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Girls' video game camp aims to inspire next generation of designers

Girl gamers learn tech skills at summer camp
Girl gamers learn tech skills at summer camp 01:58

The headquarters of Playstation in Santa Clara, California, is transforming into a camp this summer as it opens the doors to girls interested in gaming. 

The camp is part of the San Jose-based program "Girls Make Games," which aims to inspire girls to become the next video game designers, creators and engineers.

"I think the world finally knows that girls make games and they do play games," Laila Shabir, the program's CEO and founder, told KPIX in an interview.

The U.S. video game industry generates more than $30 billion a year, and employs more than 220,000 artists and creators, according to industry group the Entertainment Software Association. A recent ESA report found that 45 percent of U.S. video game players are women, and the typical age of a woman video game player is 36.

The industry is booming, and jobs often deliver a solid paycheck. The average base pay for a game designer in the United States is around $68,000 per year, according to job tracking site Glassdoor. Designers focus on creating a framework for the game's design, helping create the storyline and look, with many jobs listings requiring a background in graphic design and experience using art programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator. 

A game developer's average base pay is around $85,000 per year, the site reports. Developers play a larger technical role, helping to convert designers' visions into a functioning product. Job listings for these positions usually ask candidates to present experience in programming and knowledge of various coding languages, as well as a degree (or experience) in computer science. 

Shabir grew up in the Middle East and knows just how important it is to empower and educate girls in technology. 

She started the program four years ago when she was running her own educational game studio and was having a tough time recruiting women to join her team.

"I'd like to think the GMG gives them a home where they can come and say: This is what I want to be and this is what I want to do," Shabir said. 

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