Playing Video Games Leads to Lucrative Tech Jobs

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Playing Video Games may not solve the world's problems, but there may be an upside. With the financial collapse, colleges and universities are experiencing an increase in students declaring Computer Science majors. Pre-college educational companies are experiencing a large upswing in demand for related courses.

Video Games and Game Development

We think of gamers as chip-eating, soda-drinking couch potatoes destined to work minimum wage temp jobs for the rest of their lives.

The video game industry is experiencing a period of soft sales, but the industry itself is looking more and more like a safe long term career bet. Pre-college training companies like iD Tech Camps, a national summer camp that teaches programming and video game design to kids and teens, is seeing explosive enrollment in its programming and game development courses for the upcoming summer. “Parents want to steer their kids in a positive direction,” said Pete Ingram-Cauchi, CEO of iD Tech Camps. “Where are the lucrative jobs? Computer Science and Engineering look pretty good right now. And right now, it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs.”

As a featured guest at the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Pre-G-20 Forum this past fall, Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt was asked what type of training young people should pursue to gain the skills necessary to work in the tech sector of the future. Not surprisingly, he wanted kids and teens to learn programming. But the idea that surprised many in the room? He thought playing video games had value too.

“The game world is good training for a career in tech,” said Schmidt. “It teaches players to build a network, to use interactive skills and thinking.”

Schmidt’s words may come as a shock to those who weren’t born with a laptop or a smart phone in their hands. His comments directly contradict what popular culture has been hinting for years; that video game playing is only for entertainment. “We think of gamers as chip-eating, soda-drinking couch potatoes destined to work minimum wage temp jobs for the rest of their lives,” said Mr. Ingram-Cauchi. “Society isn’t connecting the dots…that gaming can actually be a valuable stepping stone leading to better results for surgeons, athletes, computer scientists and engineers.” An AP Article covered a study from Beth Israel Medical Center with the title “Surgeons may err less by playing video games: Three hours a week decreased mistakes by 37 percent, study finds.”

“It’s was refreshing to hear somebody like Eric Schmidt address the topic,” said Mr. Ingram-Cauchi. “We’ve been preaching that same sentiment for years and have actually seen the positive effects that programming and video game design can have on students.”

The summer camp uses gaming as a vehicle to build critical thinking skills. Students work with gaming titles like Unreal Tournament® 3 and Half-Life® 2, along with the 3D modeling package Maya®, and game development software from Multimedia Fusion 2 Developer ®. “Our students want to learn how to create video games—to learn game development skills. But that’s the head fake. Along the way, they gain problem-solving skills and teambuilding skills which are absolutely vital in the tech field,” said Ingram-Cauchi.

Are the days behind us where kids and teens are treated as outcasts for having a keen interest in video games? Probably not. But Mom and Dad can now rest a little easier after spending $50 on a video game. It just might be an investment. And who knows, it might lead to fulfilling the dream of attending Stanford, UCLA or MIT. Or even getting that lucrative dream job. Eric, you still hiring?

ABOUT iD TECH CAMPS
iD Tech Camps is North America’s #1 provider of summer computer camps and technology camps for kids and teens with programs at 60 elite universities in the USA and Canada. Locations include Stanford and MIT. Established in 1999 in Silicon Valley, the company is family-owned and operated. iD Tech Camps offers technology courses including 3D Video Game Design, 3D Game Modding, Maya®, Game Development, Programming in C++ and Java, Programming iPhone® Apps, Robotics, Web Design, Flash® Animation, Graphic Arts, Digital Photography and Video Editing. The summer camps consist of weeklong day camps and sleep away camps, and multi-week teen academies. Courses are appropriate for beginner to advanced learners. The company teaches the latest technologies from Apple®, Adobe®, Microsoft®, Autodesk®, Sony®, Valve® and more.

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Karen Thurm Safran
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