Video game developers design and create video game software that can be played on a variety of system platforms. Admission to both associate's and bachelor's degree programs require a high school diploma or GED, and a bachelor's program may require some prior computing and graphic design experience. Although a degree isn't always necessary for an entry-level job in this field, employers may prefer job applicants who have completed a formal postsecondary program.
Associate's Degrees in Video Game Development
Students in an associate's degree program for software development will learn how to create game or simulation programs, which can include writing and testing code, creating graphics and marketing. Students can expect to take a course load heavy in computer science and digital graphic design. Classes could include:
- Programming languages and coding
- Game physics
- Character animation
- Human psychology
- Vector graphics
Bachelor's Degrees in Game Development
Students in game development bachelor's programs learn the fundamentals of creating a video game from the initial concept to marketing the finished product. Aspiring game developers can expect to receive training in a combination of technical and design skills by working on actual game projects. A student learning game development will focus mainly on coding, computer languages, mathematics and design concepts. Classes could include:
- Physics of movement
- Concepts of artificial intelligence
- 3-D animation
- Project development and management
Popular Career Options
Those who graduate with an associate's degree in video game development are generally prepared for an entry-level job at a game publishing company or development team. The skills acquired in these programs can also prepare students to pursue other careers, including:
- 3-D graphics designer
- Game programmer
- Computer technical support specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of game developers and other software developers was expected to increase by 17% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the median annual wage of computer software applications developers in 2015 was $98,260.
Students completing either an associate's or bachelor's degree in video game development will gain familiarity with concepts of artificial intelligence, 3D animation, and other gaming skills. They get a chance to work on real video game projects and learn the video game process from conception to marketing.