Digital Game and Simulation Programmer

Recognized Skill Standards
May 5, 2015


These skill standards were developed as part of a skill standards-based curriculum development project, in which community and technical colleges complete specific deliverables to earn $20,000 from federal Perkins state leadership funds provided by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  The type 2 project deliverables include developing and achieving recognition of skill standards and meeting the requirements for program recognition. The fiscal year 2015 Perkins project recipient, Houston Community College, facilitated the skill standards development process.


With the participation of a panel of subject matter experts, a job analysis for the digital game and simulation programmer occupation was conducted, using a DACUM process to generate the work- and worker-oriented information.  This approach adhered to the criteria for an acceptable job analysis methodology, as indicated in the Guidelines for the Development, Recognition, and Usage of Skill Standards.  Houston Community College’s job analyst then validated the work-oriented information with a representative sample of subject matter experts from across the industry in Texas, and synthesized and organized the job analysis data into the Texas skill standards format.  The digital game and simulation programmer industry technical advisory committee endorsed the final product, which was presented for recognition on behalf of the committee by its chair.

The Digital Game and Simulation Programmer skill standards contain five critical work functions.  Those functions include: develop computer games or simulations; develop human/computer interactions for games or simulations; implement network connectivity for games or simulations; verify system quality for games or simulations; and develop documentation for games or simulations.

Importance to Texas

The occupational area of digital game and simulation programmer encompasses several job titles including gameplay programmer, sequencing programmer, graphics engine programmer, sound programmer, artificial intelligence programmer, game tools programmer, and porting programmer, among others.

As an emerging occupation, digital game and simulation programmer is not yet classified separately under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, according to the Entertainment Software Association, the video gaming industry added $764.9 million to the Texas economy and grew by a real annual rate of approximately 16 percent from 2009 to 2012, more than five times the growth of the state’s overall economy. Texas ranked second in video game personnel in 2012, with close to 18,000 direct and indirect employees, and average compensation of $101,349—higher than the national average.


On May 5, 2015, the Digital Game and Simulation Programmer skill standards were recognized in accordance with the Guidelines for the Development, Recognition and Usage of Skill Standards.