Did you know that video games are so popular that analysts expect the industry to generate more than $68 billion in business in 2012? The industry is growing at a rapid pace as more and more adults take up gaming. In fact, according to the Education Database, the age of the average gamer is 32, and believe it or not, 2 out of every 5 gamers are female. With more than 65 percent of U.S. households engaging in video game play, it’s no wonder the industry employs more than 200,000 game designers and hundreds of thousands of programmers, animators, cover artists, testers, illustrators, and more.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of this growing field, you’ll need talent, experience, and training. But not just any training. Although the average salary for game designers & developers averages around $80,000 per year, many of those that average in the six-figure range typically hold a degree from one of the nation’s best schools. A “best” school offers excellent faculty resources, a wide variety of programs, excellent graduation and retention rates, a variety of financial aid programs, and it is very selective. In the state of North Dakota, one school offers a top-tier program for game designers & developers. This school is also considered one of the best in the nation.
The University of North Dakota at Grand Forks (UND Grand Forks) was established in 1883. This liberal arts college sits on a massive 550-acre campus and it is home to 14,697 (Fall 2011) students. UND offers over 200 fields of study, from baccalaureate through doctoral and professional degrees, and it attracts students from all over the world. Fifty-nine percent of the student body are from 50 nations, eight Canadian provinces, and all other states.
Degrees offered include a B. S. Computer Science with Specialization in Game Development and Computer Animation, B.S. in Graphic Design Technology, B. F. A. in Graphic Design and New Art Media, and a B.F.A. in Visual Arts with Emphasis in Time-Based Media. Students can expect to pay $7,092 (undergraduate residents) and $16,767 for undergraduate nonresidents (2011-2012 school year). Game design and development students may also have to pay lab (studio) fees, and production costs for projects.