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Drunken nonsense follows...

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So I start work at Surreal next week. I totally can't wait. I didn't have any finals (all my classes are project based this semester [smile]), so I've had plenty of time this week to chill and get drunk (like right now), and play the new Pokemon game (which is awesome). I'm definitely ready to start working. After putting in 20+ credit hours a semester, I figure it's about time I actually get paid to program [wink].

Be warned, the rest of this post is pretty much a rant brought on by my inebriated state.

On Digipen, and tech schools in general:

As a Digipen student, I've been paying a lot of attention to this topic. All in all, I agree with JWalsh. Digipen and Fullsail and the like seem to prepare you very well (if you can handle the workload) to get entry level game development jobs, but I can't help thinking that the lack of theoretical studies hurts us as far as preparing for tech lead roles (and the like).

Now, I can really only speak for the Digipen program, since I'm mostly through it, but it is definitely more of a programming degree than a comp sci degree. We do still get a lot of theory, but not nearly as much as I would be exposed to otherwise. We have the basic algorithm analysis classes, and I can definitely prove algorithm correctness and recurance relations and the like, but probably not as well as if I had gotten a traditional degree. Plus, a lot of our math classes tend more towards theory, like the Curves and Surfaces class I'm currently taking and our quaternions class. But still, I can't help but feel that I'm learning a lot more about implementation details than theory, and with teachers that worked in the industry 5-10 years ago (if at all), I can't help but wonder how much of that implementation is dated at this point.

And I definitely would not recommend taking a 2 year "accelerated" course like Fullsail's, or any of that bullshit. At Digipen, we average about 20 credit hours a semester, and I can't imagine trying to compress that much stuff into 2 years of schooling. At least not in such a way that you actually have time to learn and digest any information.

I don't think I've really said all that much, but in summary: Given the choice between a tech school and a normal college, choose the normal college. The Digipen (or whatever is comparable) degreee may help you get a foot in the door, but I doubt you will be as well suited in the long run. Plus, you really miss out on the whole college experience. Basically, unless you are locked in on being a game programmer, and don't mind spending college surround by people who spend their free time playing Magic: The Gathering or DnD in the school cafeteria, go to a regular college. You'll learn more, and almost definitely have more fun doing it.
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