I'm at a bit of a crossroads for deciding which direction to take with my programming. Specifically, what do you feel is more important for better preparing to entering the industry, a published title (aka a self-published indie game) or experience in a similar industry?
As a self-taught programmer, I feel I could learn a great deal interfacing with other developers in even a non game related, production environment, but I'm concerned that the general skill sets that I possess and want to improve, will not cross over between jobs ( 3d math, in engine scripting and UI, and other similar. This is just based on what I have seen. If this is inaccurate, I would love to know. ) Likewise, a complete, published game speaks to my credibility, but might not provide the best avenue for improving my own skills, since I would not be working with anyone more experienced than myself.
Just a quick sidenote about my experience thus far, to give a little better idea of where I stand: I started teaching myself around 4 years ago. I've completed several small flash games, but never published, or sold one. I've worked on a variety of projects in C++, and several other scripting languages, but again, no published or marketed final projects. I consider my coding ability to be solid, and I can typically pass any programming test I'm given. (at least, so far)
Thoughts? Which would you think is a more useful direction to go?