On May 23, 2018 Coleman University had the honor of being invited to speak for Career Day at Wegeforth Elementary in San Diego, California. We sent two of our students, Gilberto and Marilyn, to talk to their students about technology and share with them the steps they can take to become Video Game Designers and Cybersecurity Experts. By sharing their own experiences and dreams for the future, our speakers were able to show students how they could follow their own dreams into a career in technology. Many of the kids had questions about what it means to be safe online, and how to report cyber bullying, as well what it takes to make a video game. This is the third year that we have attended Career Day, and each year participants come back feeling excited to see how much technology can excite the next generation of programmers, developers, designers, and security experts. Thank you to Gilberto and Marilyn for being such great teachers and showing kids how they can turn their Dreams Into Reality!
For a strong password follow these steps to be more secure online..
Every year, the first Thursday of May is acknowledged as World Password Day, which is a day to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining high security standards online. This year the first Thursday is May 3rd. With all of the various social media platforms, mailing lists, and online shopping available, many online users have become accustomed to using the same set of passwords for their accounts. That practice is dangerous, and can lead to even more security issues in the future. For World Password Day we have compiled a list of the top 5 best practices for creating a strong digital password.
This list was compiled by Thom Byrne, who is the Faculty Chair for the Cybersecurity program at Coleman. If you want to learn more about Mr. Byrne and his program, read his Faculty Spotlight Interview.
The Top 5 Ways to Create a Secure Password
1. Secure passwords are NOT short passwords. Be sure to use a sequence that is more complex than a street name, or the name of your pets. We recommend a length of at least 15 characters, if possible.
2. Avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts. Though it is easier to remember a select few passwords, they will also make you an easier target for cybercriminals. In addition, it’s better not to use whole words or phrases that are easily recognizable.
3. Download a password manager (such as LastPass), which will help you keep track of your information, while also generating complex passwords for you to use.
4. Use a site authenticator (Microsoft Authenticator, Google, YubiKey, Authy, etc.) that can be used on sites that support Two Factor Authentication (2FA), which will generate a time based six digit 30 second code to provide 2FA.
5. If you don’t want to use a password manager you can use the following techniques instead:
Make it long, but memorable. You can use a series of punctuation marks instead of random numbers or letters. For example, use “Dog………….37” which will only require you to remember the number of periods instead of a complex sequence.
Create a visual que that you can use to remember the password sequence. This technique takes at least four unrelated words and a separator character of your choosing to create a secure sequence. For example, the password “Mars;Frog;Valley;42” is 19 characters long. So you can visualize a frog on Mars in a valley with 42 on its side, or any other visual using that specific signifier. The separating character in this example is a semi-colon, but you can choose any that you prefer.
It is important to be as proactive as possible online when it comes to protecting your information. For World Password Day take a moment to think about all of the passwords that you are currently using, or need to remember, and determine if they meet the necessary requirements for proper security. If not, use these tips to help you create a more secure password and use them to create better passwords in the future. If you would like to know more about staying safe online, you can read our blog about email phishing here.
A degree in Software Development is a great choice for individuals who love the high tech lifestyle. Several job opportunities exist within this field. The IT world is always evolving and several business fields are saying that there are not enough programmers to fill the software development positions.
What type of jobs can you get with a software development degree? Software development is not limited to just one type of opening. It depends on your interest or your education. Some of the major branches and career paths in software development include: Game Developer, Mobile App Developer, Webmaster, Database Administrator, Software Architect, Software or Systems Developer, Software or Systems Engineer, Cloud Integration Specialist, to name a few. Companies are ready to hire these types of individuals with academic training. Don’t worry about the job title in particular because they all involve the same general process which is to gather feature requirements for the software.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of software developers is projected to grow 24% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average occupations. These statistics are driven by increased consumer and corporate demand for programmers and/or downloadable applications for mobile devices.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that software developers with a focus of systems software earned an average of $107,600 in 2017. The bottom 10% of these developers earned an average of $65,670, while the top 10% earned in excess of $164,150. In addition, software developers in the applications focus earned an average of $101,790 in 2017. The bottom 10% earned $59,870 while the top 10% earned in excess of $160,100.
Coleman University prepares you for this exciting and rewarding technical-focused career, by taking students through an accelerated program lead by instructors who have real-world experience. Our mission is to deliver relevant education while providing an environment where you may develop to your full potential. Our graduates have complete access to career services, regardless of the year they graduated from Coleman, and we offer resources for course refreshers. If you are interested in a career in Software Development, take the first step with Coleman University!
This article was written by Leticia Rabor, the Faculty Chair for the Coleman University Software Development program. You can read other blogs she has written for the Coleman Chronicle here, and her Faculty Spotlight interview here.
So you’ve been thinking about software development? You’ve imagined yourself in front of a computer screen writing the next great mobile application or piece of software, and working as an important member of a powerful team. Well, that scenario is actually pretty accurate, but there is more to being a software developer, or engineer than you might think. Read on to find out more about what it means to be a software developer and how you can put yourself on the path to a rewarding technical career.
A Software Development career requires a broad range of skills. The process can be challenging and those who succeed are willing to do the hard work. In addition to working with clients and other professionals, developers create a set of design patterns or algorithms that form the foundation for usable software. They also recommend upgrades or changes to existing software. They maintain detailed records supporting all work products. Some practitioners work in vibrant groups with other designers and some are freelance developers who work independently to create software for single users or smaller companies.
Software developers are detail-oriented. They are eternal optimists who trust that with effort they can succeed. They are meticulous in crafting, testing and improving the software. This field, according to the Department of Labor’s Professions Outlook is wide open with opportunities to make a good income and opportunities for advancement. This is expected to remain true for years to come.
If this sounds like the type of career that you have been looking for, perhaps it is time to get back into the classroom and make software development your future career. Coleman University’s software development faculty has prepared a focused set of courses that supports gaining the necessary skills for success. A new class starts every 10 weeks and, with five enrollment times per year, and tutoring is offered to students for free. Coleman has a dedicated career services department to help you find that first job and will provide support throughout your career. A career in Software Development provides the basis for pride in craftsmanship and the comfort of working in professional teams.
Thank you to our Software Development Faculty Chair, Leticia Rabor for writing this great article! If you would like to learn more about Leticia check out her interview from last year when she visited the Android Developers Conference in San Francisco. Or check out her Faculty Spotlight interview here!
Coleman University has been a technology-focused institution of higher learning since 1963. Our accelerated Software Development program give students the opportunity to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in as little as three years (depending on course load). If this blog has inspired you to think about your future in Software Development give us a call at (858) 499-0202.
Finals can be a hard time for any student, but for our Capstone class, this week was harder than most. For the past ten weeks, two student teams have been working overtime to complete a game of their own design, but their last big challenge was to show off their hard work to an audience, for a grade! We attended their presentations and we were blown away at what we saw. Both teams put together great concepts that translated into exciting games that we hope to see produced as full games in the future. All members of the audience were given the opportunity to offer their opinions on the presentation anonymously through a worksheet that their instructor, Joe Shoopack, designed to gauge audience perception on playability and overall concept.
Both Team Jekyll and Team Hyde had to present and discuss where their game idea came from, which roles the team members took on, and the challenges that they faced while working together and working on their own. Team Hyde presented their game, Path of the Warded, which is based on a book, which takes place in a fantasy world overrun with demons that are set on destroying everything in sight. The main character has to wait until nightfall in order to protect his farm and the animals that live there. Team Jekyll showed us Malice, a game that was a three-year dream of project manager Marisa Hatcher, which took the main character on a quest to save her sister from kidnappers. The audience followed their presentations as the teams broke down their work flow and the various pieces of the game that each member was responsible for, and how their designs changed over time. Though this class was a great learning experience, it came with its fair share of difficult challenges that, in the end, taught the students what it’s like to work in a real-world game developer environment. This class is also a great example of why it is important, as a Game Developer, to be able to work in various job titles or departments. If you can better understand what it is that your teammates do, and how to help when it is needed, the more versatility you will bring to your job.
Once the presentations were over, the audience was given the chance to ask questions about the game and then was brought to the development lab and took their turns playing the games and seeing first-hand how the games worked. All of the attendees were really excited to see the results of these projects and had a great time hearing directly from the students about their experiences. You can check out the photo album below for more photos of the presentations and behind-the-scenes images of the production process. Congratulations to the Capstone class! We see a very bright and successful future in Game Development for all of you!
For some, the thrill of playing a new videogame is like nothing else. Meeting a character for the first time, watching a new story unfold, wielding a super-cool new weapon, and playing with others online are what make gaming so much fun. What you don’t see is all of the coding, programming, structuring, planning, designing, and all around WORK that went into creating this experience. What may have taken 12-15 hours to finish, in reality took months to create and perfect. In fact, you might be surprised to know that there are thousands of jobs related to Game Development and Design and some don’t require coding experience at all! For the Game Development Capstone students at Coleman University, this truth is one that they are learning first hand, and soon they will have their own game for other gamers to play.
For ten weeks Coleman Game Development Capstone students will be working closely in teams to create, from start to finish, an original videogame of their own design. Beginning with the concept art and overall design, these students will build a game that is the culmination of all that they have learned and a test of their skills in teamwork. As scary as that may sound, the Capstone is an opportunity to take what they’ve learned so far in their program and work as part of a team to experience the iterative process of Game Development that celebrates their creativity and talent. The Capstone class will mimic the pressures and expectations that game development companies put on their employees in the real world. This term we have two teams working on Capstone projects and an exciting rivalry is developing. What do Team Jekyll and Team Hyde have in store for their final project? Keep reading to find out!
TEAM JEKYLL: MALICE
Taking inspiration from the classic game MARIO, players in the world of Malice will have to race against the clock solving puzzles and battling creatures along the way to save someone they love in a 3D world. The story begins with a young boy who is looking for his younger sister who was taken from their home, followed by his trusty dog that has some cool tricks of his own. In a brilliant twist, Team Jekyll has designed the game to allow players to switch between the young boy and his dog to solve puzzles or leap over traps. Various monsters and creatures will try to attack you and stop you from finding your sister, and you’ll have to defeat the boss at the end, so this game is definitely going to be exciting! Though this game is fun to play, it won’t be a walk in the park; there are some scary challenges and surprises hidden in this game.
Project Manager: Marisa Hatcher
Level Design/Puzzle Design: Jake Bommer
Programmer/Puzzle Design: Gary Lawrence
3D Modeler: Curt Ljungquist
TEAM HYDE: PATH OF THE WARDED
Based on the book The Warded Man, this PC game is a post-apocalyptic challenge that tests the ingenuity of the player at every turn. During the day, players must take care of their farm by reinforcing fences, finding defensive weapons, and preparing for sunset. Once the moon comes up, demons and menacing creatures come out of the woods to try to tear your farm to the ground! Attacks come in three waves and players can set traps in order to destroy as many attackers as possible. Each creature or monster that attacks will have a specific elemental characteristic related to water, fire, wind, or earth. The final version of the game will allow players to customize their character and upgrade their farm to further defend against attacks. After a detailed cut scene, players will have the opportunity to explore their surroundings and engage with their farm. Unfortunately the animals at the farm are not part of the game play and can’t help you defeat any of the demons or monsters, but they provide good company.
Project Manager/Level Designer/Branding: Mari Erdman
Level Design: John Becker
3D Modeler: Eduardo Aviles
3D Modeler: Curt Ljungquist
So why are they named Team Jekyll and Team Hyde? When the class began, the 7 students enrolled were expecting to be working on one game, but instead developed into two teams that are working on two different games. As a way to foster healthy competition, and teamwork, the two teams each became Team Jekyll and Team Hyde; two sides of the same… In week ten of their course (March 12-16th) both teams will present a finished product to faculty, staff, and classmates, including offering the opportunity for attendees to play the game as well! If you want to see what these teams are developing, keep your eye on the blog calendar for the announcement of the Capstone presentation. Congratulations to Team Jekyll and Team Hyde! We look forward to seeing the hard work that you are putting into this project and we can’t wait to play it!
If you are interested in where your own passion for Game Development can take you, give us a call today at (858) 499-0202 and schedule a tour! There’s plenty of opportunity in San Diego to start your career, so take the first step and meet the Coleman Game Development community!
In 2017, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that by 2019 a business will become the target of a ransomware attack every 14 seconds. The average budget for cybersecurity measures is expected to exceed $1 Trillion by 2021, and the number of open jobs for cybersecurity experts is fast outgrowing the number of available applicants (CSO Online). It seems that “cybersecurity” is a hot button topic today, but where did this trend start? Where did the first computer virus come from? In late January of 1982, a 15 year-old programmer named Richard Skrenta inadvertently created the first computer virus (outside of a lab) that spread through infected floppy discs “in the wild”. Ironically it was written as a joke!
The first computers, such as the ENIAC, were built at the beginning of the 20th century and were used mostly for computing large sums and for breaking codes during war time. These behemoth machines took up entire floors of buildings and required constant monitoring and maintenance. Over time these computers become smaller, faster, and more efficient, but they were still individual machines that worked towards a specific computing purpose. With the birth of the modern age of computing and the home computer system, programmers could begin experimenting with their own code and testing the limits of these inventions. Using his personal Apple II computer, Richard Skrenta began creating a boot sector virus to infect floppy discs and spread itself to any Apple II computer that booted up using the infected floppy disc by putting the virus into the computer’s memory. His virus would become the first in history to spread “in the wild” and exist outside of a computer laboratory; meaning that any floppy discs that were inserted into an infected computer, were immediately infected and could then pass the virus on to another system. The virus was essentially harmless and was intended to annoy its victims more than attack them. Elk Cloner was designed so that once the Apple II computer had been booted up 50 times after being infected, a poem would display on the screen:
The program with a personality
It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes it’s Cloner!
It will stick to you like glue
It will modify ram too
Send in the Cloner!
Once computer developers began installing hard drives into computers instead of relying on floppy discs for memory, this type of virus was no longer effective. Today the threat of digital security is greater than an infected floppy disc that only affects the device you have in your home, and it can be much more detrimental to your system than an unwanted poem on your screen. In a report by ISACA it was projected that over the next 2-4 years there will be an estimated skills gap of almost 2 million in the field of Cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity industry is seeing a sharp spike in hacking attempts and recent scandals, such as the Equifax data breach in 2017, have shown that the cybersecurity needs of major corporations are not being met. Imagine what opportunities are waiting for you with a degree in Cybersecurity! On average, a Cybersecurity professional will have a yearly salary of $116,000, almost double the national median income reported for 2016! If you have a passion for online safety and love a challenge, think of a degree in Cybersecurity as a part of your future and call us at (858) 499-0202!
We are less than two weeks from Global Game Jam 2018 and this year is gearing up to be one for the record books! For this month’s Faculty Spotlight we interviewed one of our Game Development instructors, Joe Shoopack, in honor of the upcoming Global Game Jam. Joe has a lot of passion for gaming and enjoys teaching the next generation of great game developers! Thank you to Joe Shoopack for giving us an awesome interview!!
If you’re interested in the Global Game Jam there’s still time to register!
Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the only Game Jam in San Diego for 2018!
Joe, what was the first video game that you bought; why did you choose that one?
The first game bought for me was PONG for the home television system in 1975. The first console game I bought for myself was the Sega Genesis Mickey’s Castle of Illusion in 1990. It was a really creative platform featuring a level that flipped upside down and had some very cool looks to the levels.
Name some of your top five favorite game releases in the past ten years. What makes a game noteworthy for you?
I would have to say, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinity, and Cuphead are three standouts I’ve really enjoyed playing since they were released. I like to feel completely immersed in a world, and all three of those games accomplish that in different ways.
Are there any upcoming game releases that you are looking forward to?
I’m waiting for the release of The Last of Us II.
What retro game would you like to see brought back for a modern console?
Rather than seeing an old game brought back, I’m more excited to see the emergence of interest in creating 2D sprite and tile mapped games. It’s been referred to as the Hi-Bit Era: 16-bit style games utilizing the wide screen and higher resolution, like Owlboy from D-Pad Studio.
What drew you to making Game Development and Design your career?
I loved art and arcade games, and when I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1985 with a degree in Illustration, game careers for artists were just starting to become a viable possibility, so I naturally gravitated to doing art for games.
Can you share some of your experience in becoming a game developer and what you are currently doing in the field?
I first started working on Atari 7800 and Sega Genesis Games at Blue Sky Software in San Diego. These were small development teams, so you had the opportunity to do both art and level design as an artist. I worked there for about 5 years and contributed to Jurassic Park, World Series Baseball, a Ren and Stimpy game, The Little Mermaid and a bunch of others. After that I started working at Sony and worked on Gameday ’99 (a football game for the PC). I then moved over to a spin off company of Sony, called Sony Online Entertainment. At Sony Online I worked on some very fun Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games like Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest 2. I then became a Development Director for Art and started working in a broader capacity with all the games and artists at the company on games like DC Universe Online, Planetside 2, H1Z1, etc. I left in 2016 to work on an independent project and to start an adjunct teaching career.
What brought you to Coleman University to teach?
I started a professional mentor program when I worked at Sony Online that partnered with a local college where I visited classes and advised on student projects and portfolio development. I really enjoy interacting with students and helping them get started in the game industry, so I started teaching as an adjunct professor.
Any advice for potential and current students looking to make Game Development a lifelong career?
My biggest piece of advice is: be willing to work on anything and be one of the people that volunteer to do whatever it takes to get a game done, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.
What’s the gaming industry in San Diego like? Is it a growing industry?
It’s pretty stable; although some larger companies have come and gone over the last 20 years. Amazon just opened a San Diego Studio this past year and I’m sure they’ll be growing. Also there are a lot more small independent developers now, which means there will be more pathways to enter the field of Game Development.
Are you involved in the Global Game Jam? Or planning to attend or create a team?
I will be attending Global Game Jam, most likely as a resource visiting and helping out different teams.
Why are events like Global Game Jam important for Game Development students?
It gives you an opportunity to meet some really creative peers and mentors and it’s an excellent opportunity to test your creative and development skills against a tight deadline while having lots of fun!
What are some hobbies, outside of gaming, that you enjoy in your spare time?
Whenever I go on a road trip I take photos of old “roadside America” attractions that have been abandoned or are off the beaten path. I especially like finding dinosaur and prehistoric animal sculptures. (See attached.)
If you are interested in learning more about our Game Development program and the opportunities available for you here in San Diego, give us a call today at (858) 499-0202 and schedule a free tour!
On December 4, Coleman University faculty member Joe Shoopack took his DSN343 (Game Story and Character Design) class, along with other interested Coleman Game Development students, to visit Daybreak Game Company in Rancho Bernardo. Through his connections to the company, he arranged for a panel discussion and presentation about game design and story narrative creation between his students and Daybreak developers. Daybreak was founded in 2015, and since then they have been making their mark on the gaming industry. Published games from Daybreak include EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, PlanetSide® 2, and DC Universe Online™. Team members and representatives from Daybreak have come to our campus in the past to speak with students and present workshops on what it takes to be a successful game developer.
Luke Sigmund, EverQuest Franchise Creative Director for Daybreak Games, hosted the event for Coleman students, and was one of the panelists along with four other senior members of the game story team. The presentation covered creating compelling narrative and character design, the relationship of game play and story narrative, the process of creating/designing story worlds for open world games, creating emotion with character interaction, and other related topics. In addition the Daybreak team held discussions with our students about how to find a job as a game designer and best practices for preparing for a career in the game development field. The panel-style presentation stimulated interesting discussion and was a valuable opportunity for students to meet and interact with professional game developers. Our students benefit enormously from the connections that our faculty have with the local game development community. This event highlights the great dedication our faculty has to helping our students learn not just in the classroom, but from professionals in their field who can offer their experiences as learning tools.
If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to earn a degree in Game Development and benefit from more opportunities like this, give us a call today at (858) 499-0202! Classes start January 8, 2018 so there’s still time to register for the new year!
We’ve already talked about the Global Game Jam on this blog; and the fact that this opportunity to compete in a global challenge with other gamers is one that can’t be missed. So now that we’ve peaked your interest, this blog will tell you what you should know about the #GGJ2018 and what to prepare for once you’ve signed up.
To start with, we want to tell you what your ticket purchase includes. The hosts of the Global Game Jam event at Coleman, the IGDA, have dedicated the funds from the event to providing food for the participants as well as other resources to help make this event as awesome as possible for all who attend! Starting Friday evening on January 26, 2018 participants will start arriving at the Coleman campus to set up their equipment and find spots to get settled in. You can bring in your own computers, laptops, and monitors to use for the weekend as well as any other special resources that you need to effectively code or design. Since the participants will be here from Friday night to Sunday afternoon Coleman University has not only provided campus space for this event, we will be making sure that there is a computer for everyone who registers. The point of this event is to mimic the conditions and stresses of game design and development so make sure that you come prepared to work hard, but we want you to be comfortable while doing it! So if you prefer to code in your bunny slippers, make sure to bring them along too.
What if you don’t have any team members lined up when you register? Well that is certainly no problem. Once the theme for the challenge is announced on Friday night, participants will then have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with others, and teams will form based on which projects participants want to join. The proposed projects will not all be videogame based because board games, card games, and any other styles of game are all welcome submissions. Since the submissions don’t have to be a videogame, participants who do not have coding experience are not excluded from being a part of this event. A passion for gaming and creating fun projects is the only requirement needed! The fun comes from the thrill of joining a team and bringing a great game to life in only three days.
Once teams have finished their projects, they will be submitted to the Global Game Jam site and published. Visitors to the site can still see games from previous years and even play some of them as well! For a game developer or designer, this can be a great addition to any resume and will add invaluable experience to help put you ahead. Being able to perfect your teamwork and problem solving skills while also creating a game from scratch is something that many recruiters look for in a potential hire. Why not put the Global Game Jam onto your resume this year?
If your family or friends are interested in seeing the event and coming by to show support, they are more than welcome! There will be visiting hours for friends and family, however, since time is limited and teams will have to work around the clock, visitors will not be able to stay overnight. We will also have special guests from radio station FM 94.9 on our campus live streaming and getting involved with participants. Hamby from the Casual Gamers podcast will be on our campus broadcasting from his Twitch channel, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on that! Head over to the official Eventbrite page for more information and the link to register as a participant: http://bit.ly/GGJ18Coleman. See you there! #GGJ2018
Turn your passion for gaming, coding, or design into a degree and a lifelong career! With a degree in Game Design from Coleman University, along with all the first-hand professional game development experience of our instructors, our graduates have the knowledge and the connections to build a solid career in game development and design. Call us today to schedule a tour and learn more about our programs at (858) 499-0202! Turn your “Dreams into Reality” now, classes start January 8, 2018!