What does a Unity Developer do?

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Unity Developers work with Unity – a runtime and development environment for games (aka game engine). The majority of Unity products are generally geared at gaming platforms such as PC, game consoles, mobile devices, and web browsers. So, what exactly do Unity developers do?

What is Unity used for?

Unity is primarily used for game development. This development environment enables the development of computer games and other interactive 3D graphics applications for Windows, Linux (beta only), and macOS.

The gaming industry is booming. With the rise of gaming – both convention and in VR mode, there is a rising demand for game developers to work on building an array of virtual worlds – each one completely different from the other.

The Unity platform has become the SDK for Wii U and you can even deploy to consoles like Playstation, or Xbox. And so, Unity developers can design VR games as well as conventional games that are visualized on a monitor or television.

However, Unity developers are not exclusive to the gaming industry. Apart from gaming, industries such as medicine, the automotive industry, or aeronautical engineering are also employing VR tools based on the Unity environment

Here, a unity developer designs virtual learning and work platforms as well as simulation and visualization systems, for example for autonomous driving. Augmented reality also finds a wide variety of fields of application. 

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Responsibilities of a Unity Developer

A Unity developer working in the gaming industry is responsible for building games for various target platforms based on the Unity framework.

Unity Developer - Role Overview
Unity Developer – Role Overview

Their primary responsibilities will be to implement game functionality by translating design ideas, concepts, and requirements into a functional and engaging game. A commitment to collaborative problem solving, sophisticated design, and a quality product are essential.

What tasks does a Unity Developer have?

  • Implement game functionality as per communicated design
  • Translate design specification into functional game
  • Implement features in a fast and agile environment
  • Communicate with other team members to establish effective pipeline and integrate media assets
  • Design, build and maintain efficient, reusable, and reliable code
  • Ensure the best possible performance, quality, and responsiveness of applications
  • Identify bottlenecks and bugs, and devise solutions to address and mitigate these problems
  • Optimize game elements by incorporating player feedback
  • Help maintain code quality, organization, and automatization
  • Committing code to remote repositories such as Git

Unity Developer – Skills Required

Unity web development requires certain skills and knowledge of video games. 

A Unity developer will sometimes focus only on the design and more artistic and other times will focus only on the coding. The good thing would be a middle ground.

To create complex projects, coding skills need to be absolute (C#, UnityScript, Boo). Unity developers need to brush up on the latest coding practices within the gaming industry.

Unity Developer - Skills Required
Unity Developer – Skills Required

In addition, having a strong visual sense also helps – being able to produce stunning interactive graphics is an especially important skill to have as a Unity Developer. If you’re looking to up your skills, Unity offers great resources within the Asset Store that can help game developers with little experience in coding. For instance, you’ll find visual scripting with PlayMaker or Bolt. 

Here are essential skills required as a Unity Developer: 

  • Excellent knowledge of Unity, including experience with scripting, textures, animation, GUI styles, and user session management
  • C# programming skills to write Scripts
  • Familiarity with level design and planning
  • Knowledge of with game physics and particle systems
  • Experience with mobile and console game development
  • Ability to optimize memory and space usage for support of older hardware
  • Experience with 3D / 2D development
  • Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality experience
  • Strong understanding of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and Data-Oriented Programming
  • Experience using the Entity Component System (ECS)
  • Familiarity with current design and architectural patterns
  • A knack for writing clean, readable, and easily maintainable code
  • Experience in implementing automated testing platforms and unit tests
  • Knowledge of code versioning tools (Git)

Background

Unity Developers can come from a wide range of backgrounds – both academic and otherwise. While having a Bachelor’s Degree may help on your resume (BS in Computer Science), you do not need a specific degree for this role. 

Unity freelancers, in particular, do not generally have academic backgrounds and instead allow an extensive portfolio of development projects to back up their skills and expertise.

If you’re relatively new to the industry, you might consider commonly sought after certifications such as from Coursera or the official Unity Certification

Salary

Your starting salary as a Unity Developer is influenced by various factors. The industry, the employer, the type of products you deal with, your level of skill, and expertise. 

The starting salary for a Unity Developer is around $50,000 gross per year. The average salary is about $85,000 and the top salary can reach up to $130,000 per year

How much do Unity Developers make?

Junior Salary$50,000
Average Salary$85,000
Senior Salary$130,000

How much does a freelance Unity Developer make?

The average freelancer hourly rate of a Unity Developer is $67. Extrapolated to an 8-hour day, the daily rate is thus around $536 (freelancermap price index – as of April 2020).

Freelance Rate - Unity Developer
Freelance Rate – Unity Developer

Are Unity Developers in demand?

Apart from the gaming industry, more and more sectors and industries are seeing an opportunity in using Unity. The potential of what this engine can do presents an amazing chance for Unity developers, who can expect to see several job opportunities down the line.

In order to appeal to your prospective employer, as a Unity developer, you need to keep an eye out for the new features that Unity releases and stay up to date. If you’re looking to work in industries such as medical or automotive, brush up on skills needed in these fields.

The best Unity developers have the desire to constantly learn and stay in touch with evolving game standards and development technologies.

Freelance Unity developers are also in demand because unity projects are such that they can easily be outsourced. Unity freelancers have the advantage of having worked in different projects and having varied experience in the field. This is a plus point on any resume.

Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

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