- The University of Utah and video game developer Unity Technologies have partnered to create a free certification program for more than 200 students.
- The university pays a fee to offer the program to students through online coursework and examinations, which certifies students in one of only three major video game development engine programs.
- Officials say the program puts Utah, the first school to offer the certification for free to students, ahead of the curve in preparing students for work in an industry projected to grow by 5% by 2020.
Utah's announcement for free certification follows another recent video game-higher education announcement from the University of Nevada — Las Vegas, which will now feature a laboratory dedicated to video game development research and teaching. Given the geographic proximity to video game development corporations, and the clear growth of gaming in recreation, professional gaming and learning spaces, these schools clearly are working to corner space in a learning area that just 10 years ago was being mocked by many in higher education.
The initiative shows the range of opportunities in STEM development, which many higher ed leaders limit to coding, IT and cybersecurity when it comes to computer science. More importantly, it shows that higher education can lead in spaces which may not operate in the traditional mode of industry, but with a boost in intellectual and financial capital, can become the next great billion-dollar fields.