Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Contributed articles

Computer Science in the Conceptual Age

scene from Artemis Chronicle

Scene from the Artemis Chronicle PC game built with Microsoft's XNA toolkit and the USC GamePipe Laboratory NitroX game engine.

Illustration by Andrea Tseng / Chimera Game Studios

University CS departments are incorporating game design and development to prepare their students for the game industry's expectations.

The full text of this article is premium content


Christopher Parrinello

The fact that game companies refuse to interview candidates who learned Java as their first programming language says more about the game industry rather than whether or not computer science graduates are well prepared to succeed in the game industry.

The problem is that game industry jobs are fewer in number than the explosion of game programmer schools and degrees would lead you to believe. As a result, the game industry creates artificial barriers such as the "no Java knowledge" to keep the supply of qualified software engineers down and salaries up. The next barrier is going to end up being "no game programming degrees" at this rate.

Is the game industry truly that unique that it requires a separate degree? Aren't most jobs in computing fields cross-disciplinary? A software engineer working on a website might communicate with a graphics design department, sales department, marketing department and IT department to develop a website that meets the needs of all of the stakeholders. Instead of trying to meet the needs of a relatively small industry compared to the industries that require employees with computing knowledge, why not just add a "large team project" requirement to the normal computer science degree where graduates will have experience with version control, asset management, etc.? I think many schools already offer this under a "software engineering" degree but those probably don't bring in the enrollment and money that a degree in game programming does.

Displaying 1 comment

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.