NJIT Provides Gaming Students With Technical, Hands-On Training

It isn’t often that parents root for their kids’ “Guitar Hero” skills or encourage them to devote more time to video games, let alone inspire them to focus on gaming as a career path.

Contrary to the unhealthy practices of video game-addicted couch potatoes, however, students who select the recently developed video-game programming concentration at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) develop a background in computer science theory with the practice of applied programming, allowing them to become well-versed in multimedia, including graphic design, game design, level editing and 3-D modeling. They graduate with a greater advantage than their peers in an industry that is growing quickly, even in the face of a potential recession.

Donald J. (D.J.) Kehoe, 28-year-old adjunct professor and assistant to the director for IT at NJIT, heads a 12-class, game-programming concentration that the school officially launched last fall. “[There’s a] high demand from the students, and there’s a growing industry for it,” Kehoe said, “[so] when I had the opportunity to create it, I went for it.”

The school hosted its semi-annual “Game Expo” this month, giving students a chance to show off their proficiency in video-game development, as well as their skill at playing popular video games — from Rock Band and Guitar Hero to Smash Brothers and other fighting games.

“[The atmosphere] is pretty laid-back, except for the occasional outcry of triumph and defeat,” Kehoe said.

Not All Fun and Games
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