I’ve said that the cost of employing an average mid-level developer is usually estimated at approximately $10,000 USD per month. This doesn’t mean all developers cost the same amount. There are two major determining factors for compensation in the game industry - discipline and experience level. Regardless of discipline, a developer gets a pay band commensurate with her experience level. The more experienced, the higher the pay.
The various disciplines also command different pay bands. Generally, programmers are the most highly paid developers as a group. Their skills are in high demand across multiple industries. Producers run the broadest range based on experience - entry level producers are paid very little, while executive producer usually has the highest pay on the dev team. Designers and artists are paid less than programmers, but more than QA as a general rule. The lowest paid discipline is usually QA. The more technical or difficult the role is to hire for, the higher the base pay tends to be.
This would mean that, for example, a mid-level programmer that wanted to become a mid-level designer would likely need to accept a pay cut because the salary band for designers is lower than the salary band for programmers. Going from QA to a programmer role would come with a significant pay increase. And so on and so forth.
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