Video Game Design Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Video Game Design Degree

Video game designers are valuable members of the design teams responsible for creating fun using programming and technology. Earning a degree provides students with an interest in the exciting field of video game design the tools, technical knowledge, and skills necessary for long term career success. Creating video games is a complex task from start to finish from plot, to characters, and the actual game play. Producing a video game requires a team of qualified professionals with skills in graphic design, animation, character art, drawing, texture art, finance, marketing, information technology, graphic design, and multimedia technology. Students who complete video game design programs gain a well rounded educational understanding of technology, communications, business, and art necessary for a broad range of careers.

Many students manage family and work obligations in addition to their educational responsibilities while pursuing a degree. Most colleges and universities have recognized the growing demand for online degree programs in response to the growing demand of students unable to attend on campus instruction. Online courses generally provide students with virtually the same educational experiences and instruction as their traditional, brick and mortar counterparts. Online courses also provide the added benefits of 24 hour access to class materials and increased flexibility in class scheduling. Additionally, online courses generally provide students, within groups of 25 students, one on one interactions with instructors and other students. Online degrees are often one of the most convenient, affordable, and rewarding paths to educational and professional success.

What Students Learn Within A Video Game Design Degree Program

A degree in video game design prepares students for exciting careers in the field. Video game design programs combine the technical knowledge and artistic aspects necessary to advance to jobs as qualified professionals. Video game design courses are based in cultivating creativity and mastering technology to create entertainment. Most students choose to specialize their degree within business, technology, or art to refine skills and increase future employability. There is no educational standard necessary for careers within video game design or development though many employers prefer candidates with distinguished design abilities, programming knowledge, and computer science backgrounds. Many employers prefer candidates with degrees in game design, game development, or information systems. Many students with an interest in video game design begin their studies within computer programming degrees at an associate level.

Associate degree courses include: computer programming, data structures and algorithms, advanced programming topics, object oriented programming and testing, rapid application development, internet programming, introduction to information systems, user centered design and testing, mulimedia technologies, web design and development, java programming, C++ programming, C# programming, computer networking fundamentals, applied business law, computer operating systems, computer hardware concepts, programming concepts; fundamental programming techniques, computer operating systems, computer hardware concepts, computer networking fundamentals, network management, network routing, web design, programming concepts, web site design methodology, web content development content generation scripting languages, web animation, web authoring, and e-commerce systems administration. Graduates from an associate’s degree program may advance to entry level employment or continue their studies.

Classes at a bachelor level include: statistics, research methods, contemporary world culture; modern and contemporary art, ethics, environmental issues, statistics, introduction to gaming technology, managing game development, game design process, creative writing and storyboarding for games, game design strategies, advanced animation, level design, game interface design, game engines and production, the game development team, evolution of electronic games, game design workshop, critical game studies, game platforms and standards, game tools and techniques, rapid game prototyping, serious game design, casual game design, storyboarding, game scripting, game story and characters, writing for interactive games, game production and documentation, principles of interactivity, character development, basics of music, applied game AI concepts, scriptwriting, and psychology of conflict and violence. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs often advance to employment within game design careers or continue to master’s degree programs.

Courses within a master’s degree program include: research methods in technology; elements of video games, technology and the American workplace, game production and documentation, game theory and level design, character modeling, project management, game marketing and advertising, critical game studies, serious games and instructional design, the business of gaming, game project, video game design, prototype game development, level design, visual development, visual development for games, visual development: storyboards and animatics, game art, effects animation, character design, 3D modeling, vector graphic games, prop modeling, texture and light, ethics, character and hero props modeling, advanced texture techniques, modeling and animation, advanced environment modeling, and organizational management.

Graduates from a master’s degree program are generally qualified as experts and may hold upper level design, concept, and positions. Some graduates with master’s degrees work as instructors within educational institutions. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs who wish to expand education to a doctoral degree program must choose a field related to game design as PhD programs in that discipline do not exist. Many students pursue a doctoral degree in organizational leadership with a specialization in game design.

At the highest level, classes include communication strategies, information systems strategies and leadership, creative and critical thinking, foundations of information systems management, constructing meaning, fundamental principles of research, management philosophies, research design, knowledge worker information systems, information technology for teams, departmental information systems, organizational information systems management, partnership and industry information systems, global information systems management, information systems management, software architecture and design, game production and documentation, game marketing and advertising, serious games and instructional design, and the business of gaming.

Prospective Jobs For Graduates With Video Game Design Degrees

A video game design degree provides students with a solid educational background in computers, art, design, animation, multimedia, and business. Graduates with video game design degrees have the potential to work within various industries. As technology is rapidly expanding and consumer demand for video games rises, graduates with video game design degrees who display their style, creativity, and skill are expected to find plenty of job opportunities in very competitive field. As creating a video game requires a team of professionals of various qualifications, graduates with video game design degrees who specialize training often find increased employability.

Graduates who complete associate degree programs may work as assistants to lead artists and designers, animators, character riggers, storyboard artists, 3D animators, texture artists, or 3D modelers. Graduates with bachelor degrees may work as visual effects animators, user interface artists, concept artists, level artists, technicians, producers, lead animators, character animators, and level designers. Graduates with master’s degrees often work as executive producers, art directors, creative directors, lead game designers, technical art directors, or cinematic directors. Many individuals with advanced degrees may also work as instructors within vocational schools, colleges, and universities.

Salary Range For Graduates With Video Game Design Degrees

Graduates with video game design degrees have earnings reflective of their organization of employment, level of education, and work experiences. Earnings for game designers and other professionals within the industry vary tremendously and are dependent upon the job that they do. The average annual earnings for most video game design degree professionals is $68,000 annually per reports from video game market research companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports wages for network and computer systems administrators (the classification game developers are part of) generally earn between $51,690 to $84,110 annually. Starting salaries and job responsibilities for the many professionals working within the field of video game design varies tremendously. Median annual salaries for software animators is $50,360. Median annual salaries for art directors is $63,840. Programmers and other computer specialists generally have median annual earnings of $73,060.

Career Advancement and Advancement Opportunities For Video Game Design Degree Graduates

As technology changes and population expands, the demand for qualified video game design professionals is projected to increase substantially through the year 2018 at a much faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. Growth varies tremendously by factors like areas of specialty, education level and consumer demand. Most graduates with a degree will find plentiful job opportunities due to rapid changes in technology and increased consumer demand. There is a tremendous amount of competition for entry level jobs within the field of game design due to the volume of applicants in relation to the number of available jobs. Offshoring may slightly affect the number of jobs available to graduates but over all the field of game design is predicted to expand significantly and offer numerous employment opportunities. As new games are constantly developed and gaming systems emerge and upgrade, the demand for video game designers and other workers is predicted to increase.

Employment opportunities are expected to be best for graduates with the combination of education, work experience, and an established reputation. Many graduates begin their careers within entry level video game technician positions and advance to more complex projects with increased responsibilities and higher pay. Many also advance to supervisory or lead designer positions after acquiring years of on the job experiences and/or continuing education. Graduates who complete advanced degree programs often begin their careers as lead designers, production managers, and creative directors to eventually advance to instructor positions within educational institutions or independent consultants within the field of video game design. As with most design professions, graduates who establish their reputation, skills, and creativity often build lucrative careers in the field of video game design.

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