Still think “Super Mario” is magical? Kooky about “Call of Duty?” Freaky over “Fort Nite”?
You’re not alone.
Gaming is wayyyyyyyyyyy beyond a pastime. Lifelong friendships are being made online. Lovers bond over their favorite games. Leagues and teams are forming everywhere for esports professional play.
And now Wilmington University is offering Delaware’s first college-level certificate for serious players who want to to take their talents up a notch.
The new 18-credit, 100%-online certificate was created with Futures First Gaming, a STEM.org accredited Ed, Tech, Media and Esports Entertainment company.
The certificate can stand alone, or its credits can count toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.
It combines six credits of esports-specific coursework, including esports events and production, and esports and data, with nine credits of industry skill-based curriculum designed to provide students with many flexible career opportunities.
“Three billion people worldwide are identifying as gamers,” says Stephen Sye, CEO of Futures First Gaming. “I like to say, ‘Gaming’s the carrot, but the learning is the nugget.’ This is an opportunity for both students and parents to really understand that their children can pursue their passions and still be successful.”
Wilmington University is not the first educational institution to realize the draw of gaming.
Saint Mark’s School used part of its capital campaign fund to build a state-of-the-art Esports Center and Red Clay Consolidated School District already has a partnership with Future First Gaming to turn A.I. duPont’s esports club into an active class pathway with ties to the University of Delaware’s esports program.
In addition to hosting esports competitions and conferences, the Wilm U program broadens gamers’ perspectives of the many possible career options in the world of gaming and esports.
Students who complete the Workforce Development Program with six academic credits will be allowed to apply directly to the new WilmU Esports Certificate program.
That means gamers can save both time and money while also building their experience and professional portfolios as they learn about business, technology, entrepreneurship and digital media in gaming as a profession.
“People too often are driven toward professions that are of no interest to them,” Sye added, “and the opportunities FFG provides aren’t even presented. To have a technology-literate workforce, we have to meet those with technical aptitude where they are, in gaming and esports, and give them a roadmap to a future of possibilities that appeals to them.”
Matthew Wilson, Ed.D., program chair and a director of the College of Education and Liberal said esports is a growing industry the school is proud to be part of.
“WilmU has a new esports lab and its competitive esports teams are participating in events we host with FFG, so we see this as the next logical step,” he said in a press release.
One of the beauties of earning the certificate is that it also connects into WilmU’s Dual-Credit ADVANTAGE, Wilson said.
The curriculum covers everything from information technology to business strategy to market analysis.
“And WilmU has about 15 bachelor degree programs that tie into the gaming field, so it’s a real opportunity to learn the gaming business and explore career paths tied to the industry,” Wilson said.
It’s not just a path into esports and can be applied many ways, said Christian Broderick, WilmU’s head esports coach, who will also teach Intro to Esports Events and Production.
“The certificate’s courses develop various skills that can transfer into other types of career paths,” he said. “You can apply it to a data analyst, network engineer, social media manager, or program coordinator job. Data analysts are always in demand and must be on the cutting edge of how esports is changing.”
This is the first certificate program and should open up great careers in gaming and esports, said Future First’s Sye.
“If you’re interested in gaming and have an interest in marketing, content creation, coding, video editing, graphic design — there are multiple companies across the industry that are going to need those skills,” he said.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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