Education

What to Ask about Video Game Design School

Video game design schools prepare students to work in the exciting, constantly-changing video game industry. You'll have the opportunity to design engaging, fun and challenging games for a variety of platforms, including the rapidly growing market segment of smartphones and tablets. There are many game design career paths to choose from, and students with all kinds of academic strengths may find roles in different aspects of the video game industry while earning a degree in game design. In addition, students with time constraints may find success through online video game design programs. Although video games have been around for decades, this is a promising industry as more people become casual gamers on handheld wireless devices. Ask the following questions if you're interested in pursuing an education to become a video game designer, to ensure you find the program that's right for you. 

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What aspect of video game design is most interesting for me?
Video game design school isn't all about fancy graphics and animation, although those are both high-demand skill sets in the game design industry. However, people who are passionate about computer science, art and writing can also be successful game designers. Many games need in-game content and people to develop storylines, and all games need concept drawings, box images and other types of art. Hardware specialists are also needed to create infrastructure for designers to work with and for games to run on. If you're considering video game design school, you'll want to choose the path that best fits your interests.
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How is this online video game design program different?
If you're considering an online video game design school, be sure to ask about how your educational experience will differ from that of a traditional school. Specifically, be sure to ask about networking, mentoring and Internship experiences. This may be a rapidly growing field, but there are also a lot of students pursuing their game design credentials. The last thing you want is to graduate and be lost in the pack.
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Does this video game design program focus on the latest trends?
The video game industry is always changing. In addition to designing games for different platforms (such as consoles versus PC gaming), the development environments and technology requirements are always changing as well. Currently, smartphone gaming is really changing the landscape of video games. Ask about how the faculty and equipment at each school will prepare you for a lengthy career.
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How long as this video game design school existed?
With casual gaming rising in popularity, there has been a surge in new gaming design programs across the country. While some of these newer programs offer great educations, it's more difficult to go wrong with an established gaming program (though you may spend more on tuition). Ask about how long programs have been in existence when considering your options.
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What kind of experience does this program's faculty have in game design?
As is the case with any other college program, you want to make sure the program's instructors have extensive, valuable experience in video game design. You want to learn from instructors who will teach you about the latest trends in game design while also preparing you for the future; you don't want instructors whose minds are lodged in obsolete principles. When comparing video game design schools, always ask questions about the faculty.
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How much will this video game design program cost?
Always compare tuition and enrollment costs when searching for the right video game design school. Some programs cost significantly more than others, which could be a burden in the long run if you end up at a smaller game design studio. Online gaming design programs may be cheaper, but keep in mind you'll face other obstacles as a student of an online program.
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What kind of video game design degree or credential do I want?
Video game design is a field with all kinds of educational credentials ranging from certificates to graduate-level degrees, and the kind of certificate you need really depends on your career goals. Talk to admissions officers with each program you're considering and discuss how different credentials could help you achieve your career goals. Many smaller game design studios don't require a degree as long as you can prove your technical skills.
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How are most video game design graduates finding jobs?
The video game industry is constantly evolving, and so are the industry's top employers. While giant video game companies owned the landscape 20 years ago, later software giants became leading employers and now that's shifting toward smaller game design studios. If you're about to enter a career in video game design, you may want to learn more about where you're likely to work when you graduate. This could possibly affect your decision to go down this path.

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