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Help decide what education is needed to become a game developer


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#1 Mafioso   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 182

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:51 PM

Hello,

I live in UK and I'm in a middle of choosing a college and I was thinking about A-levels which could consist of maths or further maths, physics, IT, if anyone with experience could help me to decide, what else I must choose, because eventually my goal is to get to a decent university, if anyone could hint me this, I would be really grateful :)!

Which course I should choose in university to get a job as a gameplay programmer? There are 2 opportunities, computer science or a course about game development or is there are more? Which one you'd suggest to get a job in the industry? I'm looking more at the game development one, because it is what I like to do, but it kinda strict one, because I won't get anywhere else with it, except game development and it's kinda hard to get in the industry directly through game development, I think, but I'm unexperienced at this. Anyways, game programming is everything what I do and like, there is no other option for me :) If you could help me out with this, I would be grateful :mellow:

P.S. If you could drop me a link to a some article about it, please do, because I'm currently looking for one on Google :unsure: Thank you.

Thanks in advance :)

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#2 Titanium Man   Members   -  Reputation: 102

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 07:47 PM

Don't forget to consider independent work to build experience outside of courses. Make some cool projects on the side. Then, when you want to work for someone you can go "hey, I made these games in my spare time using this skill and this skill", and they'll be all impressed and stuff.
Matt Willard: I help game companies sell and make better games.

#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10149

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:01 AM

CS is the recommended degree for those aspiring to program. See this forum's FAQ (link atop this thread).
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 Mafioso   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 182

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 08:27 AM

<br />Don't forget to consider independent work to build experience outside of courses.  Make some cool projects on the side.  Then, when you want to work for someone you can go &quot;hey, I made these games in my spare time using this skill and this skill&quot;, and they'll be all impressed and stuff.<br />


Yes, I'm concentrating on the independent work as well, but I'm not sure what should I learn and do so they would be impressed? What knowledge I must have to get a job as a programmer? Knowing some engines, directx, specific algorithms or something?

#5 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10149

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:40 PM

I'm not sure what should I learn and do so they would be impressed? What knowledge I must have to get a job as a programmer?

You should have a CS degree, and a portfolio that demonstrates your skill at developing games. Clean source code. Elegant solutions to problems found in game development.
Beyond that, it depends on what kind of company you want to work for. iPhone apps? Facebook games? Console games? PC games? You might want to hop over to the For Beginners forum and read the FAQs there.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#6 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 901

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:49 AM

Maths, Further Maths, Physics, IT sound a perfectly good choice.

I'd stick with traditional academic degrees like computer science, or even related ones like maths, rather than the "game programming" degrees.

I didn't know exactly what I want to do until my third year - it can't harm to think about a specific job before then, but I wouldn't base educational decisions on something as specific as one model of phone or one website for example; what's a bandwagon today may be completely different in 3 or 4 years' time.

Interestingly when I went looking for graduate computer game programming jobs in the UK, they didn't want to see any of my "portfolio" at all, and were far more interested in my academic background. But it's still a good idea to learn and make games in your own time I think, and it's something you can add to your CV / website, whether or not they care to see the actual games/demos themselves.
http://erebusrpg.sourceforge.net/ - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.harman/conquests.html - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#7 Domx   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 04:25 AM

I'd recommend a CS degree, like the few of my predecessors. It gives you the knowledge and skills, which are essential for game development, but also do not restrict you to game development in any way. It is always useful to have a back door in case you don't get a gd job immediately after graduating. As mdwh noted, it is also better to formally learn about the foundations and underpinning of modern software development (and generally computing science), rather than focussing on a specific technology, which might be forgotten in a few years time. Either way, be prepared for further studying, as computing and game dev evolves :)

In terms of recognising academic record, you'd think it's always for your benefit, but it's not. If you apply to a professional studio, which is interested in your development as an engineer, they will be more than happy to take a look at your academic results (especially if you are a fresh graduate and have little experience) and consider good grades a big plus. Better yet, they might support you in your further studies - for instance, I am doing a PhD in CS and my previous gd employer was quite helpful and interested in my research. However, I also had the misfortune of applying to a studio, where my higher education was considered a bad thing and I was told that my efforts to earn a PhD are certain to make me arrogant towards those members of the team who do not have a uni degree. Nice way to start an interview... if you do happen to run into people like that, steer far, far away.




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