Careers and CTE

Video Game Design STEM Challenge

Like video games? Keep Reading!

Our video game challenge launched earlier this week!

This STEM Challenge is great for anyone with an interest in video game design. Video games are a big business, and will only grow in the future as more small developers pop up and more platforms for gamers to use are created. Before, we only had a handful of gaming systems and personal computers to play pricey games, now we have dozens of methods for people to play games – and they come in a variety of price points!

Of course, such a promising industry is always going to have room for more developers. Whether you’re a small studio using Unity or applying to a job at Bethesda, it’s important to know what it means to be a video game designer.

What’s the STEM Challenge?

The STEM Challenge is an interactive series designed to give an inside perspective of cool STEM careers, help you take the first steps, and practice your skills in a fun learning environment.

The Video Game Design Challenge includes watching short virtual job shadow videos, a Ted Talk given by a game designer, and hands-on activities you can do as a teen to start working your way toward a job in this industry. There are a total of six sections to the challenge, complete them 100% online, at your own pace over the month of September.

How do I get started?

It’s easy! Just go to the Video Game Design Challenge page, and click the ‘take this course’ button!

Not sure if you’re best suited for interactive fiction games, VR games, or one of the many genres of games that are out there? Then be sure to take the entire course! We have infographics describing the many different kinds of games that exist, as well as a rubric to help you submit a perfect Challenge entry.

I’m No Good at Art and/or Programming – Why Bother with This Challenge?

You should still give it a try! You may surprise yourself and have an easier time designing on a computer program than you did with a pen and paper.

Even if you know that you aren’t terribly talented in one aspect of gaming, you can always improve. No one is a master at anything on the first try, so a lot of effort and trial and error is what everyone needs to get better. Plus you have almost a whole month left, so lots of time to practice!

Keep in mind that we know you only have a month, and we know you aren’t secretly a professional designer from Activision. We’re just expecting a strong effort and a well-designed product. Don’t be too hard on yourself! No coding or programming needed – just give it a try!

How do I Keep Up With My Game Design After the Challenge Ends?

Game design is a fun hobby that you should continue to foster long after this STEM Challenge is over.

The Video Game Design Challenge provides lots of helpful resources to continue in your journey, and you can stay in touch with the latest in the industry in the Computer Science Group.

Good luck, and happy game designing!

Job Shadow Quick Start Guide

What is a job shadow?
As we covered in our Employer’s Guide to Job Shadowing last month, “A job shadow program is a program within any company or organization that lets students shadow workers for a few hours. Unlike internships, which usually last months or a year, job shadow programs are typically less than one day. Students are compensated with school credit and the ability to meet professionals – no money exchanges hands on either side. Also unlike an internship, a job shadow is strictly educational in nature; they often only observe but can do hands-on tasks if you are open to that.”

Benefits of job shadowing
Job shadowing benefits everyone. Students are introduced to the workforce in a friendly, controlled environment, and are able to acquaint themselves with the higher-ups. This allows them to potentially get a foot in with a company that may hire them after they graduate. The experience is also valuable, and they can likely use this experience as college/high school credit.

Employers will meet a few new fresh faces and some potential new employees, which not only will help hiring managers look for new talent, but also establish the company as a student-friendly workplace that gives back to the community.

What companies offer job shadowing?
Companies across all sectors offer job shadow programs! Although you’ll more likely see job shadowing in office settings, retail stores and local businesses of all kinds (ranging from massage therapy to local boutiques) also offer programs. You can ask around at local businesses or see if your school has any info, but the easiest way to find out what companies near you offer job shadowing is to use our Job Shadow Finder. The Finder is a collection of companies that offer job shadowing and internships at their office(s), and is perfect for students who need job experience or need to complete an internship/job shadow before graduation.

I’m part of a company; how do I make my company’s internship/job shadow program known?
A topic we also covered in our previous job shadow post, a great way to get started is to put a listing for the program in our Job Shadow Finder. You can also buy a promoted blog post with us, and we’ll write a customized blog post focusing entirely on your program. It’s a great way to reach out 9,000+ daily visitors to our site!

I’m a student who needs to complete a job shadow/internship to graduate, but I can’t find any programs in my area!
Interning and job shadowing are slowly becoming a requirement for high schoolers and college students to complete before graduation. While it might be fairly easy for college students to find an internship, job shadows are harder to find, and it’s all the more harder for high school students.

Besides making use of our Job Shadow Finder, a great way to find programs in your area is to speak either with your school’s main office (if you’re in high school) or career center (if you’re in college). These offices are bound to have plenty of useful information, or at the very least some people or businesses you can contact for further info.

Are there any existing job shadow databases?
Despite there being a plethora of job- and internship-hunting websites, no resources exist to help students find job shadow opportunities. Career In STEM’s Job Shadow Finder is the first of its kind, and seeks to help students who would otherwise struggle to find the opportunities they need to graduate.

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