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More colleges than ever offering game dev courses, programs
More colleges than ever offering game dev courses, programs
August 23, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Newsbrief: More schools than ever in the U.S. are offering opportunities for students to work toward a game development career. For the first time, all 50 states in the country are offering game dev programs.

The Entertainment Software Association reports that a record 381 colleges, universities, and art/trade schools now offer courses, professional certificates, and undergraduate or graduate degrees for various game industry professions.

California continues to have more schools with game dev programs (70) than any other state. Wyoming, Maine, Mississippi, Alaska, and Arkansas have all started offering courses this year.

The ESA says this proliferation of courses and degree programs reflects the growth of the game industry, as well as its expansion into new technologies such as mobile platforms. The trade group has posted a complete list of the 381 U.S. schools online.

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Dave Hagewood
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These schools are capitalizing on the growth of the industry and the demand to be a part of it but the number of weak and unprepared candidates my studio is seeing coming from many of these schools is staggering. Not all candidates are bad and some schools are better than others for certain but it frustrates me to see so many people investing $60k, $80k, or even $100k+ for an education and they can't compete with someone who worked a minimum wage QA job for the same number of years and gained more relevant experience and skills to move to a permanent position. I just don't see these schools being held accountable for the quality of their education in this field.

Andrew Wallace
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I agree. I have a friend who is a senior at a technical college, and is just now finishing the first game they have made. It's really sad.

Bob Charone
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why go to college when you can learn for free? (as far game dev is concerned)
do game companies even care if you went to college?

Tawna Evans
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College is a helpful motivation device for people who tend to be easily distracted & need deadlines imposed by another person in order to achieve anything.

Jack Matthewson
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I looked at enrolling on one of these courses when I started at uni. I opted instead for a vanilla CS degree for a few reasons:

1) If I cannot break into the games industry straight out of uni, it's more likely to get me employment with other tech companies.
2) Stronger foundation in engineering mathematics (vectors, 3dmath etc) which a lot of employers were looking for)
3) I enjoy coding anyway, so I'd be doing the game dev stuff in my free time anyways.

I was pretty disapointed though that my uni axed all the modules I wanted to take after I had been there for a year, but I'm still pleased with how things are going so far.

Jonathan Jennings
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I went to Devry university myself not a bad school in its own right while their were some weaknesses in the curriculum I honestly feel like the bigger issue with game development education is the transition from a gamer student to a profesional developer. One of the most important ( free) lessons a professor taught me was that in order to be a good game developer , no matter what your discipline, you have to learn and apply yourself outside of class. nearly every developer I know who managed to get a job in development after graduation took this advice , the others for the most part did not.

There are DEFINITELY a lot of schools out there who are selling a weak education and leaving unprepared students in their wake but I also feel like many of my classmates weren't fully committed to development either. They loved videogames but that's not enough to make it in this industry .

I definitely hope more developers start to reach out to the schools though , to my school game developers seemed to be a mysterious and mythical collection of individuals and all the information they had on game development was the product of observing them when they rarely poked their heads out . Had I as a student and my other classmates had the opportunity to talk to and observe a developer ourselves it would have made a world of difference in my personal opinion.

Terry Matthes
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As a student potentially looking at a school I would ask to see previous grad's exit portfolios. Let the students work speak for the program.

k s
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I enrolled in a standard CS program and took the two courses offered in game development ( they only ran those classes once :( ). Personally the best advice I can give anyone interested in game development is practice, nothing teaches you more then experience.