Game and Simulation Programming Degree and Certificate Programs

Oct 13, 2019

Individuals who are interested in designing video and computer games can pursue varying levels of degrees ranging from certificates to a bachelor's degree. These programs provide instruction in areas such as animation, illustration and programming and can be used in a variety of positions.

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Essential Information

In certificate and degree programs in game and simulation programming, individuals can learn about programming fundamentals and game design. All of these undergraduate programs might serve to prepare future video game programmers, animation artists and 3D modeling specialists for entry-level careers.

There are different program levels available: certificate programs, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees. All three programs begin with a prerequisite of a High School Diploma or GED. The program lengths vary from 1 year or less for certificate programs to 2-4 years for degree levels. The bachelor's programs may expect students to have strong math and science backgrounds.

Game Simulation and Animation Programming Certificate

Certificate programs in game simulation and animation programming are designed to prepare students to become game programming generalists. Before beginning core courses in programming and source codes, students should have a thorough understanding of computer operating systems. Game simulation and animation programs are typically offered at technical schools and community colleges. They provide students with a basic understanding of programming language, object-oriented game programming techniques, character simulation, robotics and more. The courses included within a game simulation and programming certificate program are designed to provide students with a broad overview of the game -programming field. Some examples of courses include:

  • Introduction to programming
  • Game programming
  • Animation
  • C++ programming
  • Flash
  • Computer animation and illustration

Associate of Science in Game and Simulation Programming

Associate's degree programs in game and simulation programming cover the basic programming and animation courses found within certificate programs. However, these programs also include training in software engineering and desktop productions. Programs are offered at technical schools and community colleges, and are open to students with no work experience as well as professional game testers. Students in these programs gain a basic introduction to the gaming industry and learn how to design and program video games for different systems and devices, such as the Xbox, Nintendo or PlayStation. Some commonly found courses include:

  • Programming essentials
  • Introduction to graphics
  • Advanced programming
  • 2-D and 3-D animation
  • Game architecture
  • Business skills and portfolio development

Bachelor of Science in Game and Simulation Programming

A bachelor's degree program in game and simulation programming provides students with the technical knowledge and skills necessary to program video games and simulation software. Students learn about programming theory and concepts in classroom lectures, and put those theories into practice in computer laboratory sessions. They are expected to know how to take a video game idea from the concept stage through the development stage. The courses included within a bachelor's degree program teach students how to use programming techniques, develop storylines and characters, incorporate visual elements into games and simulations, perform software testing and more. Some specific courses include:

  • Human-computer interaction
  • Data structures
  • Game preproduction and production
  • Game design theory
  • 3-D content creation
  • Physics of gaming

Popular Career Info

Several career titles are open to graduates of either a certificate or an associate's degree program in game simulation and programming. These include:

  • Junior game programmer
  • Game programming technician
  • Quality assurance engineer
  • Game tester
  • Web game programmer

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in game simulation and programming have even more career opportunities open to them than graduates of associate's degree programs in the field. They can often obtain positions such as:

  • Video game programmer
  • Web programmer
  • Game animation artist
  • 3D modeling artist
  • Interactive media manager

Career Outlook Information

Although most programming positions require a bachelor's degree, some jobs in the programming industry are open to applicants who only hold certificates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As workers gain expertise, their opportunities for advancing to more senior positions are better. The computer software industry as a whole is growing rapidly, with BLS statisticians predicting a 21% rise in available positions for all software applications developers, including game and simulation programmers, between 2018 and 2028.

Continuing Education Information

Game and simulation programmers are not required to gain certification in order to obtain employment in the field. However, they can earn voluntary certification through organizations such as The HTML Writers Guild. The guild offers certification options that can provide proof that professionals are capable of working with Flash, Dreamweaver, Java, WordPress and other programming formats.

There are many different degrees available to get into the video and gaming industry that allow you entry level into a variety of jobs in the field. This program will teach you fundamentals in programming, Flash, computer animation, and game architecture.

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