--Debra Sands Miller
Digital media skills are used in occupations throughout organizations and industry sectors; increasingly, employers are coming to expect these skills from their workforce.
There is also growing opportunity in the video and computer game industry. An estimated 38 percent of all U.S. video and computer game companies are located in California; one-third of those are in the San Francisco Bay Region. Video games are not only the fastest growing entertainment medium, they are also increasingly used in education, business, and government agencies for simulations, professional training, and e-learning. Consequently, computer game design has become a serious academic pursuit.
Santa Rosa Junior College offers classes to help students prepare for jobs that require digital media skills. Thanks to a CTE Regional Community Collaborative grant, Santa Rosa Junior College now offers courses and programs in Audio Production, 3D Modeling and Animation, Digital Filmmaking, and Game Programming, in addition to its existing Interactive Media Design certificate and major.
Quality entry-level jobs exist in the industry, such as designer, artist, animator, programmer, assistant producer, sound effects/dialog editor, post-production editor, and game tester. Many entry-level positions pay well and some do not require a four-year degree. For example, 73 percent of Game Tester positions require less than a bachelor's degree. Game testers can expect to earn about $25,000 per year. In the case of entry-level positions in the industry that require bachelor's and master's degrees, students completing SRJC digital media certificates and majors can complete transfer patterns in preparation for four-year degree programs.
With a Workforce Innovation Partnership grant from the Chancellor's Office, SRJC is now completing the development of a multicollege online digital media career community service for connecting employers and qualified student applicants. This innovative system allows students to profile their educational background and skills with an online, multimedia portfolio. Students can view employer profiles and be matched based on career categories and specific skill sets with jobs, internships, and contract projects posted by employers. Detailed search functions enable students and employers to pinpoint direct matches between skills offered and skills needed. Currently in BETA test version, it is anticipated that the careers web site will go live for digital media students, faculty, and employers in spring 2011.
The SRJC Computer Studies Department is an Authorized Adobe Training Center and has been recognized by Adobe in worldwide rankings for its training and instruction. Students can enroll for classes in Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, InDesign, and Illustrator. Other industry standard courses include Premiere Pro, Fireworks, 3D Studio Max, Pro Tools, and more.