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CBS-21 recently visited Harrisburg University of Science and Technology  to learn more about the career prospects for students in the interactive media major at HU.

According to Fortune magazine, Pennsylvania is now one of the top ten states for video game development, and with that distinction comes hundreds of jobs.

Joel D. Smith went to Harrisburg University to see how you can make a career out of killing aliens , diffusing bombs and designing the next 3-D world.

While some video game developers quit school after a few semesters and make millions in the video game world, Harrisburg University’s Charles Palmer has to be the voice of reason. Palmer is the Associate Professor of Multi-media at the school.

“Very quickly they realize, they are not going to be able to create the next great franchise in my freshman year, but what I will be able to do, is pick up an actual role or career I want in the industry,” Palmer says.

This year, students at the school also get to learn from Lisa Brown. She’s a game designer in residence at Harrisburg University.

After a number of years in the business, Brown says, “It is a very cool field, but it’s also very challenging.”

She has worked on major market titles like “Resistance 3” and “Sunset Overdrive.” Brown likes solving problems that arise during the couple years it can take to get a game to market.

“I was responsible for choreographing the combat the player would go through, working with the artists and programmers to build the level, and play testing people,” Brown says.

Technology is continually getting better, which means a full time job is not needed to create a new game. That means, even though the jobs are there, graduates will have some competition when they graduate.

Palmer admits, “It’s an interesting playing field, where we are seeing more and more qualified applicants coming into the video game areas, but that also makes it more competitive.”

Industry experts break down the salaries like this:


  • Business and management: $101,572
  • Audio professionals: $95,682
  • Programmers: $93,251
  • Producers: $82,286
  • Artists and animators: $74,349
  • Game designers: $73,864
  • Quality Assurance: $54,833

Palmer says, “It’s great to be in central PA because we see there’s a huge need for the student population, looking for these new careers and opportunities they want to work for.”

As for the future of this profession, Brown says students should be ready for change. She says, “I think there are always going to be jobs, they just might not be the same as there are now.”

Watch the segment on CBS.