Like it or not the video game industry is very much a part of the world today, and the Gaming and Simulation Development program at Tyler Junior College is much more than a classroom with computers inside. Located in the Pirtle Technology Building in a small office full of character, sits Gigi Delk, instructor of computer informationsystems.

“Gaming has become a group sport, parents become worried when their children enroll in programming courses because the common knowledge would lead one to think these students are just staring blankly at a computer screen. When in fact these programmers form networks with other people all around the country,” Delk said.

It turns out these programmers are doing much more than making new friends and swapping ideas.

According to the International Game Developers Association, the gaming industry is incredibly diverse with many opportunities. Salaries for established game developers average up to six figures, and no, that is not a typo. The gaming and simulation pamphlet from TJC will tell any interested student that games are expected to surpass film revenues in the next couple of years, making them the fastest growing segment of the entertainment market.

It’s an industry that is finally being shown a little respect and programmers are not the only ones getting some needed attention, others are too.

“Graphic artists, musicians, and writers alike are finally seeking out the gaming industry wanting to be a part of what their doing, which is great,” said Delk.

Instead of being a hole where these types of trades people disappear, artists, musicians and the like are now seekingout these jobs in the gaming world with pride and hoping to be a part of the next “breakthrough” game, Delk said.

TJC offers two programs in this field, Gaming and Simulation Programming and Gaming and Simulation Graphics.Both lead to an Associate of Applied Science Degree and are very diverse.

In the Gaming and Simulation Programming course students will study the video game industry, computer programming, game design and development, graphics and simulation programming, and 3D video game engines.However, if one should choose the Gaming and Simulation Graphics track, students will learn computer graphics and design, basic game design, 3D modeling as well as 2D and 3D animation and drawing.

What is great about these classes is that they are truly designed for students of all ages. Christine Murray, a 50-year old grandmother of seven, is currently taking one of Delk’s programming courses and loving it.

“I just love programming. I was tired of being the secretary and wanted to be the boss,” she said.

Of course with any class or program students want to know what kind of teacher they will have to deal with, and Delk does not disappoint.

“She is very knowledgeable about what she is teaching, very smart,” said Josh Battles.

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