A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Video Game Design and Application Development or a B.S. in Computer Science with a games concentration qualifies students for positions such as game designer, engineer or director. A Master of Science in Computer Game Development or Interactive Technology equips students for senior-level careers in the industry. These programs contain mathematics and computer programming courses essential for understanding and working with game software. Hands-on experience is gained through projects and labs in which students design and create prototypes of their own games. Students also have the opportunity to assemble a portfolio or capstone project they can use to showcase their abilities to prospective employers. Courses are provided that enable students to develop strong leadership skills, which they can apply to advanced positions in the field
A high school diploma or GED is required prior to beginning a B.S. in Video Game Design and Application Development program. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university for a master's program. Some institutions require candidates to have professional work experience in the computer gaming or software development industry. Students must display an acceptable competence in required computer technologies to be accepted into a graduate program.
Bachelor's Degree in Video Game Design and Application Development
Students in a video game design and application development bachelor's degree program study theoretical and practical skills preparing them to play a significant role in the video game and simulation software industry. These programs are heavy in coding languages, and are designed to provide students with information on visual design principles and software methodology, as well as an overview of the global video game and simulation software industry.
A video game design and application development baccalaureate program requires classes addressing practical computer programming methodologies along with critical thinking, logic, communications and problem-solving skills in managing the challenges occurring in a game development environment. The following are possible subjects in the video game design and application development curriculum:
- Software development fundamentals
- Simulation design and programming
- Game hardware architectures
- Artificial intelligence in game design
- Math programming for games
Master's Degree in Computer Game Development
Master's degree candidates in a computer game development program study advanced game development programming as well as develop skills in team leadership, project development and collaborative design. These programs focus on various design mechanics and production software platforms and effective communication with artists and programmers in the development of new game titles. Students gain exposure to state-of-the-art graphics and animation technologies in a project management and engineering entrepreneurship context.
A graduate degree program in computer game development features classes combining theoretical and practical knowledge into game-related coursework, game production in a team environment and directed individual work. A capstone project mixing individual and group effort to construct a working game engine and software title is required to satisfy the degree curriculum. The following are possible subjects included in a computer game development program:
- Applied algorithms and structures
- Embedded computation principles
- Production leadership
- Neural networks and machine learning
- Team game production
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a master's degree program are generally equipped to seek managerial and senior-level positions in the video game design and application development industry. Some career options include:
- Senior design engineer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported that the median annual salary for software applications developers was $98,260. In addition, job growth for software developers is expected to increase significantly from 2014 to 2024, with prospects being the brightest for applicants familiar with the latest programming languages and tools, according to the BLS.
Degrees that will allow students to become game software developers include a Bachelor of Science in Video Game Design and Application Development, a B.S. in Computer Science with a games concentration, or a Master of Science in Computer Game Development or Interactive Technology. Graduates with these degrees may become directors, producers, even senior design engineers on video game projects.