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Banner advertising on our site currently available from just $5! # Future career help. Old topic! Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic. 4 replies to this topic ### #1Colbya Members - Reputation: 106 Like 0Likes Like Posted 25 November 2012 - 10:24 PM Hello Gamedev, my name is Colby and I am currently 15 attending grade 10. I really am worried about my future and I was wondering if you could enlighten me in some information. 1. First off I want to know how hard would it be to get into a college like Digipen for computer science for someone like me. I am not on the smart side of things when it comes to grades. I am not failing, but I am not taking a high-level of education. Also I had bad marks in lower grades since I was really focused on the social side of school and I really didn't see how important an education was. I have some experience in programming and I am currently trying to learn the c language. Also I come from a poor family and I will not have enough money to go to a college like Digipen, so would that affect me getting into a college and do they programs that you pay when you get out in small bit? How much would you pay a month for college fees? 2.. I plan on after college (If I even get to go) to work at a gaming business. How hard is it to get into a company and how much would they pay? As I got older I have seen games like super meat boy, castle crashers, braid, limbo, ect. I honestly don't want to be a big gaming company or work with one. All I want to do is make games that take people out of the world we live in today and put them into a new world that I built for them to enjoy. I want to be independent and make a game how I think it should be made and not have someone tell me what I have to do. Thanks for the help I really appreciate it. Edited by Colbya, 25 November 2012 - 10:25 PM. Sponsor: ### #2Hodgman Moderators - Reputation: 40127 Like 4Likes Like Posted 25 November 2012 - 10:55 PM I don't know about Digipen or the North American college system.... but just want to say, don't worry yourself too much! You're too young for that kind of worry I'm in Australia, so things are likely different, but I had a "free" education, and accrued about$5000 a year in debt to the government while going to University, which they now take back slowly by charging me a bit of extra income tax.

I got pretty average grades in High School, and didn't get into the Computer Science course that I wanted to do. So, instead I went to a little-known university in a small town and did an IT course that accepted almost anyone. While there, I spent the entire time building my own hobby games outside of school, and I took all of my elective subjects in CompSci/Games related subjects, so I still learnt a lot of CompSci material. When I applied for a job, they were happy that I had a degree, even though it wasn't CompSci, but the thing that impressed them was actually my portfolio of hobby games, not my school-work after all.

So, even if you don't get the 'best' education, you can still make the most of a less reputable education.

Also, even though getting a CompSci degree is the best way to prove yourself as a potential programmer (and getting an IT / Soft Engineering degree is a decent backup plan), it's still possible (harder, but possible) to get hired without a degree as long as you've taught yourself well and are good at your job.
One of the best lead-programmers that I've worked under was completely self-educated, and even spent a portion of his life homeless, living out of a van in the US. Given the chance, I'd hire him any day over some graduate with a degree

The average salary in the industry is ~$80k, but as a junior, you can probably expect about half of the average. The difficulty in finding a job depends on how talented you are When I decided to get back into the video games industry, it took me 5 months to find a job, but when that company went bankrupt, it took only 1 month to find an even better paying job. A lot of it is luck and being in the right place at the right time... I honestly don't want to be a big gaming company or work with one. All I want to do is make games that take people out of the world we live in today and put them into a new world that I built for them to enjoy. I want to be independent and make a game how I think it should be made and not have someone tell me what I have to do. I felt the same way right before I got a job at a huge 400-person developer, and was quite anxious about making those crappy games instead of games that I can put my heart into... However, it was a really great experience working at that company -- constantly being surrounded by other people who have been recruited from all over the world because they're good at making games, people who care as much about making games as you do, people who have so much that you can learn from them... Even if we were making someone else's game, doing it as part of such a great team is an amazing experience. Also, I probably learnt as much in my first year in the industry as I did in several years of University, I'm a much better indie developer now than before I worked as part of teams like that one. Plus, I put a large part of my pay-cheques into a savings account while doing that work, and now I'm living off that money so I can be an (experienced) independent developer! ### #3Colbya Members - Reputation: 106 Like 0Likes Like Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:58 PM I don't know about Digipen or the North American college system.... but just want to say, don't worry yourself too much! You're too young for that kind of worry I'm in Australia, so things are likely different, but I had a "free" education, and accrued about$5000 a year in debt to the government while going to University, which they now take back slowly by charging me a bit of extra income tax.

I got pretty average grades in High School, and didn't get into the Computer Science course that I wanted to do. So, instead I went to a little-known university in a small town and did an IT course that accepted almost anyone. While there, I spent the entire time building my own hobby games outside of school, and I took all of my elective subjects in CompSci/Games related subjects, so I still learnt a lot of CompSci material. When I applied for a job, they were happy that I had a degree, even though it wasn't CompSci, but the thing that impressed them was actually my portfolio of hobby games, not my school-work after all.

So, even if you don't get the 'best' education, you can still make the most of a less reputable education.

Also, even though getting a CompSci degree is the best way to prove yourself as a potential programmer (and getting an IT / Soft Engineering degree is a decent backup plan), it's still possible (harder, but possible) to get hired without a degree as long as you've taught yourself well and are good at your job.
One of the best lead-programmers that I've worked under was completely self-educated, and even spent a portion of his life homeless, living out of a van in the US. Given the chance, I'd hire him any day over some graduate with a degree

The average salary in the industry is ~\$80k, but as a junior, you can probably expect about half of the average. The difficulty in finding a job depends on how talented you are When I decided to get back into the video games industry, it took me 5 months to find a job, but when that company went bankrupt, it took only 1 month to find an even better paying job. A lot of it is luck and being in the right place at the right time...

I honestly don't want to be a big gaming company or work with one. All I want to do is make games that take people out of the world we live in today and put them into a new world that I built for them to enjoy. I want to be independent and make a game how I think it should be made and not have someone tell me what I have to do.

I felt the same way right before I got a job at a huge 400-person developer, and was quite anxious about making those crappy games instead of games that I can put my heart into... However, it was a really great experience working at that company -- constantly being surrounded by other people who have been recruited from all over the world because they're good at making games, people who care as much about making games as you do, people who have so much that you can learn from them... Even if we were making someone else's game, doing it as part of such a great team is an amazing experience. Also, I probably learnt as much in my first year in the industry as I did in several years of University, I'm a much better indie developer now than before I worked as part of teams like that one.
Plus, I put a large part of my pay-cheques into a savings account while doing that work, and now I'm living off that money so I can be an (experienced) independent developer!

Wow. Thanks for the reply and sharing your story with me. It makes me worry less that they wouldn't really look at grades, but what you can do. Also good luck with your project.

### #4BRRGames  Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:05 PM

Colbya, I wouldn't worry so much about school, and start focusing on your portfolio.

My experience with game studios, and the IT industry as a whole (17 years in IT before moving to games) is that a diploma, degree, etc is just seen as a piece of paper. A nice to have, but doesn't prove skill. Your portfolio is where you will show potential employers what you can do.

### #5Tom Sloper  Moderators   -  Reputation: 11683

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

Colbya,
Your question has been moved to the Breaking In forum. The topic here is "Breaking Into the Industry," and that is precisely what you are asking about.
Go out to the Breaking In forum main page and look for the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) box at upper right. There is a lot of information there, and you're bound to find lots of answers to questions you have in mind now and will think of as you pursue this direction.
Good luck.
-- 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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