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Home » Empowering Women in Gaming » How The University of Silicon Valley Sets Up Gaming Students for Success

Nestled in the heart of the world’s tech capital, the University of Silicon Valley (USV) offers a world-class game design program, which helps students get and thrive in jobs in the gaming industry or anywhere in tech.

“Even though we focus on games, this skill set really applies to all kinds of modern-day jobs,” said Ricardo Kayanan, the director of USV’s Game Design and Development department. “Software engineering, UI/UX, there are a lot of things that game design teaches us.”

All professors in the department are former or current industry professionals, and they provide insights into the dynamic world of gaming that can only come from industry veterans. They also help students find great career opportunities before and after graduation.

“In the last 60 days, the gaming industry has exploded with billions of dollars being invested by a who’s who of technology giants,” said Kayanan, a former 3D character artist for gaming giants Activision/Blizzard and THQ. “So whenever we can, we try to use our long-standing industry connections to help our students.”

Because USV takes a project-based approach to education, students get to hone their skills and solve real problems while in the classroom. Kayanan says this is critical for succeeding in any industry, but especially game design.

“As a game designer, your job is to basically be a creative problem solver,” he said. “Because the tools change, everything’s always constantly growing, we’re really about having students be critical thinkers and be able to foresee the needs of the industry.”

Are you game?

USV doesn’t just provide opportunities to further your education and make career connections. Its esports teams give students an opportunity to compete in multiple games (including Overwatch, Valorant, and League of Legends) at the college level under a professional esports coach.

As coach Alex Holler sees it, because USV is so focused on educating future gaming industry professionals, the esports team receives the same kind of attention a football or basketball team might get at other institutions.

“We’re all nerds here, if you will,” Holler said. “Everybody sort of follows the esports program in a way that other institutions definitely don’t.”

Making the transition from playing video games to designing them is a challenging one, but Kayanan says it’s worthwhile.

“It kind of opens your eyes to what’s out there,” he said. “It’s a creative job that mixes in a lot of technical elements. There’s definitely a lot of room for growth within the industry.

See how USV can launch your career in gaming by visiting

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