Are Game Design Degrees Worth It?
Career Development From old school arcade classics to cutting-edge virtual reality, gaming is one of the nation's favorite pastimes. But is a degree in game development worth the price tag?
As a department chair and associate professor, some of the more common questions I receive from parents are: “Why go to college to make games?” or “Will my son or daughter get a job in gaming when they graduate?”
As the price tag for going to college continually increases, answers to these questions become more urgent.
The good news is that studying any of the four main areas of game development—game design, game art, game programming, and game sound—has broader applications than one may think.
"The key is to have a deep and broad set of skills that can translate into any career."
Game programming and design can go beyond the basics by building skills that include 3-D modeling and texturing, animation, non-linear sound design and music composition and artificial intelligence programming.
The key is to identify a game development program that offers skill sets for students to create and design well beyond entertainment game industry parameters.
Seeing entertainment as a whole
While the entertainment industry is still the dominant area of growth, there are now many other opportunities for students to use and expand their knowledge in the workforce. The most prominent of these are training, simulation and educational games.
Companies are now training employees with simulation software, and new developments in areas ranging from medical operative training and legal case preparation to machine operation are creating new demands for graduates with the ability to cross industries. The key is to have a deep and broad set of skills that can translate into any career.
Equally important to a student’s education is learning how to be successful in a team environment. If a student has a strong understanding of the theory and practice of development in immersive environments, the possibilities become exponential.
Self-discovery, creativity and collaboration are essential in today’s workforce and help broaden the palette of job opportunities. From there, the future is theirs.