This field of Computer Science focuses more on learning how to use various software applications rather than the computer systems themselves. Below is a list of various software application fields and work. These careers may or may not require 4-year degrees and professional certifications.
This field focuses on creating digital images on the computer. Painting, drawing, illustrating, photography, and modeling all fall into this field. The main software in this field are the Adobe products, Photoshop and Illustrator.
These fields focus on creating 3D graphics on the computer. These graphics are used for games, simulations, animation, virtual reality, engineering design, construction and building trades, 3D printing and more. 3D graphics fall roughly in 2 categories
- Graphics for computer use: animation, games, simulations, and VR. This software includes Blender Maya.
- Graphics for engineering and design to build physical objects. This software includes AutoCAD, Google Sketchup, and many more.
Animation is another booming industry. The biggest animation industries are movies, television and commercials. Animation can be 2D, 3D or stop motion.
Game Design is a booming field. Game design is not just for designing computer games for people to play. Game engines and design are being used in many different fields that use virtual reality, simulations, immersive experiences.
The film industry is booming in New Mexico and they need technical people, not just actors and directors. Work with film production doing lighting, sound, cameras, and set design. You can also join by learning video editing and animation.
Music production is about using the computer to make music. This includes recording music, creating music, and even DJing. Software often includes ProTools, Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, GarageBand and more.
You will find word processing, slide shows, spreadsheets, and database all over business offices. They may not be as glamorous as other software, but they are the workhorses of software and necessary for businesses. Software includes the Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more.
With the rise in companies moving the data to the computer and a boom in Internet business, managing all of the data for companies is big business. How does Amazon keep track of all of the products they sell? How do companies keep track of their users and data? How does Google keep track of your every move and keystroke? This is all through the management of databases of information and is a booming field.
This field focuses on the creation and maintenance of web sites.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capture, store, and present data and information about the surface of the Earth and things that are on the surface. Think anything to do with satellite data like Google maps, your phone locator and traffic maps.
High School Opportunities for Career Pathways
Graphic Design and Animation
Are you an artist that likes to work with computers? Expand your artistic medium to various aspects of the computer with these courses.
- Digital Art I: Photoshop – Ms. Lopez. Photoshop is the industry standard software for pixel-based images and is a must for anyone pursuing this field. Photoshop is used for photography, drawing, image manipulation.
- Digital Art II: Illustrator – Ms. Lopez. Illustrator is another industry standard piece of software you must learn for this field. Illustrator is vector-based, unlike Photoshop. You create and manipulate objects to create graphics instead of using photographs. Illustrator is used more to create logos and clipart.
- Computer Graphics and Modeling I, II and III – Mr. Didier. These classes are for 3D artwork. Students will learn 3D modeling, materials and textures, lighting, rendering, and basic animation. You can take this class multiple times. In Level I you really just learn the basics of Blender. In Levels II and III, you choose and create your own projects.
- Digital Photography – Ms. Lopez. Photoshop can only do so much to improve a photo. Learn to take a great photo and you don’t need Photoshop.
- Fine Arts I, II, & III – Ms. Grace. If you want to create great artwork on the computer, learn the basics of drawing and painting on paper. I will help your computer graphics tremendously.
- Animation. Sorry, but as of right now there is no pure animation class offered at LAHS. Mr. Didier covers animation in Computer Graphics and Modeling I and many students have further pursued it in level II of the course. If you have the computer background (Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or Blender) talk with Mr. Didier about doing an Advanced Computer Science Projects class if you are interested in 2D animation.
- Yearbook – Ms. Engelking. Put your graphic design skills to practical use and help create the yearbook.
Computer Game Design
Rather than just playing computer games, make one yourself. These classes will help you get started in this field.
- Computer Game Design I, II, and III – Mr. Didier. Students in this class will design a simple computer game. Topics to be covered include character and level design, animation, Newtonian physics, programming, and 2D/3D mechanics. The advanced game engine Unity will be used to create games. You can take this class multiple times. In Game Design I, you really just really learn how to use Unity. In levels II and III, you really create your own games.
- Computer Graphics and Modeling I, II and III – Mr. Didier. Create your own 3D assets and characters for your game in Blender.
- AP Computer Science – Mr. Didier. Game design relies heavily on computer programming. Learn to how to understand and write your own code in this class. Even though Java is taught in this class, it is so similar to C# used in Unity that most students who learn Java first don’t even notice the difference.
- Intro to Computer Science – Mr. Didier. You may need this as a pre-requisite for AP Computer Science. You can also get started with game design by creating a Scratch game.
- Digital Art I Photoshop – Ms. Lopez. Create your own 2D graphics for you game with Photoshop.
- Fine Arts I, II, & III – Ms. Grace. Great games have great artwork. Learn to create great artwork in these classes.
Video and Audio Production
Learn to make movies and music.
- Video Production I & II – Ms. Lovejoy. This course introduces students to current video production techniques that can be applied to a variety of disciplines throughout their careers. Units of instruction include basic communication, function and theory of the video camera, pre-production (treatment, scripting & storyboarding), and production & post-production techniques.
- Digital Music Production – Ms. Grace. This introductory course provides students with the basic knowledge of music making and audio production. Students will gain a first hand understanding of the digital audio workstations(DAW), Soundtrap and GarageBand. Students will learn the basic concepts of recording and editing music tracks and the spoken word.
Learn software often used in businesses. Take both Desktop Publishing and Information Management to earn dual credit at UNM.
- Desktop Publishing – Ms. Hurley. This course introduces Microsoft Word (in-depth) and PowerPoint using Microsoft Office. Students will create, format, illustrate, design, edit/revise, and print documents. Type manipulation and formatting of text and graphics with the reader in mind will be taught. Students will also learn features of PowerPoint to design and create dynamic presentations.
- Information Management – Ms. Hurley. This class will help students master the concepts and applications associated with Excel spreadsheets and Access databases. Students will work with a variety of mathematical functions, formulas, 3-D formulas, relative and absolute references in an Excel document and then chart data and link or embed data and charts to create professional documents.
- Web Design. Sorry, but as of right now there is no pure Web Design class offered at LAHS. Web page design requires a mix of skills from graphic design, desktop publishing and some programming. If you are really interested in web design, take Mr. Didier’s Intro to Computer Science class and work on web pages as an Independent Project. You can also take Mr. Didier’s Advanced Computer Science Projects class and focus on web design if you have the prerequisite skills. It is good to take the Desktop Publishing class and Digital Arts I: Photoshop before really diving into web page design.
Local college and degree programs:
- UNM Fine Arts
- Santa Fe Community College:
- Northern New Mexico Community College
- New Mexico Highlands University
- Institute of American Indian Arts
- Luna Community College
- Fort Lewis College
Out of state colleges and university programs