Individuals interested in pursuing a career in the game programming field will need to earn a degree in multimedia development, computer graphics, art or another field related to the gaming industry. Associate’s degree, diploma and certificate programs are available at 2-year schools throughout the state. These programs are offered during the day or evening, and some may be partially available online. Students made need to take placement tests before beginning a program. North Carolina has around 14 accredited schools with degree programs that will prepare students for a career in game programming. Below are short overviews of North Carolina’s 10 largest schools offering relevant degrees for game programming, as well as a comparison table showing individual school degree offerings and tuition info.
Blue Ridge Community College
Located in Flat Rock, Blue Ridge Community College gets its name from the Blue Ridge Mountains, which cover most of the school’s service area. The school’s Simulation and Game Development program provides students with broad training in software engineering, 3D modeling and audio/video technology. Students can tailor their educations by choosing from electives such as JAVA programming, virtual SG environments and serious games. Blue Ridge offers both associate’s degree and certificate tracks.
Central Piedmont Community College
Central Piedmont Community College has six Mecklenberg County campuses, with the main campus located in Charlotte. The school offers three certificates, along with a diploma and associate’s degree program in Simulation and Game Development. Students will learn and use programming languages such as Python and Action Script, along with tools like Max Studio and Sketchbook Pro. Much of the coursework is offered online for student convenience. Central Piedmont also has professional relationships with several Charlotte-area game developers, including Epic Games and Red Storm.
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Along with the aforementioned two colleges, Fayetteville Technical Community College, in Fayetteville, is another one of the 58 schools in the North Carolina Community College System. The Simulation and Game Development program offers an associate’s degree, diploma and several certificate tracks. The associate’s program takes five total semesters, including one summer, and prepares students for careers as animators, programmers and designers. The school also offers child care financial assistance for working adults.
Guilford Technical Community College
Located in Jamestown, GTCC was established in 1958 as a technical training school in response to rapid job growth in manufacturing industries. The Simulation and Game Development program will not only teach students how to develop games and 3D graphics, but also study the social, cultural and economic impacts interactive media have on society. Students will complete courses in storytelling, creative writing and even public speaking on their way to earning a degree. The program can be completed in six semesters, including two summer sessions.
Pitt Community College
PCC, located in Winterville, began offering its Simulation and Game Development program through its Business Division in the fall of 2011. The program offers hands-on training in all areas necessary for game programming, including software engineering and 3D design. PCC is also a member of Apple’s iOS Developer University Program, which teaches students how to develop and test mobile apps. The program is designed for students to complete their degrees in five semesters.
Sandhills Community College
SCC, located in Pinehurst, is another member school of the North Carolina Community College System. The Simulation and Game Development program specifically offers some of its courses online because of how computer-intensive the curriculum is. SCC has a generous scholarship program and encourages students to apply for them each and every semester. Students can earn either an associate’s degree or certificate.
Stanly Community College
Stanly Community College, located in Albemarle, mentions a commitment to diversity in both its mission statement and list of values. Upon graduation from the Simulation and Game Development program, student will know how to utilize several programming languages, including VB, Java and C++. Entrepreneurial skills, such as portfolio management, is also emphasized to prepare students for their inevitable job searches. The program is designed to be completed in five semesters, including one summer session.
Wake Technical Community College
Wake Tech, in Raleigh, specifically tailored its Simulation and Game Development program to standards directly observed from the 30-plus game companies located in the area. The program uses software such as Maya and XNA, which boosts the resume of graduates. The program is offered full-time in both daytime and evening formats. In addition to an associate’s degree, Wake Tech’s Simulation and Game Development program also offers 10 diplomas and certificates in various, specific fields of game programming.
Wayne Community College
Located in Goldsboro, Wayne Community College is a member school of the North Carolina Community College System. Prospective students in the Simulation and Game Development program will take placement tests to determine whether any developmental courses (i.e. Englosh, mathematics) are required before starting the program. The curriculum emphasizes techniques meant to help students understand target demographics for games and simulations. Students will also get a thorough history of games and discuss various concepts for designing simulations and games.
Wilkes Community College
WCC, located in Wilkesboro, is an institution committed to cultural activities, economic development and of course, quality education. Blender 3D, Unreal Development and Second Life are just a few of the many tools students will utilize in the Simulation and Game Development program. Business management is incorporated into the program to assist student in potential entrepreneurial endeavors after graduation. Student will also learn how to apply game technology to non-gaming platforms and other purposes.