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Impossible to pursue my dream while in school.


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#1 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 24 November 2011 - 05:39 AM

Here is the deal, I hate my job and I am trying to get a computer science degree to hopefully work in the video game industry. By no means is this my dream and if that is where I stop I will feel very unfulfilled in my life. I really want to work for myself and I feel this is the only way I will ever be happy. Right now school and work take up most of my time and I can't seem to find time to program anymore. I've been programming since I was 7 which makes it almost 16 years now. Every time I almost finish a project I raise the bar further and consequently I've never finished anything. I have a great idea for a simple game which I know I can finish within the next year but school has been taking up all of my free time. To get a computer science degree I will likely be in school for the next 6 years since I am currently attending a community college for computer programming and most of the credits probably won't transfer. 6 years is a long time to wait to be in a position where I am only moderately satisfied with my career. It also eats me alive not having time to work on my ideas.

The best compromise I can come up with would be to get a Microsoft certification and just work while I develop games in my spare time. I actually think I would be much happier over all. What do you guys thing?

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#2 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5441

Posted 24 November 2011 - 08:07 AM

You apparently have a problem completing things. Learn to complete things, that is your path to success.
Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

#3 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 24 November 2011 - 08:31 AM

To get a computer science degree I will likely be in school for the next 6 years since I am currently attending a community college for computer programming and most of the credits probably won't transfer. 6 years is a long time to wait to be in a position where I am only moderately satisfied with my career. It also eats me alive not having time to work on my ideas.


Just on this part. Don't assume it will take you an extra 2 years. I started university as an Art major for a semester, changed my mind and went to community college for a semester, and ended up going for computer science and finished in 4 years total with an art minor. It took a couple 20+ credit semesters, but they weren't that bad outside of finals weeks.

The biggest problem is that it will take you longer if you try to work a normal job through it. You should look into saving as much money as possible and dedicating yourself to school. Maybe get a job as a TA or tutoring or something else at the school. Most school jobs are fairly easy, pay alright, and you can work on school projects while you have free time. Really though I think the way you are going now you are setting yourself up to fail. You should at least sit down and see how feasible it is to do just school; concretely figure it out too. Can you increase your student loans? Apply for some scholarships? What is your monthly budget from your savings if you stopped working today through the next year of school?

Really I think your biggest problem is that you are trying to do work and school. I think you should finish school or at least get to University level. You're doing yourself a social disservice by not at least attending a University for a semester just for the experience, and it probably isn't as immediately expensive as you might think at first.

#4 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 24 November 2011 - 11:23 AM

6 years ago, there was no Facebook or Twitter. The term "social game" didn't exist. Playfish, Club Penguin and similar didn't exist either and were not worth billions, possibly more than EA. EA did not fire 1500 people to purchase social game company with a few dozen people. There was no iPhone, no iPad, no mobile, no AppStore.

What will world look like in 6 years?


What exactly is your dream?

#5 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 24 November 2011 - 01:28 PM

6 years ago, there was no Facebook or Twitter. The term "social game" didn't exist. Playfish, Club Penguin and similar didn't exist either and were not worth billions, possibly more than EA. EA did not fire 1500 people to purchase social game company with a few dozen people. There was no iPhone, no iPad, no mobile, no AppStore.

What will world look like in 6 years?


What exactly is your dream?


I just want to make games or applications by my self and I don't care if I make a lot of money but I want enough so that I don't have to work.

#6 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7621

Posted 24 November 2011 - 01:51 PM

Of course you'll have to work. Maybe not work for someone else, but work all the same. As for the certification, I don't think anybody in the game industry cares. So don't do that.

#7 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:22 PM

Of course you'll have to work. Maybe not work for someone else, but work all the same. As for the certification, I don't think anybody in the game industry cares. So don't do that.


Not a certification to work in the game industry but one to work in software development. Basically to work in a job I'm at least OK with while I try to make video games to sell.

#8 Jesse7   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 24 November 2011 - 04:21 PM

I just want to make games or applications by my self and I don't care if I make a lot of money but I want enough so that I don't have to work.

Everyone works. There is no escaping it. The trick is that you need to enjoy your work enough that it won't feel like work to you. Don't make the mistake of splitting your life into work and play or you will be miserable. Work is play and play is play. I like the way Paul Graham puts it: You have to like what you do enough that the concept of free time seems mistaken. If you're always concerned about getting free time from your job so you can go do the things you enjoy, then you're in the wrong business. Personally, I'd leave any job that I don't like even if it means struggling to survive. (I've been there many times) If you really know what you want, your determination and enthusiasm will help you overcome most obstacles--that's why it's important that you do something that is meaningful to you or you won't have the drive to see it through.
Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.

#9 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:10 PM


I just want to make games or applications by my self and I don't care if I make a lot of money but I want enough so that I don't have to work.

Everyone works. There is no escaping it. The trick is that you need to enjoy your work enough that it won't feel like work to you. Don't make the mistake of splitting your life into work and play or you will be miserable. Work is play and play is play. I like the way Paul Graham puts it: You have to like what you do enough that the concept of free time seems mistaken. If you're always concerned about getting free time from your job so you can go do the things you enjoy, then you're in the wrong business. Personally, I'd leave any job that I don't like even if it means struggling to survive. (I've been there many times) If you really know what you want, your determination and enthusiasm will help you overcome most obstacles--that's why it's important that you do something that is meaningful to you or you won't have the drive to see it through.


It's not that I want to have fun. I put a lot of work in to my game engine which I had plans to make a really awesome game with but now it seems all of my work is going down the toilet because I have no time to finish it anymore. My wonderful ideas are eating me alive and I can't stand the thought of not seeing them through.

#10 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 24 November 2011 - 11:02 PM

Doing two things full time at the same time is of course going to cut into hobby time, especially a hobby that is challenging and requires time and significant mental effort. If you don't have time to pursue all three at once, then you'll have to cut back on something. So as I see it, you can scale back some combination of activities and accept a slower pace at all three, or plan out a longer term schedule that includes all three but non-simultaneously.

A couple of possibilities that come to my mind are:

Why not cut back on school now? If you're certain that a lot of your credits aren't going to transfer, then are you really getting much value out of the investment of time, energy, and money you are expending to earn them? I can think of situations where they still might be worth taking, but I can think of far more in which they would not be. If you can be reasonably sure that they will transfer, then the credits are likely worth getting, but if not then you will have little tangible rewards to show for your efforts, especially if earning them gets in the way of other work you'd like to do.

Cutting back on hours at work might be an option, though of course it may not be in your case. If you can work a bit less, cutting out 5-10 hours per week, then you'd gain a non-trivial amount of time to get some of your school or programming stuff done. You could also switch jobs, but if you're time constrained more than anything else I don't know that that would be an improvement on your current situation (unless you hate the new job less, which is hard to predict well). That sounds like your MS certification idea, but a 40 hr/week job is still going to take up 40 hrs/week.

You could also accept a longer timetable for completing your programming projects (it sounds like this is where you've landed now). If you can't eke more time out of your school and work schedules, and can't get it anywhere else, then you truly don't have time to program right now. I'd bet that if you really set a schedule with 2-4 hours per week devoted to coding you could generally fit it in, but it would be strenuous and your games wouldn't advance very quickly.

There are other ways that you can adjust the demands on your time to allow you to focus on whichever things you find most important, but I don't think that having it all right now is necessarily feasible, evidenced by the trouble you're already having. You might find that splitting yourself three ways for an extended period of time leaves you with subpar results in any or all of them, and I doubt that you would be more pleased with that outcome than your current situation.

And for what it's worth, I get the impression that you have other relevant factors than just time to your situation. But my guessing about that kind of thing probably won't be very helpful, so I'll just say that a lack of time may not be your biggest operative obstacle, and if it isn't then some new options may become apparent.

#11 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:24 AM

Doing two things full time at the same time is of course going to cut into hobby time, especially a hobby that is challenging and requires time and significant mental effort. If you don't have time to pursue all three at once, then you'll have to cut back on something. So as I see it, you can scale back some combination of activities and accept a slower pace at all three, or plan out a longer term schedule that includes all three but non-simultaneously.

A couple of possibilities that come to my mind are:

Why not cut back on school now? If you're certain that a lot of your credits aren't going to transfer, then are you really getting much value out of the investment of time, energy, and money you are expending to earn them? I can think of situations where they still might be worth taking, but I can think of far more in which they would not be. If you can be reasonably sure that they will transfer, then the credits are likely worth getting, but if not then you will have little tangible rewards to show for your efforts, especially if earning them gets in the way of other work you'd like to do.

Cutting back on hours at work might be an option, though of course it may not be in your case. If you can work a bit less, cutting out 5-10 hours per week, then you'd gain a non-trivial amount of time to get some of your school or programming stuff done. You could also switch jobs, but if you're time constrained more than anything else I don't know that that would be an improvement on your current situation (unless you hate the new job less, which is hard to predict well). That sounds like your MS certification idea, but a 40 hr/week job is still going to take up 40 hrs/week.

You could also accept a longer timetable for completing your programming projects (it sounds like this is where you've landed now). If you can't eke more time out of your school and work schedules, and can't get it anywhere else, then you truly don't have time to program right now. I'd bet that if you really set a schedule with 2-4 hours per week devoted to coding you could generally fit it in, but it would be strenuous and your games wouldn't advance very quickly.

There are other ways that you can adjust the demands on your time to allow you to focus on whichever things you find most important, but I don't think that having it all right now is necessarily feasible, evidenced by the trouble you're already having. You might find that splitting yourself three ways for an extended period of time leaves you with subpar results in any or all of them, and I doubt that you would be more pleased with that outcome than your current situation.

And for what it's worth, I get the impression that you have other relevant factors than just time to your situation. But my guessing about that kind of thing probably won't be very helpful, so I'll just say that a lack of time may not be your biggest operative obstacle, and if it isn't then some new options may become apparent.


Actually I do have another problem that makes it much worse. It is really hard for me to sleep a full 8 hours. I normally wake up repeatedly and trying to stick to a strict schedule makes my life miserable because I'm always tired. In my free time I don't have the energy to think about complex stuff.

#12 Krohm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3249

Posted 25 November 2011 - 02:44 AM

Actually I do have another problem that makes it much worse. It is really hard for me to sleep a full 8 hours. I normally wake up repeatedly and trying to stick to a strict schedule makes my life miserable because I'm always tired. In my free time I don't have the energy to think about complex stuff.

That's bad. Have you talked about it to your medic? Have you considered being on burnout/extensive crunch? How long this has been the case?
Do not underestimate this problem... I did, and I found myself wasting at least 18 months of my life (I have difficulty in understanding when it started). Talk to a medic. At least, consider your daily habits and have some "sleep hygiene".


As a side note, the thing you presented us a couple of months ago, while simple and debatable, was something.


#13 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:36 AM

Why not cut back on school now? If you're certain that a lot of your credits aren't going to transfer, then are you really getting much value out of the investment of time, energy, and money you are expending to earn them? I can think of situations where they still might be worth taking, but I can think of far more in which they would not be. If you can be reasonably sure that they will transfer, then the credits are likely worth getting, but if not then you will have little tangible rewards to show for your efforts, especially if earning them gets in the way of other work you'd like to do.


I would recommend cutting back on work more than cutting back on school if possible. I agree with Khaiy that your problem is your are overfilling your plate, I just think getting into University asap will find you being much happier in the long run. Not only will you have more challenging class options (I believe you were the one that was complaining about how trivially easy their classes were a while back?), but you'll actually be working towards what you want instead of classes at a community college, for which you hold very little value.

The longer you hold out going to university, the less likely you will be to ever go. The long term impacts on your knowledge won't be that huge, but the long term impacts on your social development could be irreparably harmed. Don't make the mistake of thinking all you get out of school is what you can read in a textbook, and honestly if you are working full time and going to school or going to school full time and working you'll be able to finish a university degree in less than 4 years EASILY if you actually dedicate yourself to it.

#14 FableFox   Members   -  Reputation: 526

Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:54 AM

I understand how you feel. I'm working and studying part time too. And yeah, time run fast. After work i went to class, and when I arrive home, do the usual stuff (bath, dinner, etc) and there's not much time left. Minus the time spent on assignment (or work that needed to be done at home, if you work on a laptop based company - unlike those with workstation) and you already have to go to bed to wake up early next day.

Sometimes you do have full on a plate, and the only thing is just fill with what you can, and work hard to finish your study.
Fable Fox is Stronger <--- Fable Fox is Stronger Project

#15 dpadam450   Members   -  Reputation: 948

Posted 25 November 2011 - 02:19 PM

I never understood community college. If the credits don't transfer, then why not just go right to the 4 year degree. I had a friend that has a 4 year degree, he took 2 years community + 4 years. Only 1 year or so worth of credits transferred.

I think your best shot is to just use whatever tech you have, and make a game. You would have a good chance of getting a level design position because you know how to code. Having completed a game that is somewhat fun and you can show some videos of your levels will put you in a good position for level design.

#16 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22732

Posted 25 November 2011 - 04:18 PM

Actually I do have another problem that makes it much worse. It is really hard for me to sleep a full 8 hours. I normally wake up repeatedly and trying to stick to a strict schedule makes my life miserable because I'm always tired. In my free time I don't have the energy to think about complex stuff.

That's bad. Have you talked about it to your medic? Have you considered being on burnout/extensive crunch? How long this has been the case?
Do not underestimate this problem... I did, and I found myself wasting at least 18 months of my life (I have difficulty in understanding when it started). Talk to a medic. At least, consider your daily habits and have some "sleep hygiene".


As a side note, the thing you presented us a couple of months ago, while simple and debatable, was something.


^^ This before the others.

If you have a medical issue, get it resolved first. It can be physical health (e.g. sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome preventing sleep and ruining your waking hours) or mental health (e.g. depression or bipolar or anxiety). Whatever it is, a medical issue can completely destroy your chances of success before you even get started.

After you have resolved health issues, it is a matterof finding and following your passions. I recommend getting a copy of "What color is your parachute?" book,and working through the chapters about your personal mission. Part of it includes some serious introspection to discover what you actually enjoy vs what you think would be fun. It builds up to a flower diagram that can be very powerful in transforming people's lives.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#17 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:55 AM

I just want to make games or applications by my self and I don't care if I make a lot of money but I want enough so that I don't have to work.


Well, you're not alone.

There's a club for people like that. It's called Everybody and we meet at the bar.

#18 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:22 PM


I just want to make games or applications by my self and I don't care if I make a lot of money but I want enough so that I don't have to work.


Well, you're not alone.

There's a club for people like that. It's called Everybody and we meet at the bar.


Everybody wants to work for them self but only a small fraction of people want to write software for a living. Probably no more than 2% of the population and I should add that quite a few people have been successful.

#19 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 26 November 2011 - 05:32 PM

I never understood community college. If the credits don't transfer, then why not just go right to the 4 year degree. I had a friend that has a 4 year degree, he took 2 years community + 4 years. Only 1 year or so worth of credits transferred.

I think your best shot is to just use whatever tech you have, and make a game. You would have a good chance of getting a level design position because you know how to code. Having completed a game that is somewhat fun and you can show some videos of your levels will put you in a good position for level design.

This depends on the college. A lot of community colleges in the states are run by the same university system that runs the state universities. They have access to prerequisites and graduation requirements. They know exactly which courses the system will accept for which corresponding courses at the university. You do have to put in the effort of going to see a councilor to plan your courses so you can do it correctly, but when it's done well the community college -> university plan can be fine.

That said it is usually slower because your first 2 years at the community college are all the relatively trivial knowledge and the last 2 years is major specific and usually harder. You can't space out the easy classes over 4 years while you are doing your harder classes. Had I gone to the school I got my diploma from for my freshman year I think I could have finished in 3-3.5 years rather than the 4 it took me because of that. Probably could have double majored in 4.


Well, you're not alone.

There's a club for people like that. It's called Everybody and we meet at the bar.

yes. o/

#20 SiCrane   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9670

Posted 26 November 2011 - 05:54 PM

I never understood community college. If the credits don't transfer, then why not just go right to the 4 year degree. I had a friend that has a 4 year degree, he took 2 years community + 4 years. Only 1 year or so worth of credits transferred.

It usually works better for schools in the same state and still varies state by state. For example, Illinois has the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) which has standardized pretty much any course you can take at a community college and make sure you'll get credit for it in any 4 year in Illinois. Well, academic classes anyways. On the other hand, I knew people from out of state who got pretty much shafted in the same way on their transfer credits. Or had weird gaps. Like transferred in with credit for multi-variate calculus but didn't get credit for quantitative reasoning requirements.




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