For so many teens, video games are the hobby of choice. Perhaps your student is a master builder in Minecraft or an expert at Fortnite. But video games are so much more than a hobby. In 2019, eSports events garnered more than 450 million viewers. To put that in perspective, the Major League Baseball World Series only had 11.6 million viewers. Gone are the days of frowning upon video games. In fact, your student’s passion for video games could become a profitable career through our Game Design and Programming pathway.
The video game industry is likely to become a $300 billion industry by 2025. And each video game has a team of designers and developers behind its creation. Translation? Game design and programming could be a promising career path for your student. Take a look at the path of a game designer and how Stride Career Prep can help your student become one.
Job Profile: Video Game Designers, Artists, and Programmers
While many gamers play solo, video game creators work on big teams to accomplish their goals. Have you ever seen the credits roll on a video game? Some can look like the credits of a blockbuster film. The more detailed the game, the longer the credits can be.
Designers, artists, and programmers all work together executing the smallest of details and the biggest of storylines to launch a successful game. In the gaming industry, there are three main roles:
- Designers: Plan and direct aspects of the game such as storyline and tasks
- Artists: Draw and craft the graphics for games
- Programmers: Code and test the gaming software
Had C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, or any other double-initialed, fantasy author been born after the year 2000, they would have probably been video game designers. Why? Because video game designers are storytellers. They build vast universes in great detail to take gamers on epic adventures.
From characters to props, modern video games spare no detail. As no video game is identical, neither is the daily life of a designer. Game designers are responsible for creating a game’s storyline and universe. This is where hours of playing video games is essential. A deep understanding and analysis of what makes a game good is a job requirement for designers. A video game designer may be responsible for one piece of the design, from character missions to prop details.
A video game programmer is the Luigi to the game designer’s Mario. The two work closely together to make the designer’s vision come to life on a gaming console or PC. Programmers create the actual gameplay through code. Programmers write code that gaming consoles and PCs understand, using direction from designers and graphics from artists. With every press of the A or B button, a programmer has coded and assigned a function that connects the gamer’s choice with the designer’s story.
Learning Game Design and Programming
By studying Game Design and Programming, your student will learn valuable skills through career-focused electives, project-based learning, and access to industry professionals and networking tools. With technology constantly evolving, exploring this field could ensure job security in the future of our economy. By 2028, software developer jobs could grow by 21%, application developers by 26%, and systems developers by 10%. These rates are much faster than the average for all other occupations. As the need for new applications increases, so does the need for these related jobs. The median salary for software developers in 2018 was $105,590, so there is a lot of prosperity in this booming industry.
IT-affiliated jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Although higher education can increase your student’s earning potential, it is not always necessary. The skills, certifications, and well-developed portfolios of game designers and programmers are very important. To some employers, these aspects may take precedence over education qualifications alone. Whether your student decides to go on to college or start working right away, the Game Design and Programming pathway lays the foundation for success.
Gaming Design and Programming Pathway
The Gaming Design and Programming pathway gives students the knowledge they need to be successful in an ever-evolving field. Students have opportunities to get hands-on experience through internships, apprenticeships, certifications, and extracurricular activities. Courses like IT Explorations and Computer Literacy feature project-based curriculum, which allow students to be more involved in their learning by solving real-world business problems. This way, they get a good feel for what their future work environment will be like.
As soon as Stride Career Prep students enter the Game Design and Programming pathway, they become the developers of their own careers. In addition to their high school courses, students will get to explore:
- IT Explorations (Project-Based Learning)
- Computer Science
- Game Design 1 & 2
- Programming Logic and Design
Students in this pathway will have two certifications upon completion. The ACT National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) and Certiport–Game Design certification will put graduates ahead of their competitors in the IT field. Microsoft’s Certiport–Game Design certification exam validates the foundational knowledge needed to build a career with Microsoft® technology. Since some programming jobs are starting to prioritize certifications and experience over bachelor’s degrees, this becomes a significant advantage. These certifications also enable students to begin earning money right after high school. Stride Career Prep students kick-start their future by finding what they are passionate about as soon as possible.
Professional Skills for Game Designers and Programmers
Since no two days are the same for game designers and programmers, a diverse skill set is essential. Hard skills tell employers what an employee can do, but soft skills show how an employee works in a professional environment. By focusing on both technical and professional skills, we ensure that our students are well-versed when they have completed their time in the Stride Career Prep program. To be a successful game designer or programmer, students should become masters at:
- Staying up-to-date on trends
- Analytical thinking
Technical Skills for Game Designers and Programmers
Programming-specific technical skills and measurable abilities are also crucial to success. Knowing their way around different languages and software helps game designers and programmers perform their work efficiently. The courses offered in the Game Design and Programming pathway will not only teach students what skills they need to know but also how to best apply them. The technical skills learned in this pathway include:
- Microsoft® Office®
- Multimedia Fusion 2
Work-Based Learning Experience
Tools like Nepris and Tallo are valuable resources available to Stride Career Prep students. Tallo focuses on connecting students with employers and colleges. It also has a built-in tool that makes it easy for students to find scholarships. On the other hand, Nepris is a platform that connects students with industry professionals for live interactive sessions that provide an insider’s look at a particular career. Combining both of these resources is a formula for success in the IT field.
Game Design and Programming Extracurriculars
A unique way IT students can get involved is through extracurricular activities. eSports are intense activities that have become increasingly popular. They allow students to experience the world of competitive, organized video gaming. Competitors from different leagues or teams face-off in the same games that are popular with in-home gamers. We treat eSports as any other sports team, with competitions involving K12 schools and other brick-and-mortar institutions. Getting involved teaches students about competing, being on a team, and understanding the eSports industry.
Stride Career Prep students can participate in the High School eSports League. This program organizes high school competitions for eSports teams across the country, making it easy for students to get involved. Through this level of competition, students will tie their excitement for gaming to their success in academics and their future careers.
Exploring Game Design and Programming
Showing support of your student’s hobbies may encourage them to pursue a fulfilling career path. The opportunity to explore their passions through the Game Design and Programming pathway could give them a sense of purpose to discover their full potential. If creativity, problem-solving, and the chance to design the world’s next big video game interests your student, this may be their pathway to success.
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