It is obviously difficult to teach skills needed in the game industry that will also be still needed in the future. I think that education needs to be a general thing, providing students with the skills that are currently needed. Of course, a lot of institutions will be teaching the skills that are currently being looked for in job applications, hoping to secure jobs for the students. But of course, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a place in the industry by the time they have finished. Since the desired qualities may have changed over the years. Educators can’t be expected to know what will be needed in the future. But they can go on what they have known to happen over the years and that will help predict what will be needed.
One of the best things to do is make sure that the curriculum being taught can also be applied to other industries. And this is something that courses are doing more and more now. It brings me back to the article I linked before entitled, “You don’t want to work in the games industry”. http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/11/12/you-dont-want-to-work-in-the-video-game-industry/
Quote: “The training industry has jumped onto exploiting the wannabe. Lots of colleges and universities have jumped on the bandwagon. There are now hundreds of supposed game industry courses in the UK. Yet amazingly only 6 of these are accredited by Skillset! There are now more people in training for the video game industry than there are in the industry. The vast majority of these people are wasting their time and money.”
I thought having 6 accredited by Skillset was quite a good amount! But anyway, he goes on to say a lot about how there are many wannabes trying to get into the industry and that its swamping it. Also, his point about how there are more in training than there are in the actual industry, well I don’t really see this as a problem, if you take into account that the industry is booming and constantly growing and developing. The games industry is something that is not going to die out, because games are so popular in culture and society nowadays. There are multi million dollar companies that are making games all the time, and they show no signs of changing their pace or the quality of their productions. Also, the games industry’s lines are starting to blur, it is becoming a part of film and television, and other industries. It can no longer be ignored, and its not going to suddenly disappear. The same goes for educators and the students leaving colleges and universities with different degrees, most of the skills they learned will be applicable to other industries.
But yes, you could concentrate only on the current demand on technical skills, but that does not mean that once these aren’t needed, you will never find a job. Once you are in the working environment, you may find your job role changes slightly as the time goes by. You may originally have started out as a character artist, but you may find that you have been given opportunities to work on different aspects. You develop and evolve, and can move up the pipeline. Different experiences can go on a CV and you could use your work experience in one area to land a job in another.
Comparing the views of companies wanting creative students with Liberal Arts backgrounds, and then others wanting trained artists and programmers, I believe it depends. This is why there are so many courses, all claiming to be game design related, and yet they have totally different modules and ideas on what they should be teaching their students. There is such a variety of roles in the industry, and a bigger variety of companies, all looking for certain types of students with certain qualifications. This of course makes it difficult for educators, but as said before, if they concentrate on teaching skills that work now in the currently demanded areas, but that also could be applied in others, they are doing the right thing. The proof that a course has the right structure and is equipping students with the relevant job qualities is in the amount of students that receive jobs after graduating and what and where those jobs are.
This article briefly highlights the problems in the courses in the UK, that the majority of them are Mickey Mouse degrees. Its difficult to not be biased though, because I know that our course is not an example of one of these. Its Skillset accredited and has a structure that industry people agree with and many companies look to employ students from our course. But we are only one course, so I can’t speak for all these other courses that are not at the same standard. In their cases, the structure of teaching needs to be changed, the educators need to think about the fact that their students are not getting the jobs they want after doing their course.
The last part of the article says that its down to the individual institutions to decide on course content. Maybe a problem is that there just aren’t enough experts in the industry who are willing to teach students what is needed to get a job, or not enough who are willing to give feedback on course structures, and just look elsewhere for potential employees.