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CS degree or no degree?


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#1 S. Lee Gainer   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 07:06 AM

Hi guys...I am considering going back to school to get a Bach. in Computer Science, ie. programming specifically. I already have a degree in Communication Arts. My intention is to develop a small company that is socially responsible, employee driven, and makes great, fun games for eveyone. Should I get this degree or keep plugging away at my C++ books? (Or both!) Currently, I do not have a job in the industry and no leads. Thanks for your advice! Sincerely, S. Lee Gainer tpgslg@gdi.net

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#2 s9801758   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 07:33 AM

Hi there,

you might wanna read this article I wrote for Flipcode. Although it''s not about a degree and starting your own comp it might still be helpfull.


http://www.flipcode.com/interviews/school/


Always keep in mind that choosing to go to school or start right away is a very personal decision. Don''t let anyone but you make it!

Jaap Suter

#3 goltrpoat   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 07:34 AM

well, you''ll need to provide a bit more information than that. i personally dropped out of high school, and it never was an issue when applying to game development companies, and definitely wasn''t an issue when i went into business for myself. but i already had fairly extensive knowledge of the topics required. if you already know your stuff, in my opinion, the only reason why you should get a degree is if you don''t know if you can make it in game development and want something to fall back on. if you don''t, by all means, it would help you out tremendously, and in the long run, you''ll gain more knowledge from it in the same time frame.


--
Float like a butterfly, bite like a crocodile.



#4 ape   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 08:11 AM

I earned a BS in CS from the University of North Carolina. I see things every day, at work (programming), and programming my game, that remind me how valuable my education is. Recursion, BSP trees, linked lists, all kinds of data structures, big "oh" notation O(n), finite state machines, sorting algorithms, and even some assembler code; these are topics you see in the gamedev forums all the time with people seeking tutorials and help, and before you finish a CS degree, you''ll know them all inside out.
I think its certainly worth your time.

#5 s9801758   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 08:28 AM

I once heard someone say the following:

"If you are 100% sure you want to stop, you are able to pull it off as well. If you are in doubt then just go to school."

I personally think that this matter is to personal and important to listen to someone else. You can always ask for advice ofcourse (which I did myself a lot!!). But I just want to make sure that you have to make the decision for yourself.

If you aren''t gonna do it now, then you will never. Remember that.

Sorry if I sound a bit rude, but I struggled with this problem too for a long time (and still somedays).

Anyway, go grap a beer!! hehe.

Jaap Suter



#6 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3329

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 10:36 PM

Over here in the UK (which is irrelevant to the original poster, I know), you will probably triple your chances of at least getting an interview by having a Computing degree. Looking through the adverts and the websites, nearly all the game programming employers ask for graduates.

And given that so many people on here don''t seem to even know what a linked list is, it becomes very apparent that a formal education is very helpful when it come to higher programming concepts! I''d recommend it.

#7 MadKeithV   Moderators   -  Reputation: 971

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Posted 10 May 2000 - 10:52 PM

One of the things about getting a CS degree: you''ll be around a lot of people that know what they are doing, people who are interested in Computer Science as a career. When you are young and know little about programming, this is a bonus.
If you are already in the industry, however, you''re probably already around people who really know what they are doing, and much more specifically applied to the things they are always working on. If you want to go in the same direction as them, they''d be the best teachers. ( though you will not be developing your general knowledge much more ).


#pragma DWIM // Do What I Mean!
~ Mad Keith ~
**I use Software Mode**


#8 Tiso   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 11 May 2000 - 10:38 AM

As mentioned before. It''s your choice, and a very big one at that. Think about it, it''s your desicion.

#9 TimSmith   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 11 May 2000 - 10:48 AM

Well, I won''t be shy.

GET THE DEGREE!!! =)

For every person who quit school and made it in life, you can find hundreds that didn''t. For every person who went to school and failed in life, you can find hundreds who didn''t.

Nothing against people who quit school and made it on their own, but if I was hiring, I would be asking myself why would I want to risk the investment on a new employee if he is unable to commit himself to getting his education.

But, I do have to say that only you can decide which path you take. You are the one who will have to live with the decision, not any of us.

Good luck!

Tim

#10 NickGA   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 11 May 2000 - 11:17 AM

Consider getting an engineering degree. It''s also very interesting.

#11 Landsknecht   Members   -  Reputation: 234

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Posted 13 May 2000 - 12:24 AM

My few pennies...

I am 25.
I am married, 5yrs.
I have a 3yr old daughter.

I am going back to school to pick up my BS in Comp Sci with a minor in electrical engineering. Start this fall. Toughest decision of my life. But I felt SO much better after having made it. Even if I can''t finish, I am sure the experience will be worth GOLD!

#12 DavidRM   Members   -  Reputation: 270

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Posted 16 May 2000 - 06:58 AM

Never underestimate the "secret handshake phenomemon" of actually having a CS degree.

It''s more prevalent in MBA circles, but it also shows up in the technical-geek world of IT/IS departments. The hiring manager went through the 4 years of college to get *his* degree, so if you have the same degree (or a similar one), you obviously know the "secret handshake" and are automatically a step or two above a similar candidate without that degree...



DavidRM
Samu Games


#13 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 17 May 2000 - 08:01 AM

Friend of mine just got hired as a programmer at 3d0 and did not have a CS degree. What he DID have was several years as a programmer at a smaller game company.(which hired him despite his not having a CS degree)

I think that many companies list a degree as a requirement just to scare off the wannabes. Anyone who is in the know already knows if they qualify for the position, degree or no degree.

$0.02




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