One of the better remembered cartoons in the entire canon of The Far Side by Gary Larson pictures a young nerd fixated on a TV screen as he manipulates a video game controller. The cartoon is captioned “Hopeful parents,” a reference to the eager gamer’s proud mom and pop, who watch approvingly while dreaming (as revealed in a detailed thought bubble) of job listings seeking a highly qualified “Ninentdo expert.”
In the age of game streamers and paid professional e-sports gamers, the humorous far-fetchedness that made everyone giggle back in the day has less impact. Paid video game experts aren’t exactly commonplace in 2017, but they do exist. And there’s another, far more viable path to gainful gaming employment that just got a little easier to find and follow.
Unity Technologies launched its first certification for video game designers and developers last year, and the program has since blossomed. There are now four Unity credentials, and the company has entered into a partnership with certification testing titan Pearson VUE to deliver its certification exams at testing center worldwide. What was the old Nintendo slogan? Ah, yes: Now you’re playing with power.
There’s only one Unity credential on the market at the moment, but three others are planned to be released next year:
Unity Certified Developer — This exam has 100 questions that address 16 topic areas. You’ve got 90 minutes to navigate your way to a 70 percent passing score through a maze of question formats including multiple choice, hot-spot, drag-and-drop, and matching.
Unity Certified Expert – Gameplay Programmer — [Coming January 2018]
Unity Certified Expert – Technical Artist: Rigging & Animation — [Coming February 2018]
Unity Certified Expert – Technical Artist: Shading & Effects — [Coming February 2018]
Unity is an established mover and shaker in the video game realm. As noted in a press release announcing its partnership with Pearson VUE, the company’s three core objectives are to “democratize development, solve hard problems, and enable success. The release also notes Unity’s “millions” of extant developers, as well as describing its market share: “Unity powers more than 50 percent of all new mobile games and two-thirds of all Virtual Reality (and) Augmented Reality experiences.”