GGC introduces unique degree option in gaming

Georgia Gwinnett College has introduced a digital media concentration within its information technology degree program, starting in fall semester 2012. This new concentration is a response to the growing video gaming and entertainment industry within Georgia and will offer students in-depth study of emerging interactive styles in producing digitally mediated forms.

Georgia Gwinnett College has introduced a digital media concentration within its information technology degree program, starting in fall semester 2012. This new concentration is a response to the growing video gaming and entertainment industry within Georgia and will offer students in-depth study of emerging interactive styles in producing digitally mediated forms.

“The new digital media track is a unique interdisciplinary blend of information technology and fine arts. In addition to programming and technology courses, students will take coursework in art – drawing, film production, creative writing and music production,” said Victor Lawson, GGC instructor of information technology, and chair of the digital media team that developed the new program.  

This new line of study will bolster Gwinnett’s fast-growing video gaming industry by helping to provide a ready-made workforce for game-developing companies in Georgia. There are more than 75 video gaming companies in Georgia, many of them in Gwinnett County. With that number expanding, video gaming business leaders are excited about the opportunities this new concentration offers.

“Gwinnett and metro Atlanta will benefit from this type of program, created specifically to support our existing base of technology companies, as well as those we are currently recruiting through the economic development efforts of Partnership Gwinnett.” said Nick Masino, senior vice president of Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

“I think it’s awesome that GGC has created this new curriculum,” said Clinton Lowe, chief executive officer of C. Allen Lowe & Associates, and co-founder and president of the Georgia Game Developers' Association, Inc. “To my knowledge, this is the first information technology-based program of its kind in the nation. Information technology is definitely the backbone of all software, especially in video games. It’s good to have Georgia Gwinnett in the niche. I welcome the college aboard.”

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the core of Georgia’s digital entertainment and digital media industry is the development of digital content that blends art and technology for both entertainment and software applications. Much of this cutting-edge development is driven by a trained workforce with expertise in software and artistic development including visual media, graphic design, animation, music and storytelling, as well as a wide range of technical computer programming and engineering talents.

“As we created this program, we were certainly aware of the growing gaming and telecommunications community in Georgia, and we hope GGC will become part of the driving force behind these industries,” said Marc Gilley, GGC assistant professor of music.

State officials are excited about this new studies program because it will help provide a trained workforce for Georgia companies that are developing games and digital media for the global marketplace.

“Georgia has the complete package, offering a thriving business environment, incentives, telecommunications infrastructure and talent,” said Asante Bradford, project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Our ability to offer expanding or relocating companies a highly-skilled and trained workforce through our colleges and universities is key to the future success of the industry in Georgia.”

“Georgia Gwinnett produces skilled and creative graduates who are a good fit for the gaming industry in Georgia,” said Gene Chayevsky, CEO of Cadillac Jack, a leading developer of games and technology for the global gaming industry, based in Duluth. “This is good news for Cadillac Jack as we like to recruit local talent whenever possible.”

Georgia Gwinnett’s digital media concentration is designed to attract students for professions within the digital media production sector, including video gaming, web development, mobile application development and film/video development. Some current students are ready to include the concentration as part of their degree.

“I have always wanted to become a video game developer or work within the video game field,” said Dave Smith, a sophomore from Snellville. “Video gaming is growing at a fast rate, as is my interest in working for the video game industry, and having this new program at GGC means I do not have to switch schools to prepare for my career.”

GGC is currently reaching out to local digital media production and development companies about possible collaborations.

The application deadline for the 2012 fall semester at Georgia Gwinnett is July 2. For more information, visit the GGC Admissions Office.

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