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Math vs. Computer Science for Game Programming


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#1 gogo76   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:23 PM

Hi,
I'm choosing between two college programs, one more focused on mathematics, called computer science and mathematics, and the other more focused on programming, called computer science. The computer science and mathematics course is a pre-university program, which means that i can probably learn everything the computer science course taught, except later in university.

The computer science course is a three-year program, meaning that you are expected to get a job immediately after. Either program I choose, I plan on going to university in computer science later.

I'm wondering, which college program will lead me to a more successful career in game programming?

Computer Science and Mathematics(Click ''learn more'' to view program brochure):
http://www.champlainonline.com/prospective-students/programs-courses/computer-science-mathematics

Computer Science(Click ''learn more'' to view program brochure):
http://www.champlainonline.com/prospective-students/programs-courses/computer-science

Sponsor:

#2 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:46 PM

Hi,
I'm choosing between two college programs, one more focused on mathematics, called computer science and mathematics, and the other more focused on programming, called computer science. The computer science and mathematics course is a pre-university program, which means that i can probably learn everything the computer science course taught, except later in university.

The computer science course is a three-year program, meaning that you are expected to get a job immediately after. Either program I choose, I plan on going to university in computer science later.

I'm wondering, which college program will lead me to a more successful career in game programming?

Computer Science and Mathematics(Click ''learn more'' to view program brochure):
http://www.champlain...nce-mathematics

Computer Science(Click ''learn more'' to view program brochure):
http://www.champlain...omputer-science


That's a pretty good question. I know the university I plan to attend in the future has a video game centric computer science program. I think perhaps the most general degree will be computer science and mathematics but the other degree maybe better if you intend on getting a job immediately after graduation. Either program should be fine but you will likely need work experience and a good portfolio to get a job in the industry. I would suggest taking the programming focused computer science program and finding a non-video game related job while you work on your bachelor's.

#3 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10060

Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:00 PM

I'm not sure how the Canadian system works: would you go on to do a real degree after either of those 2/3 year programs? Because from the course catalog, neither is anywhere close to a 4-year US computer science degree.

The mathematics focus is more along the lines of, but missing the last 2 years worth of courses. The other one is closer to IT - not what you want for working in development, per se.

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#4 gogo76   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:36 PM

I'm not sure how the Canadian system works: would you go on to do a real degree after either of those 2/3 year programs? Because from the course catalog, neither is anywhere close to a 4-year US computer science degree.

The mathematics focus is more along the lines of, but missing the last 2 years worth of courses. The other one is closer to IT - not what you want for working in development, per se.


If by a real degree, you mean a university degree, then, yes, I will go on to a real degree after either one of the programs. The 2-year program is for people who want to go to university more quickly, and the three-year is for people who want to work after college.

I'm wondering whether the math learned will be more important than getting a headstart on programming. Furthermore, to go back to your point about IT, can't the stuff that's learned in the computer science degree translate over to game programming?

#5 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:53 PM

I'm wondering whether the math learned will be more important than getting a headstart on programming. Furthermore, to go back to your point about IT, can't the stuff that's learned in the computer science degree translate over to game programming?

I would say go for the math because it's generally more useful to learn Math from a teacher. Programming is fairly easy to at least learn the basics of on your own. Not to say teaching yourself college/university level math is impossible, but I always found math teachers more core to my eventual knowledge than CS teachers.

#6 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 2652

Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:23 PM

Here's my recommendation:
1. Look for the university you'd like to attend.
2. Look at that universities entrance requirements and ask if the classes you'd take will transfer.

If the classes won't transfer or you'll be required to take a bunch of other prerequisite classes, you may just be wasting your time and money.

If you want to prepare yourself for a successful career in game programming, these are the things which will help you:
-Very good understanding of C++
-Understand an API/Platform like DirectX, XNA, OpenGL
-Create a polished game of your own
-Strong understanding of datastructures, algorithms, object oriented programming
-Strong grasp of mathematics (matricies, vectors, trigonometery, algebra) & physics (for collision handling, movement, force)
-Lots of experience with programming and finishing projects
-Passion for gaming & knowledge of the industry

Now, if you have all of this, it's still not a guarantee that you'll get hired to work as a game programmer. Or, perhaps you do game programming for five to ten years and get tired of it and want to work somewhere else. What's your fall back plan? You'll want to have a skill set which is broad enough that you can still get employed doing software development (or something related) in some other field. Will your degree & learned skills help you or hold you back? (In other words, avoid digipen and full sail)

Eric Nevala

Indie Developer | Dev blog





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