Overview of Online Game Programming Certificate Programs
Certificate programs in game programming, design, or development are open to designers, gamers, and even computer science teachers. Professionals who have a background in programming or software design but would like to shift to game development can especially benefit from these programs. A game programming certificate teaches the central concepts of game development, such as algorithms, programming languages, and graphics design. Its main objective is to impart to students the most necessary skills needed to create their own games. Many certificate programs in game programming are available online and in many formats that suit almost everyone's needs.
In general, no educational or professional requirements have been specified for admission into an online certificate program. However, it is recommended that applicants have sufficient familiarity with programming and proficiency in high school mathematics. After complying with the program requirements, students receive a Certificate of Completion.
Game Programming Certificate Requirements
Credit and non-credit options for the online game programming certificate program are available. Non-credit options are delivered 100% online, but credit programs may require physical attendance on campus.
Information and Requirements
A certificate in game programming can be obtained within four months to a year. Programs that grant credits take longer (around 30 credit units in 12 months) than self-paced non-credit programs. Non-credit programs may grant continuing education units (CEUs) and are typically hosted on learning platform websites like Coursera and ed2go. Requirements to finish the program include completion of the courses and the capstone activity, which may be an exam or a project.
Game development relies heavily on the capabilities of the users' PCs, so it would be wise to check the list of hardware and software requirements provided in the school websites. Program fees range from $300 to $7500, inclusive of materials. Some courses require users to subscribe to the website that hosts the classes.
Courses in game development are typically introduction courses that acquaint students with the common tools and practices of game programming, including the Unity 3D game engine and C++ language. Students are introduced to the prototyping, playtesting, and marketing of game products. Key processes in startup management like crowdfunding and social media campaigns are also discussed.
This technical course helps students develop their skills in using the C++ language. By the end of the course, students are expected to know how to use important coding tools like game libraries and simulation frameworks. C++ programming courses are heavy on hands-on projects.
In a game design course, students are initially taught the history of electronic games, which helps them identify trends and innovations in the gaming industry. Character, environment, and user interface design are discussed, with an emphasis on storyboarding and static objects. The main goal of this course is to help students develop a concept document and game prototype.
Career Outlook for Game Programming Certificate Holders
Users who possess a certificate in game programming can qualify for entry-level positions in the gaming industry. They may work in software quality assurance or as engineers and testers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports yearly median salaries of $105,590 (May 2018) and $75,270 (May 2019) for software developers and multimedia artists and animators, respectively. From 2018 to 2028, employment is expected to grow by 21% for software developers; on the other hand, growth is projected to be less rapid for multimedia artists and animators, with a rate of 4%.
Game programming can be studied online through credit and non-credit certificate programs. Typically, a capstone is needed to complete the program, which can be done within a few months to one year.