Guest Post: Today's Gamers, Tomorrow's Programmers @ GDC Online
- October 12th, 2010
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Today’s Ypulse Guest Post comes from Chase Straight, a recent Youth Advisory Board alumni and online community moderation professional who reports back to us from the Game Developer’s Conference Online held last week in Austin, TX. If you work in youth media or marketing and have an idea for a Ypulse Guest Post, email us!
Today’s Gamers, Tomorrow’s Programmers @ GDC Online
Last week’s Austin Game Developer’s Conference Online (GDCO) was tamer than recent years, but still bustling with game developers, media and hopeful collegians looking to score the perfect job.
It wasn’t a hot new kids game, or innovative things being done on the gaming end of the kids space that caught my eye - it was the education. Now more than ever, the video game industry is becoming a viable option for employment. Yes, you can tell mom that all those years in the basement playing Playstation did not go to waste.
The conference featured many colleges on the expo floor that were looking to recruit new students, and developers were out in force looking for the next great designer or programmer. Dep-Was Davis, a professor at Lone Star College, told me that serious games and education games were the growing market in the game industry. A few others had echoed the same belief that textbooks will be replaced by tablets and games that focus on education. Davis says that studying video game programming is no different than other computer science fields, and if graduates don’t make it in the industry they can still go anywhere they want. “Parents need to quit looking at it as an industry and more of a skill set. If they study gaming, and focus on programming, then they still have strong programming skills,” Davis explained.
A pair of high school teachers in the Texas area are looking to prepare their kids early for this kind of education. Anne Woolweaver and Patricia Medina teach Video Game Programming at their high schools, and are close to having the program recognized as a standardized course in Texas school districts. Students learn the ins and outs of programming simple games like Pong and Space Invaders before they advance to more complex systems.
“The problem is that you have a lot of kids who are intimidated by computer science,” said Medina. “Video game programming is a way to get kids interested in programming without being intimidated by it.”
For purely selfish reasons, I hope to see these programs succeed. The more talented programmers there are in the field the better video games I will be playing in the next 10 years.
All kidding aside, it’s apparent that education and life in general is becoming more and more interactive. The computer science sector is going to need this next generation of programmers and minds to usher us into the next era. In a scary economy where jobs are scarce and fears are high, GDC Online gave hope to a future generation of employed youth in an exciting field.
Chase works for the online community management and moderation company Metaverse Mod Squad. He recently moved to New York and serves as Head of Community for 4mm Games. A former journalism major at the University of Utah, he wrote feature articles and album reviews for a music and art magazine. He is fascinated and constantly amazed with how children create and interact online. Aside from his work, Chase is an avid gamer, blogger, live music lover and audiophile who is obsessed with discovering new music and building his already extensive collection. Oh, and he really likes pandas. (You can also find him blogging about virtual worlds on his company’s blog at metaversemodsquad.com/blog)