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August 27, 2012 / NextStepU

Major Monday – Game and Interactive Media Design

When you’re playing video games, do you find yourself ever wondering how these virtual worlds are created or maybe you even think about ways they can be improved. If you’re interested in earning a career in the fast-growing and highly popular field of video games and interactive media you might want to consider majoring in game and interactive media design.

Don’t just play video games – make them!

Education

According to the College Board, this major is often earned at the bachelor’s level, meaning you will need at least four years of schooling. Computer and studio arts classes are helpful to take at the high school level to prepare for this major, however any computer and creative savvy will be beneficial as well. Typical courses that students take in college include 2-D and 3-D graphics, computer programming, history of games and gaming, interactive design and game design and development. Since much of the work world in this field relies on group efforts, students will likely take courses in which they must complete a project with a team.

What to know before you apply

This major requires equal parts computer and creative knowledge so it’s essential that students pursuing this major are passionate about both areas of thinking. When looking into different schools to apply to, students should be aware if the program focuses more on the art element of design or the programming element. Also, if students wish to pick up a concentration such as animation or programming, they should be aware of what kind of opportunities each school offers depending on what they want to get into. Finally, be sure the facilities offer up-to-date technology and will allow students the resources to be successful in their field.

Salary

With a working knowledge of both computer programming and design, students can pursue several different career options that use some of both skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programmers earned an average yearly salary of $74,690 as of 2009, multimedia artists and animators earned an average $68,060 in 2011 and the American Institute of Graphic Arts estimates that web designers earn an average yearly salary of $52,000 as of 2008.

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