This fall 2017 semester, Santa Rosa Junior College’s Computer Studies Department will begin offering Game Development and Game Design courses. Local high school students, current SRJC students and other interested candidates will have the opportunity to work toward a full Associate’s Degree in Digital Media: Game Programming. In addition, students would have the opportunity to continue their studies at prestigious four-year universities in California, like UC Santa Cruz.
The SRJC Computer Studies Program has been recently joined by a new full-time faculty member, Ethan Wilde. A game development instructor, author, coder, and entrepreneur for more than two decades, he previously taught for fifteen years at the Graduate School of New Media of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Ethan Wilde and his colleague, new adjunct instructor Alejandro Jauco from Ohlone Community College, who will be teaching Game Design 1, will bring a new focus to the gaming, mobile and web areas of study, as a response to the increase in job market demand for this field. The game courses are under the umbrella of the Digital Media program coordinated by instructor Michael Starkey.
According to the most recent study on employment and growth of the American video game industry produced by the Entertainment Software Association (Feb 2017), California is the state with the greatest number of active game industry businesses in the U.S., with 853 companies, followed by Texas, with 268 companies, and Washington, with 221 companies. Most of the game companies are located in San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area, and Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana area. Those businesses range from international AAA game developers to independent creators of mobile and console games. A college degree is required for programmers, software engineers, game designers, or visual artists. The median yearly salary in this field is $50,000 - $70,000.