I have been reading a lot of threads in this category for months now. It's nice to see what other people are doing and how they it could be different to what I am doing.
I'm currently 20 and live in the UK. I will give you a little about my past few years and decisions I have made up until now.
I left high school at 16, went to College and took a level 3 BTEC course. The course was terrible and I wasn't learning anything which made it really boring. It's a none exam course, it's all coursework, and at the time I had no enthusiasm to much in the lectures because we would go in and just do coursework while the lecturer sat there for 2 hours or more saying nothing at all. Now I don't see how that is learning. So I left become Decemeber and was doing crappy little courses online, researching as much as I could, learning about different things and spent the year doing dossing.
I stumbled upon GameInstitute and it was pretty good to begin with. I moved from C++ to DirectX and then I found it really hard and didn't understand much of it. The tutors stopped replying to my messages, so I wasn't getting any feedback on what I was doing. I wasn't really putting in enough hours while doing this and didn't see how important it is to learn as much as I could.
I got serious at like 18 and a half. I started learning about ActionScript because at the time I thought I could get into making Flash games, get some games on Kongregate and make some money. Well at the time I don't think ActionScript was for me. It just felt different, but there will be a time where I will have to learn about different languages like ActionScript, Java, maybe Python, Lua, etc.
I bought a book on Maths and Physics for Video Games because I felt I needed to know how it worked and was quite important in video games. Now I didn't understand much of that book because it also included Algebra, and I haven't dont basic algebra since high school. So I put that book on hold, bought an Algebra book and a Linear Algebra book to help with the previous book. I'm also done with the Algebra book, been working on it for 10 months now, but this was along with learning from a DirectX.
So, onto the DirectX book, got Beginning DirectX 9 by Wendy Jones and I found to be a great book and helped me a hell of a lot compared to the earlier book I used. I know a lot more about it now than I did before, but there will always be some things I won't know completely, which is why it's best to go through it a couple of times before putting the book away lol. I've written some programs based on the books examples, but tried my best not to look at the code whilst writing it. I'm currently working on the last project in the book.
I'm not the kind of person who can just think of a problem to solve and write a program for it. So the way I've been learning is by reading through the examples, making sure I know exactly what each part does and how each class works with other classes. I write like bullet points on each function or class in a word document, very vague description as to not give to much away and try my best to write a program from it. I do get errors and do manage to resolve them. The programs usually are up and running without any problems after that. I know the best way to learn programming is to program, but I've not come across anything that would require me to write a program... Sadly...
So I've been learning from books, checking these forums, and I have actually been writing code and not just reading through stuff completing ignoring my compiler lol.
My plan was to try out Indie development and actually make a living off of it, if I'm any good, but I would like to have a safety net just incase that doesn't work out for me. Because I don't have any qualifications from College, I'm unable to go to University until I do. I actually find it easier to learn at home, in my time, it's comfortable, it's relaxing and I don't have to worry about other students, spending money on transport or giving up my job. I found an A level Mathematics course online which offers UCAS points when you complete the course which is what is required to get into uni over here, along with a ton of money... I've heard A level Maths isn't easy, but I couldn't find anything else online that was any good, I know maths is important and I actually enjoy maths, so I've just got to put in the extra effort to learn as much as I can and pass the exams.
I would also have to take on another course to get the rest of the points, and if I do manage to get enough points, I was thinking of taking an online Computer Science course by the University of Hertfordshire. It does offer a Bachelors of Science with Honours in Computer Science if I pass at the end. I will post the link for this course and you can check the course material:
It doesn't have as much content compared to actually going to a campus, but it's cheaper and it could still offer me a safety net for the future.
So I just wanted people's opinions and want to know if other people are in my position and are doing alright or have already been in my position and maybe not doing so good.