5 Courses for Video Game Degrees
From first-person shooters (FPS) to immersive role-playing games (RPGs) – and everything in-between – the culture surrounding video game degrees has never been bigger than it is now.
However, just because countless fans from around the world love to sit down and put their skills to the test, is it really possible to earn a video game degree and turn this passion for games into a full-blown career?
The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes.”
To help you map out the path to this dream job, let’s spend a few minutes covering the top five video game degrees you can pursue, as well as what’s waiting for you in the private sector once you’re finished walking across the graduation stage with a degree in hand.
First up on the list is the Bachelor’s Degree in Game Design. As the name implies, this area of study offers a broad overview of the creation and production process implemented by video game developers and other members of the design team. Specifically, you can expect to cover topics that include storytelling, discrete mathematics, level design, play balancing, design tools, and even how to manage game economics and social issues.
Learn how you can be a part of creating the next generation of games with a video game design degree online.
In terms of actual curriculum, the following examples serve as strong indicators of the types of classes that comprise the average game design program:
- Programming Foundations
- Systems Thinking
- World Building
- Professional Writing
Obtaining this degree – often via online schooling – usually requires a commitment of around 120 credit hours. Additionally, completing project development portfolios and team-building assignments can also enter the picture depending on your chosen institution.
If you lean more towards an appreciation of the artistic and aesthetic side of the gaming experience, then a Bachelor’s Degree in Game Art might be more to your liking. This program of study focuses on production methods that serve as the basis for 3-D model generation, as well as how to apply traditional art and animation principles to a virtual setting.
Classes you can expect on your way to this degree include:
- Shading and Lighting
- Game Animation
- Motion Capture
- Environment Art
Check out program highlights, innovations, and opportunities available to you when you opt to earn your degree in Game Art Online.
Outside of becoming well-versed in the application of video game art theory and development best practices, a degree in this field also provides you with the opportunity to showcase your artistic skills via one of the fastest-growing mediums in the modern world. Much like the Bachelor’s Degree in Game Design, you’ll need to complete about 120 credit hours before you can add this higher education achievement to your resume.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Animation takes the concepts of Game Art and applies it to the much larger canvas of game worlds and rendered environments. Traditionally, professionals that delve into this learning opportunity seek to populate digital settings with interactive models and custom game art, all while ensuring content continuity and quality.
Should this field pique your interest, be prepared to tackle the following curriculum during your time in the (virtual) classroom:
- 2-D Animation
- 3-D Animation
- Visual Development
- Compositing Fundamentals
Learn more about how you can develop animated content for games, television, and feature films from the comfort of home: Online Bachelor’s in Computer Animation
Again, 120 credit hours is the norm for securing this kind of degree. It’s also important to note that many institutions require the completion of a personal portfolio as part of this program, so be ready to demonstrate and display your ability to create professional-level design assets. This portfolio will also come in handy on the job hunt after graduation!
Planning, designing, and optimizing software is the name of the game for those who earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. As the most diverse member of this top five list, computer science majors handle a variety of “back-end” tasks while serving as systems architects for the foundation of the video game development process.
Taking on this role starts with handling coursework that includes:
- Principles of Programming Languages
- Cognitive Science
- Digital logic
The average computer science program ranges in the 116 to 128 credit hour range. Fortunately, demonstrating prior experience in Java, C++, and other programming skill-sets can help reduce your time expenditure and expedite the learning process significantly.
Multiplatform Software Development
The final addition to the list – a Bachelor’s Degree in Multiplatform Software Development – aims to translate the game development process to the growing world of devices. Specializing in game design for iOS, Android, Windows, and other platforms is the major selling point of this career path: Bachelor’s in Multiplatform Software Development Online
To earn a degree in multiplatform development, you’ll generally spend time learning:
- Scalable Data Infrastructures
- Interfaces and Usability
- Visual Frameworks
- Interface Design
It is important to note that many students in this field end up serving as independent contractors, so programs typically spend a little time covering the business side of mobile development, as well as how to conduct and implement market research. In total, you can expect to dedicate at least 120 credit hours to the process of obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree.
Gauging Your Career Prospects
On the whole, the video game design industry offers an appealing career outlook for those who wish to turn their favorite pastime into a full-time job. The average developer or artist in this field makes about $63,640 annually according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while those who go on to lead teams or take on executive roles in the creation process can earn up to $72,960 during the same time span.
Going a step farther, job availability over the next decade projects to move along at a healthy growth rate of six percent.
Taking a Different Path
Of course, there’s no rule or mandate that says you have to use your new-found education and expertise exclusively in the world of video game development. In fact, plenty of professionals start out with this field in mind, only to branch out into new industries and opportunities later on down the road.
For instance, capturing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Animation can also apply to television post-production, while becoming an expert in mobile development gives you the freedom to craft apps and tools for iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms. The computer science field is also an excellent example since software developers, web developers, and network systems administrators all utilize the skill-sets acquired from this learning experience.
At the end of the day, the message here is clear: Pursuing any of these degrees is really just the first step in your journey. Once you’re ready to put your education to good use, where you take this opportunity in the video game industry – or any other sector – is entirely up to you.