A Deeper Look at iD Tech’s Intensive, Pre-Collegiate Academy Experiences

iD Tech in action

What are summers for? Fun? Yes. Relaxation? Oh yes.

How about learning? If you would have asked 10-year-old me, I probably would have needed some convincing. But 17-year-old me? That would have been a little easier of a sell. Any parent with a competitive teen or one with an interest or hobby understands what I’m talking about.

Meaning, while any student - no matter their age - will gladly welcome summer fun, it’s the teenage years where mindsets start to shift a bit. It could be because college isn’t too far in the distance or perhaps they’ve started to really understand the power of an entrepreneurial spirit. Whatever the reason, many teens find themselves itching for additional skill-building experiences during the summer—in addition to the fun.

Not to mention that the whole definition of “fun” matures as teens do—broadening to incorporate activities like skill-building so they can become better, faster, smarter, or stronger in a particular area.

So, then, imagine this—what if there was a way your teen could take two weeks this summer to dive into coding, engineering, or game development? And better yet, what if those two weeks played out on a prestigious campus like Stanford in the Bay Area's iconic Silicon Valley or NYU, among peers with similar interests? And best of all, what if that two-week experience led them into their future career?

Sound like it could fit their evolved idea of fun?

Welcome to Two Weeks of Awesome

iD Coding & AI Academy and iD Game Design & Development Academy give aspiring coders, engineers, and game developers the hands-on experience they need to excel in college, internships, and dream careers.

Sure, the programs take place in summer, but they feel less like camp and more like being embedded in a hot tech startup, with students collaborating  on projects and building skills together on prestigious campuses, while surrounded by elite instructors. The environment puts students on the fast track to securing internships or jobs in some of the economy’s most lucrative industries.

(Side note: this post is long and detailed! You can obtain a digestible info sheet by going here and then clicking the button “Get Insider Info.”)

While it might come off a little school-ish on the surface, the experience is far from it.

VR Student Playing

A Sample Day

For a typical day, Academy students receive 5-6 hours of instruction. And no, it’s not hours of lecturing—during this time, students listen and learn from passionate, tech-savvy instructors, and also get hands-on with their projects and collaborate with peers to master new skills. Some days, the “instruction” might come from guest industry speakers or in the form of a local studio tour.

After and during class, teen students can use their breaks (a few hours total) to explore their respective campuses to get a taste of collegiate life and also bond with classmates.

The day winds down with relaxing evening activities, like game tournaments or board games—and if they prefer, students can continue to work on their projects.

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While a goal of the iD Tech Academies is to give students a boost as they pursue their long-term career pathways, the learning experiences were developed to challenge all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.

Thus, throughout their two weeks, every student is given the opportunity to  learn by doing, and even better, by using professional tools. They also get to absorb industry insights through the aforementioned visits, touring companies like Google, Ubisoft, Crystal Dynamics, Microsoft and EA, where they see what it’s like to make games and work at some of the most iconic tech companies in the world. Additional presentations by iD Tech instructors pull back the curtain on their own valuable work experiences.

Tools of the Trade—The Silicon Valley Experience

Getting back to those industry-standard tools, you can’t innovate like a pro unless you’re using top-tier hardware and software. At iD Tech Academies, students use PCs running powerful NVIDIA processors, and design and create with software like Unreal Engine and the 3D modeling workhorse, Autodesk.

A look around a few of the Academy courses where these tools are used is like a birds-eye view of Silicon Valley:

In Cybersecurity Lab: Encryption and Steganography, students develop security skills, using Python to encrypt and decrypt messages and create programs to hide data.

In our virtual reality summer camp, they build virtual worlds by designing levels and environments.

Through it all, students share their new skills - and excitement - with their peers. Just like in Silicon Valley, the exchange of ideas and different disciplines makes for an entirely unique experience.

Studio-Level Skills

As students create their projects, instructors and other students offer feedback, and as projects evolve, so does the level of collaboration. It culminates in students developing the skills they need for a high tech job.

Collin Mackett., a former iD Tech student can attest to that:

“The skills iD Tech taught me helped me get my foot in the door at (Electronic Arts) one of the most renowned gaming studios.”

Collin now works on the EA Sports team, and he attributes much of his initial success to iD Game Design & Development Academy.  Watch his story here:

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A Step Back to Look at The Numbers

You might have one point wondered, “Just how lucrative is a job in coding or video games?”

Well, $104,000 is the average salary across coding and game development positions. And in the U.S., in 2018, video games are a $1.9 billion dollar industry. Not to mention that in the next 20 years, it is estimated that there will be more coding jobs than people to fill them—resulting in a limited talent pool that can only push salaries for these jobs even higher.

And here’s a number that really stands out:

91% of iD Tech’s Academy alumni from 2014 to 2017 went onto major in a STEM field.

Prepping for College

Finally, in addition to the skill and experience building, which on their own will give students a leg up, Academy participants can further set themselves apart by taking advantage of college prep activities in the form of CEUs, iFolio, and college advising sessions.

CEUs (Continuing Education Units)

Available separately for purchase, CEUs certify completion of courses with college-level difficulty and are accepted by some universities and high schools as course credit. (Check with your local institution regarding eligibility.)


iFolio Subscription

Academy students will be provided with access to iFolio, the leading online college portfolio resource, where they can get organized for college application season and build an impressive online presence!

College Advising Sessions

In a 60 minute, one-on-one advising session, teens can discover insights, tips, and tools that give them an edge for college. Our remote iD Tech instructors can provide high school course recommendations, demystify the college application process, and share info about top universities and career paths.

Wrapping Up

Again, students can get more out of iD Coding & Engineering Academy and iD Game Design & Development Academy than what I could ever list in a blog post. There simply is no telling the kind of unique value a teen can receive from attending.

Said simply, it’s not just two weeks of camp. It’s a world-class learning experience, led by a staff that is focused on student success and making sure each and every teen gets the most out of their two weeks of awesome.

Check out reviews about iD Tech or quick the links below to get started.

A photo of Vince

Vince has worked as a camp director for iD Tech. Previously, he spent over 20 years in the video game industry, working for companies like Sony, Microsoft and Disney. Vince has his nerd card fully stamped, with his favorite stamps including: Pokémon, D&D, comic books and of course, video games.