Program begins this fall at Sugar Land campus
In response to student and employer demand, Wharton County Junior College is now offering an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Computer Simulation and Game Development. The two-year program will prepare students for entry-level employment in the field of gaming and simulation in industries such as healthcare, law enforcement, military, advertising and others.
“This program will focus on the programming side of computer simulation and game development, rather than design, because our industry advisers say there are more job opportunities in this area,” said Donna Schilling, head of the WCJC Computer Science Department.
WCJC developed the new program in partnership with the University of Houston-Victoria and the University of Houston. Graduates of the WCJC program can easily transfer to UHV, taking coursework at the UH Sugar Land campus, to complete a bachelor’s degree in digital gaming and simulation. The University of Houston is developing a graduate level program in gaming and simulation.
Students are often surprised to find that advanced math skills are required to be successful in computer simulation and game design.
“Making moving objects look realistic requires a lot of trigonometry and physics,” said Schilling, noting that these two courses are among WCJC’s required core courses for the AAS degree.
This fall, along with general education courses, students will have the opportunity to enroll in the Introduction to Game Design and Development class (GAME 1303) at WCJC’s Sugar Land campus. This course covers topics such as storytelling, game story theory, building characters, the steps of a game concept and careers in the gaming industry.
The new computer simulation and gaming program will expose students to a broad range of simulated training environments. Software programs they will use include Adobe® Creative Suite® and Autodesk® Entertainment Creation Suite.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not yet collect career data specifically for software programmers in the video game industry. However, the BLS does report the 2010 median annual salary for computer programmers as $71,380 and for animators as $58,510. In addition, a conference of game developers found the average earnings in 1998 for game programmers with more than one year of experience was $59,127.
For more information about the WCJC Computer Simulation and Game Development degree program, visit wcjc.edu or call the computer science department at 800.561.9252, ext. 6394.