While billions of people play video games all around the world, it takes a firm commitment to technical training, a pronounced focus on academic fundamentals, a willingness to work hard, and a great deal of raw determination to pursue a career in the gaming industry. If you’ve ever dreamed about working in the exciting and challenging world of video game creation, development, production, or sales, a college degree in gaming can make that dream a reality.
What a Gaming Degree Actually Entails
The first thing that aspiring video game professionals tend to ask before embarking on their career journey is, “Can you get a gaming degree?” While it is important to note that these programs are certainly NOT about playing video games all day, several gaming-focused college programs teach the intricacies of video game development and the skills you will need to succeed in the uniquely demanding gaming industry.
The Importance of Knowing Your Passion and Skills
First and foremost, gaming majors must be competent with technology and have a fervent interest in video games. Pursuing a career in this field can be challenging, so you must have a genuine love of it.
Furthermore, you’ll want to know what kind of career you want to pursue with your gaming degree so you can begin building the skills that will help get you there. For example, game design requires exceptional creative thinking and artistry, while game marketing requires a firm emphasis on business research, productive communications, and strategic decision-making.
The Many Different Paths of a Gaming Degree
From brainstorming creative video game concepts to building games using the fundamentals of interactive/user experience design, the video gaming degrees conferred by the University of the Cumberlands (UC) provide a wide variety of career-directed training. With the knowledge, skills, and credentials that UC provides, you can secure any number of desirable positions in the gaming industry. Here are just five among many areas of employment to consider:
Video game designers are responsible for conceiving and creating the user experience (UX), characters, and levels of a video game. While senior game designers generally oversee all aspects of game design, these team leaders may draw upon the talents of any number of individual graphic designers, sound designers, UX designers, and other design specialists.
Lead game designers generally work under the direction of game developers who regard design as one of many endeavors that must be managed to bring a popular and profitable gaming product to market. Their work requires productive partnerships with gaming professionals who range from programmers to marketers. To ensure they are providing consumers with the best possible user experience, they typically spearhead testing measures and continue to optimize games after their public release.
While many businesses can take a general approach to marketing, gaming companies tend to use highly specialized messaging to reach out to a very particular audience. For this reason, a business-related degree in gaming can make all the difference for marketing professionals who want to work in this industry.
Just as marketers must have an industry-specific focus to effectively sell to video game players, journalists must have an industry-specific focus to effectively write about them. Because billions of gamers worldwide are eager to learn about new games and read other information about their favorite hobby, the need for gaming journalists is on the rise.
An emerging growth field in academics and training, gaming education involves employing video games and the basic principles of gaming as learning tools. The engaging nature of video games has proven effective when it comes to presenting complex ideas, facilitating memory recall, guiding critical problem-solving, and facilitating countless other educational functions.
Why Would I Want to Get a Gaming Degree?
Relatively new to institutions of higher learning, gaming degree programs are quite popular among people who are passionate about video games. As they train you for a career in the gaming industry, these programs can help you in various ways, but it is extremely important to pursue the right degree for you.
Knowing the Gaming Degree
Degrees in gaming range from basic certificates and associate degrees to master’s degrees and even doctorates. Accredited postsecondary institutions generally require a significant depth and breadth of understanding and skill to acquire one of these degrees. For example, a bachelor’s degree program focused on game design will generally include courses that go beyond computer science and engineering to encompass design theory, project management, and other relevant topics.
Experiencing Professional Growth
While instilling the professional knowledge and skill that you will need to succeed in the video game industry, a good gaming degree program will focus on practical applications in the modern workplace. A great vehicle for career growth, these degrees can do wonders when it comes to helping gaming professionals in low-level positions climb the corporate ladder. Likewise, they can help professionals in other fields follow their interests within the gaming world.
Gaining Hands-On Experience
Game design and development courses typically employ hands-on learning in the form of student projects and class workshops that allow you to gain practical experience while still in school. Furthermore, most gaming students complete one or more internships during or directly after their studies. Working with seasoned gaming professionals inside the classroom and interning for established companies in the gaming industry, gaming students can gain the skill and confidence that they need to hit the ground running after landing that first job.
Getting Into the Industry
Whether it is through mentorship with accomplished professors or internships with industry leaders, college programs offer ample opportunities to make valuable job connections and build your professional network. Because successful collaboration is essential in the gaming industry, this network has the potential to fuel your career well into the future.
What Are the Challenges in the Gaming Industry?
Like any field, the gaming industry comes with some inherent challenges. Let your awareness of the following three factors steel your resolve to get the training you need to succeed.
You Are Moving into a Highly Competitive Career Space
While the existing and future job market for gaming professionals varies widely according to their areas of interest and expertise, it is safe to call the gaming career space highly competitive. Placed into the “Special Effects Artists and Animators” category by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), today’s game designers can expect their employment prospects to keep pace with the 5% national average through 2031. Computer programmers, however, fare far less well, facing a declining job market that is projected to fall by 10% over the same period of time.
You Must Stay on Top of Changing Technology
You simply cannot overestimate the importance of new technological advancements in the video game sector. From internet connectivity to platform expansion, the future of gaming is inextricably tied to the forward march of tech. Likewise, your professional future in the gaming industry is inextricably tied to your ability to keep up to date with the latest developments in your chosen field. Current areas of rapid technological expansion include mobile and cloud gaming as well as virtual and augmented reality.
Your Pay May Vary
Like their employment prospects, the pay prospects of video game professionals will vary dramatically from position to position and market to market. To get a ballpark idea of the kind of salary you can expect to command with your gaming degree, consider that the BLS places the median annual salary for a game designer at $78,790 and the median annual salary for a programmer at $93,000.
Gaming Degree with Cumberlands
The extremely versatile Bachelor of Science in Gaming degree from University of the Cumberlands can prepare you to become a designer, programmer, developer, or testing professional in the video game sector. It can also allow you to develop the knowledge and skill you need to work with video games and gaming processes in a variety of ways.
Beyond the Bachelor of Science in Gaming, you may want to consider our Associate of Applied Science in Gaming or our other degree programs that relate to video game development and business. Click here to request more information about any of our training and degree programs.