherlords, Blitzkrieg, Silent Storm, Heroes of Might and Magic V, Allods Online
  • Ubisoft: Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, the Far Cry series, Anno 1800
  • Wargaming: World of Tanks, World of Warships, World of Warplanes

Average Game Developer Salary

Based on our experience, the average game developer salary is $2,750 (net). $500 is the average entry-level salary and $4,000–$4,500 is the average monthly salary of a senior game developer (bear in mind that all the figures featured here are true only for the locations where we hire game developers, that is for Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus).

On the whole, game developers make less than software engineers working on enterprise projects in outsourcing companies. However, employers still have to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain key specialists.

For example, if an engineer plays an important part in engine development and knows everything there’s to know about the development part of the game, their net salary will most likely vary between $4,000 and $5,000 a month. Mid-level specialists typically make $2,000–$3,500. Entry-level engineers agree to lower salaries of $500–$1,200 a month for the sake of experience.

The difference in salaries depending on a specific technology isn’t great. Below is a standard breakdown of salaries depending on a developer’s level of experience for C++ and Unity (C#).

Average C++ Game Developer Salary

Seniority Level

Years of Experience

Average Net Monthly Salary

Senior C++ Game Developer

5+ years

$4,000–$5,000

Middle C++ Game Developer

1–4 years

$1,600–$3,000

Junior C++ Game Developers

>1 year

$500–$1,000

Average Unity (C#) Game Developer Salary

Seniority Level

Years of Experience

Average Net Monthly Salary

Senior Unity Game Developer

5+ years

$3,500–$4,500

Middle Unity Game Developer

1–4 years

$2,200–$3,500

Junior Unity Game Developers

>1 year

$500–$1,000

How to Hire Top Game Developers

  • Hire a local recruiter with experience in the game development industry. The world of game development is a rather tight-knit community. You stand a much better chance of finding the specialist you need through good old word-of-mouth and recommendations than by posting vacancies on job search websites or browsing LinkedIn (more on why looking for game developers on LinkedIn isn’t a good idea below). For that to work, of course, you need to get yourself a great recruiter that has a good standing in the local game development community and a wide network of contacts. A recruiter who isn’t based in the country (or city) where you’re planning to hire game developers simply won’t be able to deliver the same results.
  • Engage a recruitment agency that has experience filling game development vacancies. A recruitment agency obviously has greater recruitment capacities than a single recruiter, so if time is of the essence, it’s definitely worth investing more into an agency. With the same reasoning in mind, it’s also best if you engage an agency with industry-specific experience.
  • Find online game development communities. No matter what location you choose for hiring game developers, it will definitely have game developer groups on Facebook or VK (Russia) as well as Telegram or Skype chats dedicated to game development. These are actually among the best places to hire game developers. The only downside is that the language used in these communities is mostly Russian, so you may need the help of someone local. You could also consider people who write and comment on articles dedicated to game development on such platforms as DTF and Habr as part of your search. GitHub is also a perfectly valid search location. 
  • Partner with an outsourcing/outstaffing company that focuses on games. Outsourcing/outstaffing vendors make up the bulk of Ukraine’s IT industry, and a number of them specialize exclusively on game development. A partner like this will be able to provide you with gaming talent within a very short timeframe.
  • Open your own office. This option is naturally the most time-consuming of all. But if your ultimate goal is to build a large team for long-term cooperation, this is the one for you. Find a local recruiter that will help you build the rest of the team, starting with key positions, an R&D Manager, an engineering Manager, or a CTO, who will then continue to add new employees with your minimum engagement.

You may have noticed that we didn’t mention using job search websites. That’s because your chances of finding a middle or senior game developer there are pretty slim.

And keep in mind that if you’re looking for a game designer, ArtStation and Behance are where you have to be. Designers and artists showcase their portfolios on these websites and rarely bother posting their CVs anywhere. A few other places you may want to check out are DeviantArt, Pinterest, and Instagram.

How to Find a Game Developer on LinkedIn

Finding a game developer on LinkedIn is more challenging than, say, finding a Java engineer. Because of the way LinkedIn’s search works these days, you need to come up with very specific keywords to narrow down the list of available specialists. The specialists, however, don’t tend to be very detailed in their profiles.

For example, some C++ game developers work on engines, while others work on gameplay. More often than not, they’ll both say “C++ Developer” in their profile titles. What will most likely happen is you’ll end up with a giant list of game developers without being able to tell who does what exactly, and reaching out to them personally will take quite a long while. We’re not trying to convince you that finding a game developer on LinkedIn is impossible, however, we do believe that other methods we’ve described above are likely to be more effective.

How to Recruit a Game Development Team

If you want to recruit an entire game development team fast, your best bet is to engage an outsourcing/outstaffing vendor that focuses on game development or to find an indie game producer that would be interested in making extra money on the side. If you choose the latter option, you should understand that it’s unlikely that the company would be able to provide you with full-time engagement.

What Is a Game Developer?

 

This part is for those who are new to game development and aren’t exactly sure what game developers do exactly. “Game developer” is actually an umbrella term that includes a large variety of engineering functions from gameplay development to graphics programming. In small indie productions, each team member often has to perform a few roles, whereas large game development companies typically hire a specific professional for a specific job. And what jobs are they?

Game Developer Job Titles

  1. Gameplay developers are responsible for game mechanics. They work very closely with game designers.
  2. Back-end developers work with servers, parsers, and data retrieval.
  3. Engine developers build game engines (utilities, tools for other developers, SDK integrations).
  4. Animation developers build animation systems and tools for animators and developers. Companies that have custom engines typically require these specialists.
  5. DevOps engineers are responsible for microservers. They’re often the ones to communicate with clients too. DevOps developers are wanted in companies that develop online multiplayer games or games that include online purchases and updates.
  6. Tools developers create tools for game designers.
  7. UI developers work on graphic interfaces of games and sometimes on appearance customization for 3D characters.
  8. Graphics programmers are responsible for making a game look as good as it possibly can. They work with the low-level layer, as well as with shaders and graphics optimization of the final gaming product.
  9. Client developers process events and work with high-level interfaces.

Average Time to Hire Game Developers in Ukraine

Based on our experience within the last three years, the average time to hire game developers in Ukraine is 24 days.

There have been cases when we were able to find the right candidate within less than a week. There have also been times when it took us 56 days to fill a vacancy. Time to hire depends on a variety of external factors (for example, developers weren’t exactly eager to communicate with recruiters at the start of the 2020 quarantine) as well as the complexity of the client’s requirements. 

Recruit Top Ukrainian Game Developers with Skillers

A recruitment agency with relevant experience can quickly single out the most important parts of your requirements, thoroughly evaluate a large number of candidates within a short period of time, make a shortlist of the best-fit candidates, and then present your company and project to them in the most attractive way. They’ll then check the candidates’ soft skills, and leave you to conduct interviews with the remaining best few.

This is exactly what you can expect from Skillers. Filling challenging technical positions of middle, senior, and managerial levels is what we do best. Since 2005, we’ve helped 90 clients fill 1,500 vacancies, with 13% being game development positions.

Companies usually approach us with a specific request, and we come back to them with a market analysis that contains information on what countries are best to look for the specialists they’re interested in, what cultural differences they may expect, and how much these specialists cost.

VenBest Recruiting (Skillers) provided the best recruitment service I have ever encountered from a recruitment company. From the start they were able to target candidates’ skills to the right opportunities in our company and then followed up to completion in the shortest possible time frame while also providing constant recommendations for candidates. 

Svetlana Zvjagintseva, Talent Manager at Frag Lab

In game development, you have to be very specific, so we try to get as much valuable information about the client and their project as possible so that we can present them to potential candidates in the best light.

We’ve accumulated a large number of contacts in the game development industry, with developers and managers alike, and we’d love to use our expertise to help you recruit great game developers. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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