Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:05 PM
(Thanks in advance for anyone that ends up reading this. I'm sorry that this kind of turned into a wall of text, but I thought I'd clear my thoughts and put it all in a post, so at least I can look at it and try to figure out, well, what to do.)
As the subject line says, I'm another one of those dreamers that isn't quite sure of which path to take in order to end up in the game/software industry in say, the next 6-8 years. I'm really in no hurry, as I'm just 20 years old, and have been working a supermarket job for a couple of years already (not a great job, but it's money!). Being essentially a nerd, my only real expenses are rent, pizza and caffeine based drinks. And the occasional DVD, but that's beside the point. The point being, I'm not in any sort of financial hurry to get to work.
Anyway, it's the education part that has me a little confused. I'm from Finland, so I did the basic 6+3 years of normal school (or elementary school), and then went on to get a three year degree in a vocational/trade/career school. That degree pretty much translates to "IT worker", so it has to do with information technology in general, on a basic level. Other than that, I've been programming for about a year now, in C# and C++ and in my mind I'm at an "advanced beginner" type level, where I can make basic, functional games and applications, but still obviously have an immense amount of things to learn. I've also done quite a bit of 3D modelling and animations and things of that nature over the last 2-3 years, mainly as small mod projects for games like the UT series.
Overall though, my head works quite logically and I have some creativity, but not really enough imagination and artistic vision to work as a 3D artist. Programming would probably suit me better.
So basically my question would be, what sort of an education should I be aiming for? There's really no schools anywhere in this country that are gaming oriented, but there's definitely some that offer degrees that are similar to let's say, the computer science degree that people always like to bring up. However, if I were to start going to school, I'd likely have to quit my job and try to live on whatever the social service wants to give me (my parents aren't exactly rich so I'd prefer to be self sufficient), so that's not really a great option. I guess the online options are one way (the only way in my case?) to go, and although I haven't done much research on them, they would probably fit my schedule easily.
I'll end up doing tons of stuff on my own regardless, so it's not like I won't keep sharpening my skills even if I don't get a degree right now. Currently I'm really in love with Unity, as it allows me to utilize all of my skills, and just in general I'm really enjoying both the highs and lows of at least small scale game development.