How to Learn Unity
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With over 1.5 million active creators, Unity is one of the most popular game development platforms. Notable Unity games released recently include Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, Pokémon Unite, and Secret Agent HD.
According to Unity CEO John Riccitiello, more than half of all mobile games and 60-70% of virtual or augmented reality games are built on Unity. As a result, knowing how to use Unity is an in-demand skill for game designers.
In this guide, you'll discover different ways to learn Unity, with a focus on coding bootcamps and online Unity courses. You can compare the pros and cons of attending a coding bootcamp vs. online courses. You can also learn about the most common Unity jobs.
Coding bootcamps are intensive learning experiences that provide learners with foundational tech knowledge and skills over the course of a few months. You can attend coding bootcamps for web development, data science, cybersecurity, and more. Although it is difficult to find a Unity-specific bootcamp, several game design bootcamps include Unity in the curriculum.
Students can take coding bootcamps online or in person and enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. Attending a part-time coding bootcamp may enable you to continue working while learning game design and Unity. Most bootcamps require you to attend classes at a set time, even if you attend online. However, a few providers feature self-paced bootcamps.
The average cost of a coding bootcamp was $13,579 in 2020, which is less than the average cost of a four-year bachelor's degree but much more than typical online Unity courses.
There are many Unity courses online, including some free courses. Premium courses range in price from $10-$200 or more, but online courses are typically much cheaper than a full coding bootcamp. Online courses may be a good alternative for students who don't want to pay for a coding bootcamp.
The time commitment required for an online course varies. Most course descriptions provide an estimate of how much time it will take to complete the course. Online courses can take a few hours to a few months. Most online courses contain video lessons, but some feature text-based lessons only.
Here are five online courses that teach Unity.
Microgames: Learn the Basics of Unity: This free, beginner-level Unity course takes about 20 hours. Students receive step-by-step instructions to build their first microgames in Unity. This is one of over 35 free courses offered on Unity's website.
Complete C# Unity Game Developer 2D: This is one of the many Unity courses on Udemy, which typically range in price from roughly $20-$130. In this course, which contains 18 hours of on-demand video, students learn C# and Unity as they build foundational knowledge in game design. This course is normally listed as $129.99, but Udemy often runs sales, so students may be able to get it at a discount.
Introduction to C# Programming and Unity: This is one of over 350 Unity courses, projects, and specializations available on Coursera. Offered by the University of Colorado, students cover data types, variables, and constants; classes and objects; and 2D basics. It takes about 19 hours to complete the course. Students can start for free but must pay a $49 fee to receive a certificate of completion.
Introduction to Video Game Development With Unity: This free, self-paced edX course takes about six weeks to complete at a rate of about 3-4 hours per week. For $50, students can upgrade to the verified track, which includes a certificate. The course is designed for people who have basic programming skills.
Unity 2018 Fundamentals: This Pluralsight course teaches the fundamental tools and workflows used in Unity. Students use ProBuilder to create their own level for a game, learn how to export art assets, and configure animated characters. Pluralsight offers a free 10-day trial, after which it costs $45 per month for access. The course takes about five hours to complete.
Online Courses vs. Bootcamps
|Pros of Online Courses||Cons of Online Courses||Pros of Coding Bootcamps||Cons of Coding Bootcamps|
|Many large universities offer inexpensive or free online courses through MOOC providers, such as Coursera and Udemy.||Due to the less-structured environment, it may be easier to procrastinate when taking online courses. You may start a course and struggle to complete it without an instructor to help you.||There is always an instructor to ask if you need help. Many programs also offer mentors.||Coding bootcamps usually cost significantly more than online courses.|
|Providers, such as Coursera and Udemy.||Taking online courses. You may start a course and struggle to complete it without an instructor to help you.|
|You can take most online courses at your own pace.||You have to work through the material independently, and there are usually no group or team projects.||The cost of a coding bootcamp is often less than the cost of a college education.||You are often required to log in at specific times for classes and lectures.|
|Online courses are usually much cheaper than other forms of learning. Many are even free.||The course instructor may not check back often to answer questions.||After a few months of intensive study, you may be ready to start a new career in game design.||Full-time bootcamps require a huge time commitment, and you will not be able to work a job while attending.|
Coding Bootcamps to Learn Unity
Deep Dive Coding
- Location: Remote
- Program Cost: $2,995
- Learning Formats: Online
- Time Commitment: Full Time
Deep Dive Coding offers an intro to game design and development bootcamp that starts with game design prototyping and ends with students creating playable digital games using Unity. Students learn about game psychology, game design, game development, and game mechanics using Unity assets. Participants must provide their own laptops that meet the minimum technical requirements.
Veteran students are eligible for GI Bill® benefits for almost all of Deep Dive Coding's bootcamps. The company offers many other payment plans and financial assistance, as well. Deep Dive Coding provides career coaching to all coding bootcamp students. Graduates have gone on to find employment at over 300 companies worldwide.
- Locations: Remote, New Haven, Tulsa
- Program Cost: Up to $85,000
- Learning Formats: In Person, Online
- Time Commitment: Full Time
Holberton School offers a bootcamp called foundations of computer science and augmented reality and virtual reality, which teaches C# and Unity 3D. Students also learn about data structures and algorithms and use tools such as ARKit, ARCore, and ShaderGraph.
Holberton School is different from other bootcamps because there are no teachers. Students mentor one another and learn from one another. They also offer students an income share agreement option, in which students start paying back tuition once they start earning a salary of at least $40,000 a year. Holberton School has campuses all over the world.
The Tech Academy
- Locations: Remote, Portland
- Program Cost: $11,660
- Learning Formats: Online
- Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time
The Tech Academy offers a game developer bootcamp that lasts 22 weeks for full-time students or 40 weeks for part-time learners. Students learn the two most popular game engines, Unity and Unreal Engine. The curriculum also covers C# and C++ — the programming languages behind Unity and Unreal Engine.
According to data from the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, 61.0% of graduates from its online bootcamps from July to December 2020 were employed within 180 days of completing the bootcamp, and these professionals reported a median salary of $60,000.
Video Game Programmer
Video game programmers create the code that runs video games. They create complex algorithms that determine how games run. Job responsibilities include recommending features, modifying code, and testing code. These professionals troubleshoot problems, such as graphics glitches and excess memory use.
Average Annual Salary (April 2022): $63,640
Video Game Designer
Video game designers produce code that creates video games. They come up with a storyline and concept and map it out for the game design team. Video game designers often work with flowcharts and storyboards. They create the video game environment and game rules and help test the game.
Average Annual Salary (April 2022): $67,050
A game developer works with the video game designer's concepts and storylines and builds on them to create a playable game. Video game developers write code for various types of games, such as PC games, mobile games, and console games.
Average Annual Salary (April 2022): $83,880
What Are the Benefits of a Unity Certification?
Unity offers a variety of certifications over four experience levels: user, associate, professional, and expert. There are certifications for programmers, artists, game developers, and VR developers. Having a certification shows that you have achieved a certain level of skill in using Unity. It can be beneficial to list a certification on your resume, as it can help you stand out in a pool of applicants.
Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Unity
Is Unity easy to learn?
If you already know how to program, learning Unity should not be too difficult. However, learning Unity may be much more complicated if you are new to programming. Keep in mind that you need to be able to code in C# to use Unity effectively. So, if you have no previous programming experience, you'll first have to learn how to think like a programmer.
If you are already familiar with the logic of programming, learning a new language is not as difficult. You can learn the basics of C# while you learn Unity.
Where can I learn Unity for free?
Unity lists several free courses on its website. That's a great place to start learning Unity for free. There are over 30 courses, including building your mobile game into a business, real-time animated storytime, introduction to 3D animation systems, and beginner scripting. Beginner scripting covers the basics of C#.
After you've exhausted the free resources available on Unity's website, you can check out some of the Unity courses on Coursera or edX. You can audit many of these courses for free, although you'll need to pay a fee (typically less than $100) if you want a certificate of completion.
What is the best way to learn Unity?
The best way to learn depends on your personality and level of self-discipline. If you are a strong, independent learner, you should start with whatever free courses you can find -- either on the Unity website, through a MOOC provider, or elsewhere on the web. You can also try searching YouTube for tutorials.
If you need more guidance and structure, a coding bootcamp may be a good option. Most bootcamps have experienced instructors who can answer your questions when you get stuck.
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