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Want to program for big developer. what should i be learning?


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#21 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8629

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:14 PM

I have nothing but personal experience to back myself up, but that experience has recurred many times. I already mentioned 3 experiences with people who pursued education over practice and the results were obvious.

So why do I advise against degrees?
Part of it is due to my own lack there-of. I didn’t need one, so why should anyone else?

The other part is because I have had to interview people and I usually pass those with degrees. And then they usually request too much and the CEO’s don’t accept. The CEO of my first job said the same thing.

There is always some chance anywhere at getting a job.
My personal experiences don’t always represent the norm., but I feel they might represent the majority and you should pay attention.


L., I have a lot of respect for what you've accomplished, managing to get a game job in Japan, and without a degree. It's impressive.
But this is a rehash of a discussion I had here about a year ago (maybe more) with a guy in the UK. He swore up and down that nobody (but NOBODY) in the UK game industry cares about degrees. For all I know, he was right (but if so, why are there schools in the UK that teach computer science for games). For all I know, Japanese game hirers also doesn't care about degrees. For all I know, in Japan and the UK, people don't need degrees to break into the game industry as programmers. I can only speak for my own experience in the game industry (going back to 1982). Having interviewed and handled incoming resumes in this country, I can say definitively that someone without any game experience had better at least have a degree, if he wants to get hired here as an entry-level programmer. There may be those technical directors who'll be able to find an unschooled gem in a stack of twenty resumes, sure.

It's not doing anyone in the US a favor to say "you don't need no stinking degree." It's also not doing them a favor to say "you need an expensive for-profit school degree." There are many shades of gray in between.
-- 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.

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#22 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18823

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:16 PM

I don't have a degree (studying isn't my thing), but I've met my current boss at the university (he got his degree), but he knew about my skills so he urgently wanted to hire me, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time

Also, salary and life-long earnings potential.

When you are in a position to see salary information, you'll discover an obvious set of tiers for those few people without a degree, for the majority of people with a bachelors degree, and for the remainder with a masters degree. Not having a degree puts you in the lower tier financially which is very difficult to get out of.

There was an unscrupulous game studio nearby who recently went bankrupt and their owner thrown in jail for tax evasion and other crimes --- they had a habit of hiring out of college and encouraging their programmers to not finish school. They also had a reputation for paying less and being more of a slave-labor camp. Their former employees struggled to find jobs because they didn't hold degrees and only had slip-shod development experience.
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#23 froop   Members   -  Reputation: 636

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:46 PM


I don't have a degree (studying isn't my thing), but I've met my current boss at the university (he got his degree), but he knew about my skills so he urgently wanted to hire me, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time

Also, salary and life-long earnings potential.

When you are in a position to see salary information, you'll discover an obvious set of tiers for those few people without a degree, for the majority of people with a bachelors degree, and for the remainder with a masters degree. Not having a degree puts you in the lower tier financially which is very difficult to get out of.

There was an unscrupulous game studio nearby who recently went bankrupt and their owner thrown in jail for tax evasion and other crimes --- they had a habit of hiring out of college and encouraging their programmers to not finish school. They also had a reputation for paying less and being more of a slave-labor camp. Their former employees struggled to find jobs because they didn't hold degrees and only had slip-shod development experience.


I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm not working in the game industry, I wanted to point out that you can meet interesting and important people at educational institutions. We're doing web development, and we're doing fine :-)

#24 Anri   Members   -  Reputation: 597

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 03:22 PM

The reason I completed my Degree(just a "pass" degree without honours, mind you) is because most people I met that said "a degree is a waste of time and won't help you get a job" actually had a Degree(even those who claimed they had no education at all!) and they also had a job. So not being far off a Degree after completing a Diploma in Computing I decided I might as well finish the job. The honours part I can do another time when I have more time and money...most likely modules in software engineering and AI.

I'm in the process of writing some demos and will rely on them alone to get me into my first programming position. As far as the degree is concerned, it cuts a long story short if my education ever comes into question. However, one learns the most from personal projects because its like being thrown out on to the streets to fend for yourself. Can you really cope on your own or do you need to rely on someone else's spoon-fed instructions and code all of the time?

For instance, one person might just say "I use cosine here...because...um...it says so here in the book!" whilst another might ask "but why do I use cosine here? And what the dickens is cosine anyway?". The first person carries on like a sheep, whilst the second finds out about SohCahToa and useful stuff about right-angled-triangles and begin to see the possibilities that lie ahead...

So yes, education has some value, but don't forget that programming needs to be a lifestyle outside of the class room as well. Where education introduces you to topics and their basics, teaching yourself allows you to break off and explore them in greater detail and even putting them to use.

#25 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 12200

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:02 PM

For all I know, in Japan and the UK, people don't need degrees to break into the game industry as programmers.

For Japan, education is a lot more important than in any other part of the world (at least for Japanese people—for foreigners they are somewhat understanding about different cultures and educations which is why I could get a job).
I thought I was taking this into account when I suggested not to go so hard on the educational route. If he was Japanese, I would definitely say “go education”.


I thought I was thinking about American culture when I gave my suggestion, but you may be entirely right that I simply don’t know American culture. It’s been a long time since I have experienced it, things may have changed, and I may have skewed views from my somewhat uncommon experiences in life.


My first set of advice applies here.
I was only looking for programming languages when I looked at job openings, but if some of them say you need a Bachelor’s or equivalent and you don’t have the “equivalent” part, then you probably need a Bachelor’s.
Whatever you need to know about getting a job you can find by job listings for the company(-y+ies) that interest you. They are the definitive sources of information on what you need.

But I still feel it would be better to go the “equivalent” route by starting at smaller studios and working up. Think of it this way:
Either way you will be in a major studio after 4 years. But:
  • With a Bachelor’s degree you will be 25 and have a 20-year-old’s salary and be in debt for the next 6 years.
  • With work experience you will be 25 and have a 25-year-old’s salary and have savings in your bank account.
I may still be playing Devil’s advocate, but people seeking advice should be presented with alternative options. Due to the ease in getting jobs at smaller studios, I feel mathematically this is the least-risky way to go while maximizing the end results financially. In my experience, you will get whatever you want no matter what as long as you just keep aiming for it. Hence you will be working at a major studio no matter what in the end.

That is just one option among the many. The original poster is free to make his or her final decision.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
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#26 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3689

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 02:57 PM

Where I live, usually there is University Analyst Programmer degree (2 to 3 years without thesis) and Licentiate in Computer Sciences degree (4 to 6 years, with a thesis). Though there are some differences depending on where you're studying (instead of Analyst Programmer you get Systems Analyst, or instead of the Licentiate in CS you get Systems Engineering, or Licentiate in Computing).

From what I've seen and what I heard, you can land a job without a degree or with the Analyst Programmer degree but, for higher positions with higher pay, software companies usually demand a Licentiate degree (which enables you to teach too if you're interested). For most positions, the first filter is the degree, and the second one, where the degree came from.

So I've seen 25+ year old people that are working and at the same time trying to get their Licentiate degree to get a promotion to lead positions (working and studying is a complex thing to do).

Point is, you might get in the position where, while you have the work experience, you may still need a degree to advance in your career.

Edited by TheChubu, 26 October 2012 - 03:00 PM.

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#27 Shikamaru   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:01 AM

I usually recommend Java these days, but if one means serious business...

1. Learn C++.
2. Learn to program with WinAPI, and write a small 2D game with it. Keep it simple.
3. Before rushing into a graphics API, write a Ray-Caster demo with the WinAPI first. Don't forget floors and ceilings!
4. Learn DirectX.

...as for education, try and sign up for courses in Maths and Software Development. For maths, you need to aim for at least Algebra - Calculus and Physics are very much recommended. For the computing side, you can teach yourself the language, but software development is not about the language but good habits, planning and implementation - this really comes down to experience, so it pays to be taught by an experienced person...

In conclusion, teach yourself with a strong foundation on C++, but seek to improve your CV with qualifications when the opportunity arises. And when the going gets tough, always stand strong and know that any problem can be broken down and solved.

Good luck! Posted Image


This is what I have been doing I've learned C++ to a degree learned how to use pointers and references some of the STD library and some OO concepts, still much more i need to learn and review what i know but right now I'm learning the WinAPI then will probably look into Direct X. My goal is to get a job at a game company, I understand what it takes and I dont plan to farther my education at the moment im a high school grad with programming experience.

To the OP I suggest you follow the advice in the post i quoted because as far as im aware advice wont get better than that. The degree to me personally is awesome to have but unnecessary. any potential employers don't care if you got a fancy degree as long as you can do what they ask then your good enough.. Thats my opinion and some employers will disagree.

Edited by Shikamaru, 28 October 2012 - 11:07 AM.


#28 Sshado   Members   -  Reputation: 231

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:24 AM

As awesome as it would be to land a dream job without having to go through the formalities of College, a degree is important to show that you have learning skills. A huge plus for having a degree is to "future proof" yourself. If things go bad and you lose your dream job, at least you will be able to fall back into a regular (possibly higher paying) programming job that requires a degree.




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