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Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer
Nearly 400 U.S. colleges and universities, including MIT and Carnegie Mellon, now offer formal training in game development, ranging from elective courses to full degree programs. The increasing complexity of computers and game systems requires teams of dozens of artists, producers, and programmers to create a game. "Twenty years ago, a game was made by one guy, or two or three people," says International Game Developers Association executive director Jason Della Rocca. "The games you see now take up to 200 people to make. You need a more institutionalized pipeline of training developers." Vocational schools have a lead in issuing certificates in game development, but universities are catching up as more students demand full degree programs. The University of Maryland Baltimore County's program provides broad-based training in visual arts and computer science. UMBC computer science professor Marc Olano says the school's gaming classes are designed to give students a solid education that will make them employable outside of the game industry. However, there are plenty of jobs for gaming majors. The average developer's salary was $73,000 last year, according to Game Developer magazine, while computer and video game sales have tripled since 1996. "Students are demanding these types of programs, and schools are listening," Della Rocca says. "These classes do well in terms of filling classrooms." Baltimore Sun (04/20/08) P. 1A; Emery, Chris

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