When high school students spend hours playing video games, parents often say it’s a waste of time. However, these video game players, or “gamers,” can now find professional opportunities to complement their interest. The relatively young academic specialty of computer game technologies has grown in response to the popularity of the skyrocketing video game industry.
According to the NPD Group, Inc., a global leader in sales and marketing information, video game sales have grown from $6.6 billion in 2000 to $9.4 billion in 2004.
Building on the success of the game and simulation programming (GSP) bachelor’s degree program offered at 11 of its campuses nationwide, De. Vry University announced it will offer the degree program online beginning in spring 2006.
“Game development technologies will play an important role in shaping many aspects of the entertainment and defense industries for years to come,” said Steven Riehs, vice president and general manager of De. Vry University Online.
The campus-based GSP degree program was met with enthusiasm by students, faculty and employers and it’s expected that the online GSP program will allow even more students to pursue degrees in this growing industry.
According to Jesse Schell, former chairman of the International Game Development Association, the number of individuals looking to enter the gaming industry has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. He stresses that the gaming industry is not about theory, but the application of real technology and notes that individuals with hands-on experience developing games are most likely to succeed in these careers.
The university’s game and simulation programming degree program features course work in the math and physics of games, programming fundamentals, game design, modifications (MOD), massively multi-player online game programming (MMOG), two- and three-dimensional graphics programming, simulation and game engine design.
Graduates will be qualified for positions as programmers, software engineers and project coordinators in the computer game technology industry, as well as similar positions in simulation design and programming.
Examples include tactical and strategic military simulations and training, automotive design and testing, training for health care workers, crime scene reconstruction and flight simulation.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, entry-level gaming programmers/engineers with three years’ experience can expect to earn an average annual salary of $54,300.