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Ever dream of making a video game? Well, here’s your chance!

In the Computer Game Development and Animation Program, students learn about the 16 components of computer game development through a team-centered, problem-solving instructional format. Student who make it through the selection process, will be presented with new methods of learning, team work, and problem solving. We enforce a business professional atmosphere in CGDA and our students exemplify that standard every day at Tech High.

As of 2018, there are over 90 companies in the Maryland quad-state area looking for trained young professionals in video games and simulations development. Little known fact, Maryland is home to three of the largest video game companies in the world. These multi-billion dollar companies are right here in our backyard, and they are always looking for talented people to join their team, and we are preparing the next generation by introducing them to the other side of their game controllers and keyboard where the real work happens.

CGDA students are exposed to programs, procedures, languages, and timeline of the industry. Between junior and seniors year, our students get direct hands on to over 20 industry programs and application including, but not limited to Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk Mudbox, Autodesk Sketchbook, Adobe CC 2018 (focus on Animate, Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition, Premiere, After Effects), Unity 3D game engine, Unreal Engine 4, Game Maker, Toon Boom and many more. Our students are busy from the first day in the lab.

Students with final grades of 85% or higher can earn articulated college credits with Hagerstown Community College (HCC). If HCC is not on your list of colleges, there are several other colleges that offer financial awards for CGDA students with excellent grades and digital portfolios. CGDA has also received the Maryland State Department of Education “Outstanding Secondary Career Technology Program (CTE) Award of Excellence”.

A personal note that I am proud to announce. As of the 2018 school year, 94% of all CGDA students went on to advance their knowledge with a college degree. Another 4-5% signed up for military service with plans to complete college later with the Montgomery GI Bill, and there is always that small unknown, but we plan to keep that college percentile growing.

College Futures – Just to name a few of the colleges for CGDA students, local and out of state:

– Full Sail University
– Drexel University
– Shawnee State University
– ITT Tech
– SCAD University
– DeVry University
– Westwood College
– NY Film Academy
– Kent State University
– Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
– Hagerstown Community College
– University of Maryland
– Westwood College
– Salisbury University
– Morgan University
– Towson University
– Frostburg University
– Montgomery College
– Art Institute of Washington and Baltimore

From the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2017): Current average salaries for game and animation careers.
– Entry-level game developer $63k/yr. & over $110k/yr. with 6+ years experience.
– Concept Artist $50k to $107k/yr. ($150k at Microsoft)
– Graphic Designer salary range $49k to $75k/yr.
– Sound Engineer/Technician $46k to $97k/yr.
– 3D animator salary $38k to $77k/yr
– Storyboard Illustrator/Artist avg. salary $57k/yr.

CGDA Career Outlook: Publish date – September 4, 2019

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television.

Consumers will continue to demand more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and three-dimensional movies. They will also demand newer computer hardware, which adds to the complexity of the games themselves. Video game studios will require additional multimedia artists and animators to meet this increased demand.

Further, an increased demand for computer graphics for mobile devices, such as smart phones, will lead to more job opportunities. Multimedia artists will be needed to create animation for games and applications for mobile devices. Data source:

Computers for CGDA

Where computers are concerned for CGDA, there are only two options; a gaming computer, or a workstation computer. I know the students would love for me to tell the parents about the cool new $5,000 computer they would love to get their hands on, but in reality, any mid power computer will do just fine until they get to college, because we (the school) have all the technology they will need for now. I would wait a few months before talking about a computer investment.

So, about the computers. I could go into a lot of nerdy details about each, but I will spare you the doldrums and summarize… A gaming computer will handle most games and pretty much anything you throw at it for daily operation very quickly and efficiently. It’s the sports car of computers. Then there is the workstation computer that we use to create the animations, games and movies that you play and watch on your gaming computer. The workstation computer is the tractor trailer of computers. It is not as fast as the sports car game computer, but its capable of handling vast animation render duties, while still able to play games, watch videos and do all the usually computing tasks. However, since workstation computers are usually very expensive, I have narrowed my search to high quality gaming computer that are up to the task of rendering and 3D game creation, and will last a long time before upgrades are required. Unfortunately, that still puts most computers over the $1K price point. When the time comes for you to make that big purchase, below you will find a few quality computers that will work beautifully for everything we do in CGDA and beyond.

Any of these computers will work nicely for all we do in CGDA:

HP OMEN 25L or higher. This has all the latest technology, powerful CPU, excellent graphic card, and plenty of storage. $799 

Dell XPS Special Edition Desktop. Has all the latest technology like the HP ENVY, with a faster processor and upgraded HDD’s

iBuyPower BB904. This computer is constantly getting excellent reviews and ratings from many of the technology icons in the IT world and I can see why. It has all the latest technology of the HP and Dell, plus a SSD drive, upgraded power supply and the eye candy case. $1,179

We have to list a few entries from Amazon, especially since most people have Prime accounts and do most of their shopping online.

Skytech Shadow Gaming PC

Skytech Archangel Gaming PC

Cyberpower PC Game Xtreme

Asus Gaming Desktop (If your budget will allow, I recommend this computer)

There are several other computers that work well for CGDA if you are not a fan of the brands (or shopping websites) listed:

– Alienware Area 51
– Acer Predator G3-605
– Scan 3XS Vengeance
– Maingear Shift

Apple fans who are concerned that their beloved iMac and Mac Pro are not listed, don’t worry, I didn’t forget you. For Apple fans, its not due to any lack of capability, technology or performance… it’s the price… In order for a iMac to handle proper 3D render duties, you will need the 27″ iMac that comes with the Radeon Pro 5300 or 5500 video card which starts at a hefty $1,799 (that is the cheapest one). Times are tough, and spending close to two thousand dollars on a computer (before taxes and shipping) is a large chunk of money. However, if you are financially comfortable and are willing to spend the extra money, I would definitely recommend a 27″ iMac. It supports all the software we use in CGDA, its plenty fast, and the Radeon Pro series are excellent graphics cards. Mac computers tend to last a very long time.