The program teaches basic programming and computer skills so that students can learn to develop realistic games. It encourages students to communicate effectively and work in team project environments. General education requirements also cultivate the critical thinking, negotiation and interpersonal skills needed to effectively meet client needs. Students may be required to participate in internships or practica.
Applicants to these programs will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Courses in physics, algebra, trigonometry and the sciences are recommended, and those with computer programming and hardware experience may have an academic advantage.
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Bachelor's Degree in Game and Simulation Programming
Students in this 4-year program explore human interactions with simulations and expand upon that knowledge to create ideal simulation applications. They learn to use higher-level math and science skills to program multimedia imagery in interactive computer programs, create game and simulation software programs, and apply software engineering skills to game and simulation development. Students may receive a strong foundation in math, science and computer courses. Liberal arts classes such as English or speech could be emphasized. Some common courses may include the following:
- Interactive computer graphics
- Game engine design
- Game programming
- Computer simulation applications
- 3-D game development
Popular Career Options
Individuals who are interested in turning their love of video games into a challenging career may want to pursue the bachelor's degree in game and simulation programming. This course of study is best-suited for someone with a high level of interest in computers, video games, animation and technology. Graduates can pursue software development related careers in the fields of programming, project coordination and software engineering. They may be involved with the creation of console systems and video games. Some popular careers may include:
- Game designer
- Programming analyst
- Software application developer
- System administrator
- Computer game programmer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024 are projected to decrease 8% for computer programmers but increase 17% for software developers (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com reported in January 2016 that video game programmers earned a median salary of $63,573. Game software developers made a median wage of $66,665.
Continuing Education Information
Those who wish to receive technical training in games and simulation may want to pursue a master's degree program in the field. These programs build upon the same principles and courses of a bachelor's degree program. Students examine game engine design, interactive computer graphics and mobile gaming.
A bachelor's degree in game and simulation programming gives students the necessary math, science and computer programming skills to work as game designers and programmers. Graduates can pursue higher education and expect positive job growth as software developers.