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Getting Started in Software Development

Are you considering a career in software development? Our Software Development degree program at Coleman University can prepare you for an exciting career in a booming industry! Coleman University offers students the tools and foundational knowledge of programming languages, software architectures, and paradigms to create and manage software applications. With coursework in systems analysis, application design, website development, and e-commerce concepts, Coleman graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge to develop their very own software packages! Though Coleman can offer you the training and foundational knowledge to become a software developer, potential software developers may be unaware  of the various pathways into the industry.

With a wide array of potential career options for software developers, it behooves you to determine which path is right for you, based on your interests, skills, and abilities. From there, you must choose which coding language would best suit the job desired. Though used to accomplish similar tasks, different platforms necessitate different coding languages. The initial language that you choose should be based on your short- and long-term goals. For example, Java is the primary language used for Android applications. You would not learn Java if your goal is to develop iPhone applications. In that case, you would learn either Objective-C or Swift. Due to the small differences across platforms, you often cannot write one master code and expect it to work on every platform. You must understand the nuanced differences that affect how your software will run. Luckily, many of the major coding languages are primed to allow developers to port code to other platforms rather quickly. With that said, a developer still needs a thorough understanding of the impact that hardware has on software. Though falling under the software development umbrella, the distinct job destinations in your software development career all possess their own necessary skills and experiences. Like to play video games? A career in video game development may be for you. Are you a coding whiz? You may be on your way to become the next great software engineer! Let’s look at a few possible jobs within your career as a software developer  and explore what they look for in a candidate.

Game programmers take the outline provided by the game designer and bring it to life through code. Since video games are essentially self-contained software packages, game programmers must be familiar with various coding languages, such as C++ (the most popular), Java, and C#. Another option that game studios utilize when developing a new game is the use of game engines. Game engines are basically pre-built software templates that programmers use to expedite the development process. They generally contain the game studio’s preferred physics engines, rendering engine, and animation bundles, among other things. The Coleman University Gaming Development and Design program will prepare students to master arguably the two most popular game engines available today: Unity and Unreal. Though used to accomplish similar tasks, these game engines possess different attributes, strengths, and limitations that prospective employers expect applicants to navigate. With these tools at their disposal, game programmers can dictate how characters interact with the environment, with commands from the player, and with other characters.

Software Programmers or Developers are the backbone of computer science. They are involved in the development of many types of software, including operating systems, networking systems, and compilers (the software that converts code to executional commands on a computer). Though many software programmers and developers  spend a great deal of time writing code, their main priority can also include  system maintenance and optimization. With feedback from users and test groups, software programmers  frequently work to improve existing algorithms to make them more user-friendly.

Business Application Developers combine their knowledge of various coding languages with expertise in database management to help businesses build websites, mobile apps, and custom software packages. Due to the myriad of operating systems that can access certain apps, business application developers must have a strong understanding of multiple coding languages. Different projects will require different platforms, and a candidate that has a strong grasp on the necessary languages is very attractive. Companies would prefer to have one person with a diverse skillset rather than to hire multiple software developers to work on the project. Two of the most important abilities to possess in this position are the ability to safeguard software and the ability to make it user-friendly. Though network security professionals often step in and preserve sensitive information, companies rely on their software developers to build software packages that have an inherent defense. It is much easier to write code without exploitable holes than it is to find a hole and fix it later on. The other necessity is making sure that the software package is user-friendly. Software developers have to keep in mind that most end users are much less technologically adept and must be walked through new software packages.

Though education is important, experience is the most crucial requirement for a career in software development. In an effort to provide additional hands-on experience, Coleman University encourages students to work on independent projects, whether through collaborating on open source projects with other software developers across the world, by attending BarCamps, or by participating in coding dojos.

  • Open source projects are a great way to take the next step from fledgling coder to more advanced coding. There are hundreds of open source projects available at any given time that require software developers around the world to lend their time and energy to solve problems, build infrastructure, and give feedback. In return for contributing to these projects, you have the opportunity to learn from more experienced coders, gain exposure to a side of the industry that is hard to replicate in a classroom, and add it to your resume. As is the case for many creative roles, a portfolio of projects that you have contributed to can set you apart from other applicants.
  • Coding dojos are gatherings of programmers based around a common challenge. Though the event centers on a shared challenge, coding dojos are not meant to be competitive. Much like a game jam in video game development and design, coding dojos bring coders of all skill levels together to tackle a project in an attempt to glean new knowledge and skills in the process. The goal is to create an environment where people can collaborate and discuss approaches and techniques used when designing new software.
  • BarCamps are informal conferences put on by groups of individuals that wish to have an open forum to discuss the issues facing the industry. However, unlike most conferences, BarCamps do not have set speakers. Rather, everyone present must participate in some capacity – whether giving a demonstration, leading a workshop, or volunteering in a general capacity. The purpose of these events is to bring like-minded people together to learn in an open environment.

Due to the ever-evolving nature of technology, software developers must make continuous learning a priority to stay relevant. Through the use of industry periodicals, conferences, books, etc., programmers can learn the newest tips and trends that will shape the industry for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the technology that you spent countless hours mastering will eventually become outdated. When that happens, you have to evolve or risk becoming outdated yourself.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for programmers is projected to increase 17 percent from 2016 to 2024. With an average rate of job growth of 8 percent across all professions during that time frame, it is clear that qualified software developers are, and will continue to be, a hot commodity in the job market. This fact is supported by the average salary of a software developer, which, at just over $100,000 per year, is close to three times the average rate of pay across all professions at just over $36,000 per year. The cause for optimism surrounding the growth of software developers is the expectation that new technology will demand new applications. In the past, programmers would develop separate mobile apps for each platform (Apple, Android, Blackberry, and Windows). This would require multiple teams of software developers utilizing multiple programming languages to replicate the same app. Not only was this time-consuming and expensive, but each platform’s respective app store would tap into the profits made off of the app. However, programmers are starting to shift toward developing mobile web apps for convenience and cost-effectiveness. Rather than building the same app multiple times, software developers are able to build one HTML code and port it to a website. That way, when a user accesses the website from a mobile device, regardless of the operating system, he or she sees the same content.

With a degree in software development from Coleman University, you will have every opportunity to learn from industry leaders in the software development field. Due to the varied nature of the industry, a fledgling programmer has a multitude of opportunities to explore the myriad of paths before settling on one, based on his or her goals, interests, and talents. Though a degree from Coleman University can position you for an exciting career in software development, the onus falls squarely on you to continue learning and expanding your skills in an ever-evolving industry. But by developing a portfolio of completed work, building a network of fellow software developers, and possessing the right tools and knowledge, you will be well positioned to obtain a career in software development.

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Software Development Tips and Tricks

Are you considering a career in software development? At Coleman University, we offer a program that will prepare you for a promising career in a booming industry. Coleman University’s Software Development degree program gives you the tools and foundational knowledge to learn new programming languages, software architectures, and paradigms to create and manage software applications. With coursework in systems analysis, application design, website development, and e-commerce concepts, Coleman graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge to develop their very own software packages! Below are some tips, tricks, and trends that can help you succeed in a career in software development:

  • Determine which coding language you should learn. Though used to accomplish similar tasks, different platforms necessitate different coding languages. The initial language that you choose should be based on your short- and long-term goals. For example, Java is the primary language used for Android applications. You should not learn Java if your goal is to develop iPhone applications. In that case, you would learn either Objective-C or Swift. Due to the small differences across platforms, you often cannot write one master code and expect it to work on every platform. You must understand the nuanced differences that affect how your software will run. Luckily, many of the major coding languages are primed to allow developers to port code to other platforms rather quickly. With that said, a developer still needs a thorough understanding of the impact that hardware has on software.
  • Learn multiple coding languages, but stick with one language while you are starting out. Oftentimes, fledgling software developers will get ambitious or impatient and try to simultaneously learn multiple coding languages. Due to the technical nature of software development, learning multiple languages simultaneously may spread novice programmers a bit thin. It is much more beneficial to develop a deep foundational knowledge of one coding language than to learn multiple ones superficially. When you have a thorough understanding of how a specific coding language works, you can branch out. You will find that in most instances, it is much easier to learn subsequent coding languages than it is to learn that first language. Many coding languages have similar frameworks and structures, which allows a programmer to understand a majority of code, even if he or she is not entirely familiar with the language. It becomes a snowball effect as you learn and grow more familiar with the languages. Today, many programmers know multiple coding languages, because it reduces the chance they will be pigeonholed into a certain type of project. Employers are looking for programmers who can accomplish a variety of tasks, and you can set yourself apart by offering a varied skill set.
  • Keep abreast of new developments in the industry. Due to the ever-evolving nature of technology, software developers must make continuous learning a priority to keep relevant. Through the use of industry periodicals, conferences, books, etc., programmers can learn the newest tips and trends that will shape the industry for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the technology that you spent countless hours mastering will eventually become outdated. When that happens, you have to evolve or risk becoming outdated yourself.
  • Practice coding in the real world. With the increase in demand for software developers, more and more opportunities to gain real-world experience have presented themselves. There is no clear-cut route into a career in software development, so aspiring programmers are able to explore the entirety of the landscape before plunging into a set course. There are multiple ways to obtain real-world experience, but three of the most popular are detailed below:
    • Open source projects are a great way to take the next step from fledgling coder to more advanced coder. There are hundreds of open source projects available at any given time that require software developers around the world to lend their time and energy to solve problems, build infrastructure, and review their peers. In return for contributing to these projects, you have the opportunity to learn from more experienced coders, gain exposure to a side of the industry that is hard to replicate in a classroom, and add it to your resume. As with many creative roles, having a portfolio of projects that you have contributed to can set you apart from other applicants.
    • Coding dojos are gatherings of programmers based around a common challenge. Though such events center on a shared challenge, coding dojos are not meant to be competitive. Much like a game jam in video game development and design, coding dojos bring coders of all skill levels together to tackle a project in an attempt to glean new knowledge and skills in the process. The goal is to create an environment where people can collaborate and discuss approaches and techniques to use when designing new software.
    • BarCamps are informal conferences put on by groups of individuals who wish to have an open forum to discuss the issues facing the industry. However, unlike most conferences, BarCamps do not have set speakers. Rather, everyone present must participate in some capacity, whether giving a demonstration, leading a workshop, or volunteering in a general capacity. The purpose of these events is to bring like-minded people together to learn in an open environment.
  • Strongly consider learning Javascript. Though touted as the easiest coding language to learn, Javascript is the backbone of many of the most popular websites on the Internet. As a result, programmers who have a strong grasp of Javascript are very attractive to potential employers. The reason for this is the shift to more interactive websites that respond in real time to commands given to them by their users. For example, when you open your email inbox and click on an unread email, you are automatically brought to the full message. Javascript is the driving force behind that interaction.
  • Embrace frameworks. Used heavily in video game development and design, software frameworks are prebuilt code infrastructures that allow programmers to simply instruct an existing library of code. With libraries of code like Unreal and Unity, game programmers can worry less about minute details and focus their efforts on game play, animation, etc. By not having to build every game from scratch, game studios can dedicate fewer resources to each project, resulting in more efficient (and streamlined) production. The only real downside to this approach is that a studio’s offerings may all look a bit similar since they are all produced from the same piece of code. However, most studios combat this by using separate physics engines, graphics, and animations to distinguish the games from one another.
  • Focus on mobile web apps over native mobile apps. In the past, programmers would develop separate mobile apps for each platform (Apple, Android, Blackberry, and Windows). This would require multiple teams of software developers utilizing multiple programming languages to replicate the same app. Not only was this time-consuming and expensive, each platform’s respective app store would tap into the profits made off of the app. However, programmers are starting to shift towards developing mobile web apps for convenience and cost-effectiveness. Rather than building the same app multiple times, software developers are able to build one HTML code and port it to a website. That way, when a user accesses the website from a mobile device, regardless of the operating system, he or she sees the same content.

With a degree in software development from Coleman University, you will have every opportunity to learn from industry leaders in the software development field. Due to the varied nature of the industry, a fledgling programmer has many opportunities to explore the numerous paths before settling on one, based on his or her goals, interests, and talents. Coleman University can position you for an exciting career in software development, and with continuous  learning you can expand your skills in an ever-evolving industry.

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Coleman University Students Volunteer for CyberFest 2016

Coleman University students recently donated their time and talent for the Securing Our eCity® Foundation’s CyberFest 2016 event at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in October. The students decorated 500 gift boxes for CyberFest 2016 attendees. For these efforts, Coleman received a bronze level sponsorship and recognition in the event program.

CyberFest is an annual single-day program for professionals, business leaders, and technologists, representing who’s who in the world of cyber. This year’s theme was “The Future is Now.” Topics included panel discussions on surviving a cyber disaster and securing the Internet of Things.

The keynote speaker for the event was Eric O’Neill, former counter terrorism and counter intelligence operative for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. O’Neill is credited with playing a major role in the arrest, conviction, and eventual sentencing of FBI agent, Robert Hanssen for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. He speaks regularly on topics such as cybersecurity, espionage, fraud, corporate diligence and defense. The closing speaker was Ambassador R. James Woolsey, former lead for the U.S. Central Intelligence and former director of Central Intelligence. He frequently contributes articles for major publications, media interviews and presentations on the subjects of energy, foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence.

Students packing boxes.

Finished boxes stacked.

Student spray painting boxes.

Close up shot of spray paint stencil.

Student working on packing boxes.

Three students smiling after the project is complete.

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How To Get Started in a Career in Game Development and Design

Do you want an exciting career in game development and design? Unfortunately, it takes more than just a love of video games to be successful. Luckily, a Bachelor’s degree in game programming development and design from Coleman University can open the door to the myriad of opportunities the gaming industry has to offer. While many video game development careers may seem similar, a vast array of roles exists in the industry, ranging from creative functions (story development, artwork, music, etc.) to technical functions (coding, modeling, animation, etc.). At Coleman University, we offer a unique program that will prepare you for a rewarding career in game development and design by teaching you the skills and technologies that prospective employers look for in an applicant.

With such a wide array of potential career options, it befits you to determine which path is right for you, based on your interests, skills, and abilities. Though falling under the video game development and design umbrella, the distinct career paths all possess their own necessary skills and experiences. Can you draw? Concept art may be the right path for you! Are you a coding whiz? You just may be the next great game mechanics engineer! Let’s look at a few possible careers and what they look for in a candidate.

Game Designers are the architects of video game creation. They develop a vision of what the game will look like, how it plays, and how the various teams of developers will work together to bring that vision to life. First and foremost, game designers have to understand what gamers want and how to bring that demand to the screen. Once an idea for a game has been pitched, it is the game designer’s responsibility to determine which genre, platform, and game engine would suit the concept best. Once the foundation has been built, the game designer will lay out the fundamental concepts of the game, including characters, setting, and story. Each of these concepts will then be broken down further to include levels, landscapes, missions, and other central models that will ultimately shape how the gamer will interact with the game. Simply put, game designers see the big picture for every project.

Game programmers take the outline provided by the game designer and bring it to life through code. Since video games are essentially self-contained software packages, game programmers must be familiar with various coding languages, such as C++ (the most popular), Java, and C#. Another option that game studios utilize when developing a new game is the use of game engines. Game engines are basically pre-built software templates that programmers use to expedite the development process. They generally contain the game studio’s preferred physics engines, rendering engine, and animation bundles, among other things. The Coleman University Gaming Development and Design program will prepare students to master arguably the two most popular game engines available today: Unity and Unreal. Though used to accomplish similar tasks, these game engines possess different attributes, strengths, and limitations that prospective employers expect applicants to be able to navigate. With these tools at their disposal, game programmers can dictate characters interaction with the environment, commands from the player, and other characters.

Animators are responsible for the movements and interactions of characters and the environment. Much like game programmers, animators utilize a specialized software package to determine how things interact in the game. Though some games have cut scenes (a short movie within a game) that animators must design, most of the work comes from determining how the playable character moves within the environment. Early 2D games (like Mario and Pong) had fixed settings, because the hardware was not equipped to render advanced environments. However, with the advances in technology over the years, animators possess more freedom to explore the boundaries of what is possible within the construct of the game. With that said, animators are relied upon to portray the simulations as effectively as the hardware and software will allow. As a result, animators must be cognizant of the platform’s strengths and weakness, as well as the physics engine’s capabilities. With that said, this allows animators to create a cache of standardized character models that he or she can pull from in the future, rather than starting from scratch every time.

Video game tester may be the most sought after position in the video game industry, due to the nature of the role. Game testers provide quality assurance for studios by playing through upcoming games and discovering bugs or glitches. Generally, these positions are more entry-level than the others on this list, but still require the knowledge necessary to identify technical problems in the game. Video game testers also serve as the first focus group for a new game, as they are asked to give feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of each new project. Since video games are meant to be vessels of enjoyment, studios count on testers to determine if the gameplay is conducive to fun.

Though an education is important, experience is the most crucial requirement for a career in game design and development. In an effort to provide additional hands-on experience, Coleman University encourages students to work on independent game projects, as well as participate in two “Game Jams” per year. A game jam is a game development marathon that can last up to 48 hours and is meant to be collaborative. Generally, game jams bring people together in a single location, and participants are given a theme on which to base their game. By bringing people together, students have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other, ask questions, and receive feedback from their classmates and instructors. Though they only have 48 hours to produce a prototype, many developers go on to complete their games afterwards. By designing and programming their own games, students receive the opportunity to experience the responsibilities and tasks that accompany a career in game design and development. It also allows the students an opportunity to create a portfolio of their work, which can set an applicant apart when applying for jobs after graduation. As a matter of fact, some of the assets created are used in actual games!

Though the gaming industry encompasses many roles, the most basic (and valuable) skill is the ability to code. Many industry experts would recommend learning C++, as it is the most widely used. When pursuing careers in the industry, being able to present a game (even a rudimentary game) that you produced will be invaluable, as it proves to employers that you have the skills and knowledge to do what they are looking for. From there, more often than not, you will begin as a game tester. This role allows you to display your understanding of how a game should play and how to fix glitches. It also comes with the added benefit of playing video games for a living! Once you prove your worth, you have the opportunity to branch out to any of the jobs listed above (and many more). Unlike many professions, the foundational knowledge and skills allow designers and developers to dabble in multiple roles. Though some people do specialize, there is simply more crossover in the video game industry than others.

The video game business is ever-evolving due to its reliance on technology. As new technologies are developed, new breakthroughs in video gaming will follow. With an industry larger than that of Hollywood, studios are pouring more and more money into blockbuster titles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% increase in video game designer and developer jobs over the next eight years. Advancements in virtual reality or similar technology may cause a massive boom for an already promising industry. Though a love for video games is not sufficient for a career in the gaming industry, Coleman University’s Game Design and Development degree program can equip you with the tools and knowledge to pursue your passion for the world of video games.

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Coleman University Game Programming Development and Design Degree Program

Introduction

Considering a career in video game development and design? At Coleman University, we offer a program that will prepare you for the ins-and-outs of the video game industry beyond just playing the game. The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that shows no signs of slowing down. With more and more major studios investing billions into new blockbuster titles, as well as startup indie studios pumping out fan-favorite mobile games, the industry has never been stronger. The scope of games is widening to include new platforms and technologies, and gaming companies are looking for bright new programmers that bring a high level of industry-specific knowledge, creativity, and passion for what they do. Now is the right time to turn your passion into your profession with a degree from Coleman University. With coursework focused in animation, coding, modeling, and more, Coleman graduates enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge to design and develop their very own games!

Scope of Study

Coleman University’s Game Programming Development and Design degree program is designed to be completed in 15 ten-week modules, with undergraduate program classes starting every ten weeks. Degree requirements include satisfactory coursework in Programming, Animation, Writing, Mathematics, Modeling, and Typography, as well as a Capstone project. The comprehensive Capstone project requires students to work cooperatively to design and develop a game. Students are able to apply the concepts of game architecture and design acquired in previous classes to create at least one level of a comprehensive game that will include an opening, game play, credits, and documentation.

The skills and technologies learned from the Gaming Development and Design program encompasses multiple disciplines of software development, lending core concepts to careers in modeling, computer graphics, product demonstration, film, marketing, and crime scene reenactment. Technology is continually evolving, so people in this particular profession need to be kept abreast of new developments and trends. Coleman University utilizes the most up-to-date hardware and software packages in an effort to prepare students for an ever-changing industry. Coleman University’s Game Programming Development and Design degree program coupled with Coleman’s career support prepares students for success in all facets, including industry skill and knowledge development, résumé assistance, , portfolio creation, interview preparation, and career guidance.

Curriculum

The Game Programming Development and Design degree program encompasses a multifaceted understanding of various processes, skills, and technologies that are necessary to succeed in a career in game development and design. Students are given foundational knowledge on which to build proficiencies in design theory, development principles, and programming.

Students will start with preparatory courses to introduce them to the core tenets of game design and development. The three introductory courses are:

COM 103 – Introduction to Game Programming

This course introduces the field of game programming, giving students a solid grasp of the concepts required to write a game. Students will learn and apply the basics of computer programming and key components, including input, sound, and graphics, while developing a framework that will be applied in future gaming coursework.

DSN 123 – Game Development

This course covers the basic elements of game design, including what a game is, how a game works, and what decisions must be made before the start of any project. The student will learn about user experience, core mechanics, and different game genres, conventions, and pitfalls.

COM 153 – Game Programming Concepts C++

This course introduces object-oriented programming in C++ using DirectX in the field of game programming. Students will learn the importance of game design, modular coding, and using the APIs of graphics engines and DirectX to draw and display images, manipulate 3D meshes and objects, play Sounds and Audio files, use scripts and templates, and implement a peer to peer networked FPS game. Students will learn how to use an existing framework and how to apply it to future applications in an object-oriented manner.

After these foundational classes, students will be prepared to engage in more specialized coursework, ranging from Typography to Level Design. Because the video game industry is market-driven, Coleman also requires students to take Business 200 – Information Technology and Management. This course introduces the consumer-driven business environment, with an emphasis on the use of information technology and information systems as used by businesses today. It describes the basics of information systems and discusses how computer technology will be utilized in the 21st century. It also provides an overview of competitive strategies, ethics, global issues, and organizational responsiveness. The goal of the Game Design and Development program is to produce well-rounded graduates that are able to seamlessly integrate into a variety of different positions in the video game industry. By exposing students to multiple coding languages, game engines, and physics engines, we are confident that our graduates possess the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed.

Skills Learned

Though a passion for video games is important for a career in the video gaming industry, there are certain proficiencies that most employers expect their designers and developers to possess:

  • An in-depth understanding of the various coding languages. Since video games are playable computer software, you must have a thorough knowledge of how computer software works. The typical programming language is C++ due to its strength in infrastructure building. When creating massive virtual environments, C++ helps lay the foundation upon which you can build your game. It is one thing to have an idea for a game, but a whole other thing to be able to put those ideas into action and create your vision on the screen.
  • Familiarity with various game engines. More likely than not, any large video game company that a graduate will join will have a game engine. Some use the existing mainstream engines (Unity or Unreal, for example) and others develop their own. A game engine is a prepackaged software framework that allows designers to layer their game over the existing code. Rather than starting from scratch, developers use these game engines to speed up the production of their games. Game engines usually contain a graphics modeling agent, a physics engine, animation controller, scripting interface, artificial intelligence regulator, and video support. As a video game designer or developer, you must have a comprehensive understanding of how each one of these components will affect your game.
  • An understanding of the differences between consoles. Due to hardware differences across consoles, you often cannot write one master code and expect it to work on every platform. You must understand the nuanced differences that affect how your game will run. Luckily, many of the major game engines are primed to allow developers to “port” games to other platforms rather quickly. With that said, a developer still needs a thorough understanding of the impact that hardware has on software.
  • A sense of creative direction. Video games are an immersive medium, in that the designer is able to lay out his ideas, but the player has the ability to explore the world without strict constraints. As a result, designers and developers need a clear understanding of the theme, tone, and style of their games. Consistency is key. Much like Hollywood movies, video games are subject to plot holes and confusing undertones that can betray the overall message of the game. Developers have to be vigilant in crafting a clear and unified concept that will be both enjoyable and easily followed by the player.

Job Prospects for Game Designers and Developers

Designing and developing games is a massive undertaking, often requiring teams of people working on a particular section of development (animation, graphics, storyline, etc.). Due to the varied responsibilities of game design and development, many programmers specialize in a particular area (Graphics Designer vs. Animator). Like many careers, specializing in one particular area of expertise may set an applicant apart from an another that is competent in everything but spectacular in nothing. Though major video game studios hire the majority of designers and developers, a rising amount of startup indie gaming companies are providing an alternate avenue into the industry. Though mostly focused around mobile gaming, these indie companies provide employees with greater potential for creative control over their creations.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, video game designer and developer jobs are projected to increase 6% over the next eight years. Although, with new technologies constantly emerging, the growth of the video game industry is tough to project. You never know what the next big technological advancement will do for the industry. Advancements in virtual reality or similar technology may cause a massive boom for an already promising industry.

Recap

The video game industry is rapidly growing and in demand of qualified individuals who can apply industry specific knowledge and skills for its development. And while the average fan cannot fathom the intricacies of designing the interactive worlds that they explore on a superficial level, many avid gamers-turned-video game programmers develop a deeper appreciation for the games that they love. With a degree in video game development and design from Coleman University, you can turn your passion into your profession.

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Faculty Spotlight: Ben Mead

Ben Mead in his office.
Ben Mead is an instructor in Coleman University’s cybersecurity program. Mead has worked in the IT industry for more than 15 years and has worked at Coleman since 2015.

“I have a passion for training and developing IT administrators, supervisors, and managers into the next generation of technology leaders,” said Mead.

Mead has vast experience within the IT industry. He previously worked in healthcare, biosciences, finance, and government, with noted success leading a broad range of enterprise IT initiatives. He has also directed and designed technology solutions that became platforms for business growth.

“As an instructor who is an industry professional first, I am striving to deliver practices and relevant hands-on training to my students,” Mead said.

With his professional background and experience, combined with his work as an instructor, Mead anticipates his students will achieve their own success in the IT industry.

“I look forward to seeing an infrastructure or project implemented by one of my students in the field,” he declared.

Outside of the classroom, Mead can be found increasing his IT knowledge at technology-focused conferences in virtualization, automation, and information security, both black and white hat. He has also volunteered as a mentor at the FIRST LEGO League, where he served as a robotics competition judge and referee.

Mead holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an ITIL® certification. He is a Dell Certified Systems Expert.

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5 Steps to Get Started in Coleman’s Cybersecurity Program

Making a decision of what degree to pursue can be challenging. You must consider a series of factors, such as: number of jobs available, salary expectations, how much the field is expected to grow in the next few years, and how much you would enjoy working in that occupation now and in the future. This is why it is so important to choose it carefully. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, in addition to what type of work provides you with the most personal and professional satisfaction is key.

A career in cybersecurity involves understanding how hackers think and act, so you can prepare systems to avoid attacks. You will be able to protect companies and private information all around the world, combat cybercrimes and identity theft. For individuals who enjoy the inner workings of computer systems and who desire to make a difference, becoming a cybersecurity expert could be the right career.

More than 80% of U.S. companies were hacked until 2015, according to Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey released on 2015. This is an increasing fear for companies and customers. It is scary to know that any smart hacker could potentially have access to your private information. Hackers can and will retrieve data that you would not usually give away lightly, such as your social security number and credit card information.

Global corporations and federal institutions like Twitter, Netflix, Snapchat, and the U.S. Department of Justice, were all hacked in 2016. The number of well-known hacked companies – that consumers use every day – make data breaches one of America’s biggest fears, which is raising awareness for the importance of cybersecurity experts. However, according to the survey, smaller companies are most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This is because they do not always have the resources needed to fight these attacks. Sometimes, they do not even realize they have been hacked.

Data breaches cost businesses around $400 billion a year, according Lloyd’s. It is expected that companies will spend an average of $170 billion by 2020 on cybersecurity. This represents an approximate growth rate of 10% in the next 5 years.

These hackers do not steal only information that should not be shared. They also steal currency. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center estimates that ransomware – programs that infect a computer until a ransom is paid – costs millions of dollars to companies.

Career opportunities in cybersecurity are increasing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average salary for Information Security Analyst is $90,000 dollars per year, and jobs can be found in a variety of industries, since all companies need to protect themselves against cyber threats. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also states that the job outlook growth from 2014 to 2024 is 18%, much faster than average (which is 7%).

If you are curious about how to get started in Coleman’s Cybersecurity program, check out this 5 steps list of how to start.

    1. What is it?

In the Coleman University Cybersecurity degree program, you will learn how to design secure networks, recover data, and remove malware from systems. You will also learn how to hack systems, so you can understand how the professional hackers work.

At Coleman’s Cybersecurity program you will utilize the latest technology and learn how to be prepared to work in a very dynamic industry. The coursework includes topics and technologies such as multiple operating systems and cloud technologies.

You can choose to improve your skills in one or more of Coleman’s Cybersecurity program three tracks: Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing, Digital and Network Forensics, and Management of Information Security.

The 40-week Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing track provides an in-depth knowledge of network and operating system security, followed by familiarization with the tools and techniques used by both ethical hackers and penetration testers towards network defense and security assessment. Courses in this include: Intermediate Network Security Operating System Hardening, Advanced Network Security / Ethical Hacking, and Advanced Network Security / Penetration Testing.

In the 20-week Digital and Network Forensics track, students learn about the techniques used in data recovery for civil and corporate proceedings, along with those used in the corporate environment for investigations following network intrusions and breaches. The two courses in this track are Intermediate Network Security, and Computer and Network Forensics.

The 20-week Management of Information Security track provides the core knowledge necessary to manage an organization’s information security program, including an understanding of risk management and corporate information security governance. The two courses in this track are Management of Information Security, and Governance, Risk, and Compliance Management.

    2. Why do people need it?

The Cybersecurity program will allow you to develop the right skills to work with information security in a variety of fields. You will learn ethical hacking techniques, how to protect systems and networks against web threats, how to implement, monitor and upgrade computer anti-virus and malware protection systems, how to encrypt data transmissions and erect firewalls to conceal confidential information during transit and explore Cisco networking solutions that verify standards for the IT professional.

    3. Why is it a good opportunity?

In a world where almost all data can be found on the Internet and the threats are real, companies need to protect this critical information. A professional with this kind of expertise is becoming indispensable for companies and institutions.

With a degree in Coleman’s Cybersecurity program careers can be found as a Web Security Analyst, Systems Administrator, Information Security Administrator, and Information Security Analyst. As companies become increasingly reliant on technology to manage data, more workers will be needed with expertise in maintaining complex systems and making them safe for users.

Last, but not least, at Coleman University, all current students and graduates have lifetime job placement assistance through the Career Services department.

    4. How it works?

The Cybersecurity program at Coleman has an inverted curriculum that enables students to receive their career training early in their program. This allows them to attain the skills and knowledge they need to become qualified for an IT-related position in just some months. Classes are offered in the evening on the Coleman campus, and each class in your academic program will have a low number of students, so participation can be encouraged.

    5. What to expect?

At Coleman, our goal is that all students learn a number of processes and technologies, building the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in a career in cybersecurity. Students will start with four introductory classes that will introduce them to cybersecurity.

The four introductory classes are:
NET 110 A+ Repairing and Maintaining PCs

This course is designed to give the student a solid theory basis for PC hardware. The course covers system types, system assembly, PC components, and diagnostic tools. Emphasis is placed on understanding the PC components, how they function, and troubleshooting skills. Additional topics include PC installation, configuration, upgrading, troubleshooting, diagnosing, safety, preventative maintenance, operating systems diagnostics, and operating system upgrades.

NET 250 Networking Concepts

This course covers the basic concepts of local area networks (LANs) and their technologies. This course uses a technical approach to LANs, including an overview of networking protocols, topographies, media, and networking devices using the Open System Interconnection (OSI) reference model. This course shows how data flows from the home, small office/home office (SOHO), and enterprise networks.

NET 210 Wireless Technologies

This course is a concept and theory class on today’s wireless technologies in use. Topics covered are wireless LANs, satellite communications, cellular technology, Bluetooth, global positioning systems, as well as general wireless digital technologies. Students go through the various aspects of each interface, including coding, hardware, and possible exploitable points.

COM 259 Linux Fundamentals

History, concepts, and facilities of the LINUX operating system will be discussed. The course introduces the user interface, common commands, and basic system administration of a LINUX operating system. Students learn how to write and execute LINUX shell scripts used for the controlled execution of a series of basic LINUX commands. The basics of script writing (creation, writing in the shell programming language, debugging, and execution) will be covered, along with an overview of built-in shell commands available to the user. Advanced topics include use of user/shell/environmental variables, script commands for decision-making, looping and flow control, and creation of shell aliases and functions.

Once these foundational classes have been successfully completed, students will be subjected to more specialized coursework, ranging from Advanced TCP/IP integration to Virtualization. Coleman University also requires students to take SEC 210 Ethics, Policies, and Procedures, since the cybersecurity industry is related to law enforcement.

As part of Coleman University’s program you will have:
• An in-depth understanding of operating systems, networks, virtualization software
• Proficiency with LINUX coding language
• Advanced network-to-network connectivity
• Deep understanding about cloud technologies

Now that you know how to get started in Coleman’s Cybersecurity program, learn more about us on our program page and apply now!

Sources:
https://www.identityforce.com/blog/2016-data-breaches
https://www.ic3.gov/media/2016/160915.aspx
http://stats.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
http://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/cyberattacks-cost-companies-400-billion-each-year.html

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The Best of Coleman’s Cybersecurity Program

If you are considering a career in cybersecurity, Coleman University has the perfect program for you. At Coleman University, we offer a Cybersecurity program that prepares you for the industry and the challenges of today. In this program, you will learn how to protect against web threats, create secure networks and even how to hack, so you can have a better understanding of how the hackers think and act.

Companies’ awareness of how crucial it is to protect their information and their clients’ are increasing every year. When data branches happen, it is easy to have important information exposed, such as social security numbers, credit card information, bank account information, etc. And, they want to avoid that at all costs. It is bad for their business and their image. That’s why cybersecurity is booming, and will be reaching even greater heights in the future, creating thousands of job positions and opportunities for professionals.

As government agencies and private companies make cybersecurity a priority, opportunities in the industry are increasing. At Coleman University, the Cybersecurity program coursework is focused on computer networking concepts, server interfaces, network security, and more. Coleman graduates enter the workforce with the right skills to help make the Internet a safer place.

If you want to learn more about what makes this program the best one for your future career, below is a list of five reasons why Coleman University is the best place for you to get your Cybersecurity degree:

1. You will have access to the most up-to-date information.

It is critical that cybersecurity professionals are up-to-date with all the technology, especially, today, with all the changes that are happening at such a fast pace. At Coleman University, we have the latest software and hardware packages, keeping students in tune with the latest trends and new developments.

At Coleman University, we offer a curriculum that covers everything students will need to enter the workforce well-prepared.

2. You will be given foundational knowledge about cybersecurity.

It is our goal that all students learn various processes and technologies that are necessary to succeed in a career in cybersecurity. Students will start with four preparatory classes that will introduce them to the core tenets of cybersecurity.

The four introductory classes are:

NET 110 A+ Repairing and Maintaining PCs
This course is designed to give the student a solid theory basis for PC hardware. The course covers system types, system assembly, PC components, and diagnostic tools. Emphasis is placed on understanding the PC components, how they function, and troubleshooting skills. Additional topics include PC installation, configuration, upgrading, troubleshooting, diagnosing, safety, preventative maintenance, operating systems diagnostics, and operating system upgrades.

NET 250 Networking Concepts
This course covers the basic concepts of local area networks (LANs) and their technologies. This course uses a technical approach to LANs, including an overview of networking protocols, topographies, media, and networking devices using the Open System Interconnection (OSI) reference model. This course shows how data flows from the home, small office/home office (SOHO), and enterprise networks.

NET 210 Wireless Technologies
This course is a concept and theory class on today’s wireless technologies in use. Topics covered are wireless LANs, satellite communications, cellular technology, Bluetooth, global positioning systems, as well as general wireless digital technologies. Students go through the various aspects of each interface, including coding, hardware, and possible exploitable points.

COM 259 Linux Fundamentals
History, concepts, and facilities of the LINUX operating system will be discussed. The course introduces the user interface, common commands, and basic system administration of a LINUX operating system. Students learn how to write and execute LINUX shell scripts used for the controlled execution of a series of basic LINUX commands. The basics of script writing (creation, writing in the shell programming language, debugging, and execution) will be covered, along with an overview of built-in shell commands available to the user. Advanced topics include use of user/shell/environmental variables, script commands for decision-making, looping and flow control, and creation of shell aliases and functions.

Once the foundational classes are completed, students will be subjected to more specialized coursework, ranging from Advanced TCP/IP integration to Virtualization. Coleman University also requires students to take SEC 210 Ethics, Policies, and Procedures, since the cybersecurity industry is related to law enforcement. This course will introduce students to the importance of developing an information security documentation program and how to develop and implement effective policies and procedures. The course focuses on technology writing, legal and ethical issues, fair use policies, information protection, policy development, standards, information classification, and security checklists.

The goal of the Cybersecurity program is to produce skilled graduates, able to integrate into a variety of positions in the cybersecurity industry.

3. You will learn multiple skills.

At Coleman University, students learn how to be prepared to work in an industry that is dynamic and has multiple facets. For that to happen, they must learn a variety of skills and cover different subjects and technologies, such as multiple operating systems and cloud technologies.

As part of Coleman University’s program you will have:

    • An in-depth understanding of operating systems, networks, virtualization software. Since cyber-attacks happen across different operating systems (OS, Windows, LINUX, etc.), you must possess a thorough knowledge of how these operating systems work. Though used to accomplish the same general tasks, operating system coding can be very dissimilar. As a result, a cybersecurity expert must know how each system works, including the weak, exploitable points that hackers may target.

    • Proficiency with LINUX coding language. Since in-house security software development is an important part of an organization’s security policy, one must possess the skills and knowledge to safeguard valuable information through effective coding. Oftentimes, data breaches are the result of small vulnerabilities overlooked by programmers who lack the understanding of data security measures. Though the average college computer science program may touch upon it briefly, many programmers lack the skills to properly address coding flaws that safeguard against attacks. That is where the Cybersecurity program from Coleman University comes into play.

    • Advanced network-to-network connectivity. Through classes like NET 260 Linux Network Administration and NET 225, Introduction to CISCO Networking, students are introduced to network security issues, including authentication, attacks, malicious code, remote access, web and email security, wireless networking, instant messaging, network devices, network security topologies, cryptography, and disaster recovery. These classes include both theory-based and hands-on training to develop a fundamental understanding of how computers communicate.

    • Cloud technologies. Through the use of virtualization, Coleman University utilizes a strategic technology that forms the basis for private and public cloud systems and reduces overall IT cost. Students will learn virtualization architecture, platforms, and technologies that will prepare them for a career in network management.

4. Career Growth.

The cybersecurity industry has many different career fields. And, since every company needs to protect their information and can employ a cybersecurity expert, the possibilities range from careers in law enforcement to Fortune 500 companies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 36% by 2024. And, as we become more and more dependable on technology to deal with all our data, the threats become greater and so does the necessity of an expert to make the web safer.

Coleman University provides all current students and graduates with lifetime job placement assistance through the Career Services department. Also, Career Services representatives are available to assist you, by reviewing and critiquing your resume, performing a mock interview, and other services that will help students and graduates find the right job for them.

5. Small classes and inverted curriculum.

At Coleman University, we offer small classes. This allows us to focus on hands-on education, in which students’ participation is highly encouraged. Also, our inverted curriculum enables students to receive their career training early in their program, making it possible for them to become a qualified IT-professional in a matter of months.

The cybersecurity industry will continue to grow as we rely more on technology to handle personal and confidential data. Considering this, even the smallest possibility for data branches are dangerous and scary, and here is where the cybersecurity expert becomes indispensable.

To build a successful career in cybersecurity it is crucial to have multiple skills and deep knowledge of trends and operating systems. At Coleman University, you can learn everything you need to become a cybersecurity expert and build a successful career in the industry.

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Coleman University Students Build a Hybrid-electric Mini Moke

Side view of Mini MokeSmall, yellow and from the 60’s. A car like this may not seem to catch a lot of attention, but that is not the case with this specific Mini Moke. The car, a project worked on by students from Coleman University, is making an impression.

Electric and hybrid vehicles have been a rising trend for many years. EVs are sustainable, reliable and economical. And, in states like California, they are especially big; since the government incentivizes the purchase of electrical vehicles with discounts, tax breaks and rebates.

Staying in tune with this trend, students from Coleman University built a hybrid-electric, 4WD Mini Moke – the first four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid electric Moke ever made in California – with mentorship from members of the Electric and Networked Vehicle Institute (ENVI), located on Coleman University campus.

Mini Moke on displayThe hybrid-electric Mini Moke was displayed at Electric Vehicle Day on September 17 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. EV Day in San Diego is the premier event for energy conscious vehicle owners and EV enthusiasts. The event was part of the National Drive Electric Week celebration. And, the achievement is being praised not only by the proud participants, but also by the media. The San Diego Business Journal showcased the yellow hybrid-electric Mini Moke in an October 10 special report about sustainability.


“Students from Coleman University built a hybrid-electric, 4WD Mini Moke – the first four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid electric Moke ever made in California – with mentorship from members of the Electric and Networked Vehicle Institute (ENVI).”

The Mini Moke has a long history. At first, British Motors Corporation (BMC) released the original Mini Moke for military purposes, in the late 1950’s. The gasoline-powered off-road vehicle was designed to be light and small, so it could be dropped by parachutes at war zones. The car wasn’t well received by the British Army; its small wheels were not a good fit for its off-road goal. Afterwards, BMC tried to release it as a low-cost option of a small car for civilians, however it was also unsuccessful. Even though the Mini Moke had an unfortunate beginning, the car eventually achieved success, being now used on beach areas and resorts around the world. But the car stopped being produced in 1993.

The students started the Mini Moke project after a client, an Encinitas resident, provided them with it and asked them to build an electric vehicle that could drive 20 miles round trip. The client’s main purpose was to be able to take his daughter to school and back every day.

They accepted the challenge and worked with ENVI mentors to adapt the gasoline-powered vehicle to an electric system. They installed new batteries, an electric motor and other necessary electronics in order to make the car function properly. And they found a smart way to make everything fit, even with the small space they had available. The new batteries are located under the running boards and the electric motor is under the seats.
Mini Moke in the shop

Front dashboard of Mini Moke


“The students started the Mini Moke project after a client, an Encintas resident, asked them to build an electric vehicle that could drive 20 miles round trip.”

According to Dr. James Burns, ENVI founder and Executive Vice-President at TransPower, a market leader in adapting battery-electric technologies to Class-8 trucks and busses, this project is important because it shows the strength of the student/mentor dynamic and also, it has a sense of community. “This collaboration focuses on the Moke because it is a community-sponsored team approach to designing and building complex products. It promotes electric vehicle learning and interest in the community, it has a public demonstration as a goal, and it results in the first of its kind 4WD plug-in hybrid with between 15 and 25 miles of range in EV mode,” says Dr. Burns.


“This collaboration focuses on the Moke because it is a community-sponsored team approach to designing and building complex products. It promotes electric vehicle learning and interest in the community.” – Dr. James Burns, ENVI founder.

The uniqueness of the 4WD plug-in hybrid Mini Moke and its colorful bodywork helped to make the car a success. And it proves that even the most unexpected gasoline-powered vehicle can be adapted to an electrical system.

ENVI is a volunteer-led organization located on the Coleman University campus. It is a place where engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other technology focused areas students get together to do experiential complex projects and practice what they are learning. ENVI meetings take place on Saturday and some weeknights. But repowering vehicles is not the only project the ENVI students have. They are currently working with flying drones, autonomous underwater vehicles and ground vehicles development. Their projects go where their curiosity and imagination takes them. Making ENVI a place to learn and experiment.


“ENVI students are currently working with flying drones, autonomous underwater vehicles and ground vehicles development. Their projects go where their curiosity and imagination takes them.”

This hands-on approach translates to an impressive resume for the students. It is a practical way to show potential employees the work they have done and how they have mastered new trends while tackling innovative projects. This kind of experience can increase the chance of employment at big companies. At ENVI, teams are always working on new, short-term projects, usually 6-12 weeks in duration.

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Wesley Hartman, Graphic Design Student, Takes 2nd Place in Photography Contest

Wesley Hartman, a student in Coleman University’s graphic design program recently did 2 things he had never done before. He entered a photo in St. Mark’s 13th Annual Digital Art Show and Photo Competition and won the 2nd place prize, a certificate and check for $125. Encouraged by graphic design instructors Randall Cornish and Doug Mooney, Hartman spent considerable time scouting out locations, finally settling on the shoreline in La Jolla, California. Hartman captured the shot by manipulating the setting for a long exposure, resulting in a peaceful, dream-like photo that he titled “Tranquility.”

“I have always loved photography,” said Hartman. “As a self-taught photographer, Mr. Mooney, who teaches photography, helped me further develop my skills.” The winning photo and 2 additional photos from a series, is on display for sale at St. Marks United Methodist Church, 3502 Clairemont Drive, San Diego.

Hartman spent 6 years in the United States Marines Corps as an MOS 3052, Packaging Specialist. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton and in Okinawa, Japan. For 2 years, he was a member of the All-Marine Wrestling Team. After being honorably discharged, Hartman was initially undecided about college, but always had an interest in art and applied for Coleman’s graphic design program.

Upon graduating with an associate degrees in graphic design, Hartman intends to continue schooling.

“Proper education in the field is a must,” said Hartman. “Most designers in the field have a bachelor degree and I plan to use the G.I. Bill to finish my education.”

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