Different types of video game design programs spring up all the time. There are bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and even vocational certificates all designed to get you out there into the video game programming world as quickly as possible. Depending on what aspect of gaming you want to get into and what kind of experience and schedule you have, you could be in the field in as little as a few months.
Certificates are the most basic kind of video game design programs. They are fast-paced, stripped-down training courses that focus on giving you just the core skills you need to get into one specific area of video game programming.
You can typically get cursory visual design skills in about six months to a year, depending on how many hours a week you can go to class or study on your own if you decide to go the online route. Either way, these programs only give you trade skills and don’t waste time with general education stuff like English or math, so make sure that your core academic skills are strong before you enroll in one of these programs.
Two-years programs are becoming increasingly popular in this ever-changing economy. If you already have some programming or visual design experience, then a two-year video game design program could be right for you.
Much like a certificate program, these programs are aimed at getting you into the field as quickly as possible. There may be more general courses, like English, communication, and math, that could come in handy as you try to navigate the career ladder at your place of employment.
This kind of program is also a good stepping stone for further education down the line, which also increases your chances for promotion. If you have a little time and money to invest and don’t mind waiting a bit to get into the field, this could be the way for you to go.
This is the course that most video game designers take. Four-year video game design programs are structured like typical college degrees, whether you are earning it online or at a brick and mortar institution. Expect general education requirements and everything else that goes with a traditional college degree. Most programmers have four-year degrees (bls.gov).
This is the longest route to a job in video game design, but it is also the most comprehensive. You will absorb many different elements of video game design, programming, and even some graphic design, depending on what your exact major is.
You may also have time during your summer schedule to take part in an internship with a real video game design company. This can be a huge boost to your employability upon graduation. Work with your university to find a company to sponsor you.
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