Turning Your Passion for Games into a Career: What Does It Take?

Jim Whitehead
Professor of Computational Media, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs
UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering
Santa Cruz County Office of Education

Register for Zoom link: https://santacruzcoe-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrf-iprzkuGNxZOAaReOydAfoz7zZtpN49

Description: During this two-hour, free event, Jim Whitehead will introduce students (grades 7-12) and educators who are passionate about computer games to the educational programs and career options in computer games and interactive media. California is home to some of the largest and most successful games companies including Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Roblex, Zynga, Sony Playstation, Cryptic Studios and many more. How do you take a passion for playing games and turn that into a career making games? Several colleges offer degree programs focused on the major elements of game creation, including game and level design, game programming, 2D and 3D artwork, visual effects, sound effects and music, and more. Landing a job in the games industry is challenging and highly competitive. The event will also cover adjacent careers, such as web development, mobile app development, and virtual reality modeling, which are also open to students who study games in college. In the last hour of the event, a panel of current and former game design students from UC Santa Cruz will describe their experiences studying games, and how they successfully made the transition from college to games industry.

Speaker bio: Jim Whitehead is the associate dean for undergraduate affairs and a professor of computational media at the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering. Jim received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include procedural content generation for games, testing autonomous vehicles, automation of software testing, software repository mining, software bug prediction, and level design in computer games. A leader in education about computer games, Jim led the creation of the B.S. computer science: computer game design degree, and was a key figure in the first five years of the games and playable media M.S. program. He served as chair of the Computer Science Department from 2010–14, and Chair of Computational Media from 2017–19.