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College Major Dilemma- Should I continue to major in Art or something else that have better job prospects


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#1 emark.mark20   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

First of all, I would like to thank you for your time if you are reading this.  I am aware that Tom Sloper already has an article about what should college students major in if thinking of going into the video game industry. However, the reality of this economy is giving me more questions about college major relevancy and I am seeking your opinions on them as well as suggestions on what I should do. I appreciate it if you are reading this too Tom.

 

Ok, here it goes;

 

As of right now, I am a sophomore at Brooklyn College aspiring to be a games artist (and hopefully, a game designer or producer). Originally, I wanted to major in Multimedia Computing as a freshman because I thought that doing art and coding would be beneficial to get a job as a game designer and in the industry in general. Furthermore, I felt that learning the same skills that computer science students learn would lead me to better job prospects in case my plans for breaking in the industry fail miserably. Unfortunately, I found that the major requires lots of coding and I found out that I am so bad at that skill. I would not be hired at all if my back up plan were to happen. After seeking Tom’s advice as well as the advice of the forum members in this site I decided to pursue my real passion: art. Thus, I am majoring in studio art and it is still my major as of right now.

 

One day, I stumbled upon an internet article of the worse college majors and art is one of them. I looked more into this topic and after reading these following articles and one book:

 

www.forbes.com/sites/.../10/.../the-10-worst-college-majors

 

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/01/27/what-is-liberal-arts-degree-worth-these-days/  

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/53-of-recent-college-grads-are-jobless-or-underemployed-how/256237/

 

“The New College Reality” by Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder

 

These led me to believe that art students like myself would have a difficult time getting a job than students majoring in computers, business, or education. To quote from the book “Old Rule: It doesn’t matter what you major I, as long as you get your degree. New Rule: Majors matter.” To quote another from the same book, “Some people say, ‘Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ This advice sounds good to an aspiring artist, but it is hard to love what you do when your home is being foreclosed on and you can’t afford health insurance.” Basically, my art degree isn’t financially rewarding in this economy. The advice of majoring what interests you doesn’t seem to apply these days and I became pretty much lost afterwards.

 

So I have two options I am thinking about:

  1. Continue the art major and keep building that portfolio in the hopes of getting an internship, and into the games industry years afterwards. Of course, I still risk being un-employed in this economy while mainstream majors reap the benefits of their education 
  2. Go into my original major prospect: Multimedia computing. Still, I run the risk of bad test grades on coding again. As I stated above, I highly doubt anyone would hire me if my coding skills are bad. Going to another mainstream major may achieve the same bad results as well since it’s not like I am interested in something like financial business (It would be great if I did, I’d be a great math genius!)

Case in point, there doesn’t seem to be an easy route but no one said that life was easy. I still have to be “true to myself” of course but I need to be financially well off as well after collage. So what do you suggest I do? Has anyone had a similar dilemma before?

 

Thanks for the advice



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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9170

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:25 PM

"Possible future earnings" should be one factor in your decision grid, but not the only one.  Your passion should be a weighted factor.  See FAQ 70 for more about how to make a decision grid. 

Are you a spectacular artist?  If so, getting an art degree would not be a mistake. 

Are you an untalented hack at art?  If so, one wonders why you chose art, and you should choose something you're better at (and still interested in). 

Since nobody can foretell your future and say whether an art degree would be a mistake for you, you have to make this decision based on the factors that are important to you and based on probabilities and percentages (and pure guesswork).


-- 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.

#3 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1354

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:18 PM

dude just do something practical. I know you, me and the rest of us here wanna work in the game industry, but it is insanely hard to get into. Dont put so much on the line for something you most likely will not get (a job as a game dev). Here are the majors I recommend if you want a job: Engineering, Nursing, Accounting, FInance, Computer Science, Information Technology. Stay away from the liberal arts if you want a job. I might sound harsh, but its just my advice. I dont mean to be offensive or anything



#4 emark.mark20   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

dude just do something practical. I know you, me and the rest of us here wanna work in the game industry, but it is insanely hard to get into. Dont put so much on the line for something you most likely will not get (a job as a game dev). Here are the majors I recommend if you want a job: Engineering, Nursing, Accounting, FInance, Computer Science, Information Technology. Stay away from the liberal arts if you want a job. I might sound harsh, but its just my advice. I dont mean to be offensive or anything


Interesting that you suggested I take option 2 in my post. I found a post reguarding your dobts in c++ class http://www.gamedev.net/topic/635716-i-feel-paranoid-about-taking-programmingcs-classes/#entry5010080 and it sounds like the issue of what i had. I took intro to c++ and like you, i can't keep up with the class (although i never taught myself programming in my own time, i taught myself art in my own time instead.). Like you, I decided to forget about programming classes because it wasn't working for me. Like I said before, option 2 was my initial plan before my art major but it backfired on me so I feel like I don't have a safe major anymore. I still consider taking something more mainstream but the question is, will I succeed even with a lack of interest? Also, I would like to know, how did you choose your major? Why did you take your major?

#5 emark.mark20   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:22 AM


Are you a spectacular artist?  If so, getting an art degree would not be a mistake. 


I don't consider myself spectacular because I am in the process of making my artwork better. I love art and that love for it was one of the reasons why I switched to that major. (The other reason was that I keep getting low scores in my programming class and that I am bad with math)

Are you an untalented hack at art?  If so, one wonders why you chose art, and you should choose something you're better at (and still interested in). 


I don't believe I am an untalented at art. I did artwork myself and honestly, I am better at that than anything in the sciences, especially programming

I would say I am in between those options because I am building myself up to being "spectacular" and I am finding ways to make my art great so that employers would hire me. Yes I still want to be well off but if I believe that I major in something practical, I would probably fail like I did before an I had no choice but to submit to my passions in the hopes I would get a job like that after graduation.

It really feels like running the Death Star trench run in Star Wars you know, and that is really terrifying

#6 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9761

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:30 AM

One can make money in art if one is talented and passionate about it. One can also fail to make money in a technical field if one is neither talented nor passionate about it.

 

 

Ideally, all 3 of "do what you love", "do what you are good at", and "do what will is profitable" will align, but I doubt that they do for the majority of individuals (especially straight out of college). Follow your talent and your heart, and you'll end up somewhere...


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#7 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

One can be a hack and still be an artist for games. I mean look at me! biggrin.png

 

But the big secret is developing video games isn't for the faint of heart. One can sink months into a mobile game that doesn't sell or you could spend years working on a dream game, always creating new iterations while trying to keep up with technology and never releasing it.

 

The road to success is a rough one. I suggest if you're not that strong as an artist right now but thats your passion, then chase after it with everything you've got!

 

Take on as many projects as you can handle; one after another with no breaks!

Find projects that play to your strengths to help you refine your style!

Tackle projects that aren't your forte to help you diversify!

Do stuff other than game art! Work on childrens books, web and print comics, shady requests from deviantArt!

Get used to doing things for others and in their time frame! (or set weekly goals like have 10 illustrations done by Thursday)

 

You will get better with practice. And if you're a little uncertain right now, then practice more. And when you're done practicing, practice some more.

 

If you chose art as a degree, then don't get cold feet now. Instead, make it work for you.

 

It might not be easy, but nothing worth doing has ever been easy.


Edited by DaveTroyer, 18 January 2013 - 01:21 PM.

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#8 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19803

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

Re-iterating the advice:  You should try to follow your passions.

 

If your passion is art, then by all means go for an art degree.

 

But make sure you temper it with a dose of reality.  There are schools where tuition is a few hundred per semester, and there are schools were tuition is tens of thousands per semester.  Hopefully you included the cost of the school in your decision.  Don't go into debt six figures for a degree where you will be lucky to earn 50,000/year when you start out.  


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.




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