Higher education is not in a great place in South Africa at the moment.
While there are thousands of people who want to pursue a career in gaming-focused fields in South Africa, finding the right course or degree can be daunting.
We sat down with Wits lecturer Stephen Cloete and discussed the best route to take:
Wits University is currently the only University in the country that offers degrees focused on gaming.
“We’ve seen a downtrend due to the recent protests, but it’s still very clear that this is something that people are interested in.”
To give you an idea of the numbers Cloete is talking about, in 2014 they had 450 applications for the arts degree and 900 for the engineering.
Wits can only accommodate thirty places, fifteen from each discipline.
Cloete believes this number will only grow in the future.
“Gaming is a very current thing,” she said. “Like music and movies, this generation expresses itself through game design”.
The demand is not purely academic either.
“Going 10 or so years back, there were only 4-5 indie game developers in the whole of South Africa and the majority of them were based either in Johannesburg or Cape Town.”
Today, that numbers increased to between 40 and 50 studios spread out across the country and there is a greater international demand for higher accreditation.
Why choose a degree at Wits though, specifically over a more specialised institution?
“It’s the only place in South Africa that actually offers a degree in a gaming field,” said Cloete. “UCT offers a course in game design, but the degree is non-specific.”
“Likewise colleges are also an option to look at but none of them have the weight of a degree behind them.”
And it’s not all just design and coding that are on offer.
“Game theory is a hugely expanding field and we have many ties in many other faculties including Archeology, Humanities and Psychology.”
“We look at the gamification of every day life and how games impact us.”
“This really is the best place to study if you’re at all interested in gaming in South Africa.”