Industry and Academia

24 04 2008


I linked the first part of an interview with new TIGA CEO David Wilson before, and the second part is now up at Develop. The whole thing is worth reading, but in this segment, he basically talks about some work Pixel-Lab has been doing for quite a while:

In terms of the skills and education issue, it’s another priority – partly because it’s key to encourage developers to have ties with universities. I know that there a large number of universities which offer some elements of video games – and I know a lot of them are criticised by the games industry. It’s worth saying that most sectors complain about the quality of graduates – that’s just a general complaint, but also there is some truth in that. The key is not to grumble, but work out how we can improve qualifications, and pass on best practices to the universities themselves.

Everyone says that the industry moves so fast – and it does – but that makes it vital that we have a dialogue with universities so they know what skills are needed.

And I suppose every game developer should be aware that people at universities aren’t preparing for one industry or another – we shouldn’t be expecting students to graduate and be ‘industry ready’. I think they should be capable of being employed in the industry – but we’ve got to bear in mind that anyone who comes out of a course requires additional training to get them up to par. That’s something we just have to accept.

So I suppose another great part of our working with Government means we can help tackle that perceived downfall in those studying maths and sciences in addition to making sure the quality of computer science degrees are up to scratch.

This is exactly what we’re doing, for the third year running, with GAMES:EDU:08, and we’ve noticed a marked improvement in the dialogue there. The first year, academics and developers griped at each other a lot about CS, Maths, and development skills, but in the second year we ran it, things had really changed. Many of those in attendance had a good understanding of those in the other camp and were beginning to work together. The climate is changing with more studios holding open days for academics and lecturers, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how things develop in Manchester and Brighton this year.



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