When making up a game design document, do you usually document every piece of code that goes into it, or do you just document info about the various libraries, art assets, items, characters, etc?
None of the above. Planning for the technology goes into the TDD, not the GDD. Do you want to ask about Technical Design Documents rather than GDDs? If so, ask that in the For Beginners forum, not the Game Design forum.
Another question: What tools do you usually use when writing up a design document? I tend to use an office program like LibreOffice, but I'd like to find something else to do diagrams, charts, and tables in (although tables aren't that hard to do in LibreOffice, but if there's a better way to do them that would be nice too.)
The standard is Microsoft Word for the document itself. For diagrams you can use any paint utility (even MS Paint can make perfectly good diagrams), pasted into the doc as needed. For charts and tables, the standard is Microsoft Excel. The tables and charts can be pasted right into the doc.
would [it] be possible for a computer science graduate to build his way up until that position (entering in an entry level job and build his way up until CEO, executive positions or even a CIO position)
Of course it's possible! It should be self-evident that pretty much anything is "possible."*
But what is it you're really trying to figure out?
*Except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek holodeck.
The route you've chosen, Nero Nano, is a very expensive one with low probability of succeeding. A university's career development office can't perform miracles. The problem is that you've set your sights on an American job and you don't have an American work visa and you don't live in America. Getting the work visa is hard, unless you have a lot more than a degree (and a master's degree does not reduce that difficulty). I suggest you continue doing remote work, or get a job anywhere you can, and build your resume/CV. With strong experience and CV, you will find it easier to get an American job. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m72.htm
As for your plan to build connections in the US while going to Full Sail: Mostly you'll build connections with other students. And you'll be located in Florida, which is not a major game hub.
J. Faraday, how about you? Are you a game developer? Have you broken into the industry? Did you go to college? Did you learn on your own" Did you have a friend or acquaintance that helped you get the job? Did you have any connection with the company you worked for? Did you have a portfolio? Resume? When did you get the job? How long had/have you worked there? Also, if that first industry job is not the job you have now, what did it take for you to get the job you have now? Why did you leave? How long did you work at your first job, how many jobs in between, etc. Did you make a connection with the company you're at now before you applied? What did you do differently to get the job you have now, of applicable? Try to be as specific as possible. I think it's just fair, when asking people to tell their story, that the asker start by telling his own.
1. This might build my portfolio 2. but will it lead to a job?
1. I don't see how it could NOT build a portfolio. And that is exactly what I suggest you do - build a portfolio. 2. Nobody can foretell your future for you. Where do you live (how many game companies are within daily commuting distance of where you live)?
There is no standard valuation method. The entrepreneur typically calculates a higher valuation than the capitalist does. 'Tis always thus, and ever shall be. There are numerous valuation methods - you simply have to come up with a range, and be prepared for the capitalist to come in below that (or at the bottom of your range), and then to negotiate.
I just graduated high school and my son was born a few weeks ago... I would like to consider myself a decent programmer, but I tend to favor C++ ... I can create the simplest of applications in Java, C#, Visual Basic, etc, and that is pretty much it. My question is now, how can I get a job w/o a degree and w/o knowing in depth many of the languages that are in demand right now? I've searched around everyone wants web developers from what I see on craigslist in my area. I also don't live in a big city so I don't believe there will be many programming opportunities around.
Renthalk, you have a problem. You are not mobile (unless your wife, assuming you're married, is willing to move), and you want a job you're not qualified for, even if there were game jobs in your area. Assuming for the sake of discussion that there were several game companies within daily commuting distance of your home, they're surely looking for a degree and a portfolio, unless you're willing to take an entry level non-programming job such as QA for instance.
Today I took my summer class to visit Treyarch, where the company president and two producers who spoke to my class ALL started in entry-level non-programming jobs. I constantly hear people say "sure, it used to be that QA was a reasonable entry level pathway, but not any more," or "sure, QA can be a reasonable entry pathway, but only for Production." Not so. You can rise to any position you're well suited and prepared for, once you get your foot in the door.
You are not prepared for a game programming job with your current résumé. I recommend you first read this forum's FAQs (I moved your thread to the Game Industry Job Advice forum), then get to work on a portfolio. But if you must stay where you are, and if there are no game jobs near you, then your only recourse (in games) is indie.