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College Considerations


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#1 BKrenz   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:18 PM

Hello everyone!

 

I'm currently a second year college student with my current major as Computational Mathematics. I've kind of lost interest in the math side, though I'm still only in Calculus. The future courses required for my major include Linear Algebra, Discrete Math, Graph Theory, etc. I also have a bunch of required CS classes that I'll have to take.

 

My interest has shifted to Game development, specifically the programming side. I've been teaching myself some programming the past couple years, so I'm ahead of my peers. I have yet to actually make any games, though. I have a couple of ideas, and I'm fleshing out the ideas. However, no actual coding work has been done. I figure this is what I should work on. One big thing that really demotivated me recently was a talk I had with my professor. I told him I'd been teaching myself and was currently reading Bjourne Stroustrup's latest C++ book (4th ed.). He ended up recommending that I wait to learn CS concepts and whatnot in classes, instead of teaching myself. That kind of seemed unprofessional to me: stifling a student's drive to go above and beyond.

 

With my main interests shifting, I've been considering switching to either CS or Software Engineering. The school offers a Game Design and Development degree, but I would feel a lot safer with either the CS or SE degree. I don't know specifically what I want to do as a career. I'm kind of shying away from a Game Dev career, and right now I think I'd rather keep it as a hobby.

 

Because of personal circumstances, I had to leave my first year of college mid-way through. This significantly affected my GPA and the amount of courses I've actually completed. As such, I didn't attend the career fair that took place at my university. A mistake most likely, though I knew I didn't have a chance with any companies. This also means I probably won't be able to switch majors for at least two more semesters, in order to pull my GPA up.

 

Currently I know a bit of Python and Java, the basics of C#, and was just starting to learn C++ when I had the conversation with my professor. I kind of feel as if I should focus on either C# or C++ for developing my own games. I think the games would go along nicely with school projects as things I could show off to potential employers.

 

 

So, my questions to you guys.

 

What would you recommend for me moving forward with college? I may change and want to enter the Game Dev industry, but that's not something I can answer now. I don't know how a Comp Math degree would look or what I would be expected to have knowledge of or work on in games. I'm interested in AI, so I think it may be a fit. Right now, I'm not interested in low level systems, though again anything may change.

 

I also think it would be pertinent to have a personal website. I don't have any web skills, and am not really interested in web design particularly. As such, it seems it would be best if I went with a website or something that has prebuilt templates and such. Easier and automated content creation. Can anyone recommend something like this?

 

Would you recommend one language over another for working in mainly for now? If so, what tools are available as benefits?



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20185

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:08 PM


What would you recommend for me moving forward with college?

If your goal is to write software professionally, then YES, ABSOLUTELY, if your circumstances allow it.

 

The standard filter that HR uses is a computer science degree. 

 

There are of course some exceptions, people who are professional programmers without a four year degree, but they are relatively rare these days and aging out of industry.

 

You don't compete in a vacuum. When people look at your job application they will see other people who do have a degree, and you who do not.  Which one will they pick?  Also, if they do pick you, it is well documented that workers without degrees are paid less than their peers. 


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 BKrenz   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:10 PM

 


What would you recommend for me moving forward with college?

If your goal is to write software professionally, then YES, ABSOLUTELY, if your circumstances allow it.

 

The standard filter that HR uses is a computer science degree. 

 

There are of course some exceptions, people who are professional programmers without a four year degree, but they are relatively rare these days and aging out of industry.

 

You don't compete in a vacuum. When people look at your job application they will see other people who do have a degree, and you who do not.  Which one will they pick?  Also, if they do pick you, it is well documented that workers without degrees are paid less than their peers. 

 

 

 

I think you misunderstood the question. I wasn't referring to whether or not I should stay in college - I most definitely am doing that. I was asking opinions on how to move forward with degree and class choices. Thank you for the feedback, though. 



#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9450

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:14 PM


I've been considering switching to either CS or Software Engineering. The school offers a Game Design and Development degree, but I would feel a lot safer with either the CS or SE degree. I don't know specifically what I want to do as a career.

What would you recommend for me moving forward with college?

 

Strongly recommend that you study the thing that interests you the most. Forget about applicability -- that'll sort itself out as long as you're doing what you enjoy.

 

I may change and want to enter the Game Dev industry, but that's not something I can answer now.

I don't know how a Comp Math degree would look

 

We don't either, since you don't know specifically what you want to do as a career.  Forget about how things look to imaginary hirers in an undetermined field.

 

or what I would be expected to have knowledge of or work on in games. I'm interested in AI, so I think it may be a fit.

I also think it would be pertinent to have a personal website.

 

Maybe not.  It depends on what you want to do as a career.


-- 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.

#5 BKrenz   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:18 PM

 

Maybe not.  It depends on what you want to do as a career.

 

How do you mean? I had thought that for a programmer a website may be a good idea. Having a place to display projects and possibly a place to post blog posts if I feel it's something important I want to say.

 

I would like to clarify that programming is what I am interested in mainly. I don't yet know which direction I'll take it, but I definitely want to do something involving coding.


Edited by BKrenz, 25 September 2013 - 08:18 PM.


#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9450

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:59 PM


How do you mean? I had thought that for a programmer a website may be a good idea. Having a place to display projects and possibly a place to post blog posts if I feel it's something important I want to say.
I would like to clarify that programming is what I am interested in mainly.

 

I was confused by the part where you said "I don't know specifically what I want to do as a career." 

Yes, a portfolio website is important for a game programmer -- but not until you have something to put on it.

Making a website is a lot like programming.  When you are ready to make one, you can easily learn how to do it.  That bridge is still far away.


-- 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.

#7 BKrenz   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:05 PM

I was confused by the part where you said "I don't know specifically what I want to do as a career." 

Yes, a portfolio website is important for a game programmer -- but not until you have something to put on it.

Making a website is a lot like programming.  When you are ready to make one, you can easily learn how to do it.  That bridge is still far away.

 

Likely my fault for not clarifying that in the OP, my apologies.

 

Alright, thanks for the advice regarding that.






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