Associate of Programming & Game Development: Degree Overview

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Through associate degree programs in game development, students can learn programming languages and discover how to use industry-standard software to design and develop games. Coursework can also provide students with the ability to build their portfolios, which can be used when pursuing future employment. Additionally, most academic institutions offer students hands-on laboratory experiences that augment knowledge application in game design, development and simulation. To enroll in these associate degree programs, a high school diploma or its equivalent is generally required.

Associate's Degree in Game Development

Students in these undergraduate programs are taught the fundamentals, techniques and principles of interactive game programming, such as data structures, game engine operation and scripting language essentials. They can also learn to work as part of a team and build communication and project management skills. Students typically exit these programs with the ability to design 3-dimensional digital models and utilize digital animation techniques. Courses may cover topics such as:

  • Computer and C++ programming
  • Business communication and microeconomics
  • Computer science
  • Technical writing
  • Game scripting techniques
  • Adobe Photoshop

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Program graduates are prepared for a wide range of entry-level careers in the gaming field. Additionally, the skills learned through these degree programs can be applied to positions in other industries that require programming and development abilities. Graduates can seek employment in desktop production and digital environments in positions such as:

  • Independent game developers
  • Game artists
  • Computer programmers
  • Quality assurance engineers
  • Junior game designers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer programmers is projected to decline by 9% from 2019 to 2029 ( Special effects artists and animators should see an increase of 4% during that same period of time. As reported by the BLS in 2020, programmers were paid an average of $95,640 annually, while special effects artists and animators earned an average of $88,080 annually.

Continuing Education Information

Students can use these degree programs as stepping-stones to advanced degree programs, such as those that culminate in a 4-year baccalaureate degree. For example, upon successful completion of this program, students can continue on to earn Bachelor of Applied Technology and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees in majors such as animation and game development.

Associate degree programs in game development teach students the programming and technology skills they need to work as computer programmers and game developers. Graduates can pursue higher education or work various entry-level jobs.

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