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Top notch programming colleges

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Hey everyone, I am 16, in highschool and requesting some info about good programming colleges. I am wondering what some colleges are that offer top notch computer science, programming, etc programs. I am interested in going to a college of this sort and want to know where to begin my research. All your help is appreciated - Jesse Barksdale P.S. I am referring to all forms of programming, not just game programming specifically.

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I also have been wondering about this. I will be a senior this coming year, and have been looking at a bunch of colleges in my state (CA). It seems that most big universities have a decent computer science program which offers classes in almost all areas you''d be interested in. I would suggest checking out the website of a school your interested in, and just checking out their computer science section. You can also check this site. THey have a pretty good list of schools with good game programming/computer science courses.

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Stanford, Carnegie Melon, Chapel Hill (in North Carolina). There are MANY others but those were on the top of my list before I graduated. Just don''t do a technical or "game programing/design" school. Employers want a real degree, but remember, they want experience more.

"Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none." - Shakespeare

Dirge - Aurelio Reis
www.CodeFortress.com
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@Dirge
I am also looking for good colleges for programming, keeping in mind I would like to be a game developer someday. I couldn''t agree with you more on employers wanting expirience, however, you say "Just don''t do a technical or ''game programming/design'' school. Employers want a real degree". I am not disagreeing with that statement, I just wonder what information you have to back that up (Have you talked to employers, etc)

I was going to try to explain this without naming exact schools, but oh well. I totally see what you are saying, Dirge, in the case of the game design degree from Full Sail. But I have been really looking into DigiPen, I even visited there and talked to everyone, and their "Real Time Interactive Simulation programming" degree is way harder and requires more devotion than any other college I have ever seen. Even if its not quite the standard ''real'' degree you speak of, it more than makes up for it with expirience, and by that I mean you come out of that school with mulitple -finished- games that you can show employers.

Well, I don''t know if you were referring to more non-game programming when you said dont do a technical school, or if Digipen is an exception or what, but like I said, I don''t disagree with you, I just wanna talk about this more as it is a very big upcoming decision for me- normal computer science college expirience, or Digipen.

Thanks! & Anybody is welcome to respond to my thoughts

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Guest Anonymous Poster
When people in the industry who are not affiliated with Digipen are asked about it, they tend to say it''s better to get a ''standard'' comp sci degree somewhere else.

Don''t believe me, though. Make a list of game companies you''d like to work at and email the hiring managers directly. They''ll answer more often than not.

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Yes, DigiPen will better prepare you for a job in the game industry. It''s focus is primarily on programming and related math courses, much moreso than a standard Computer Science degree. If you really want to be a game programmer, then that''s the place to go.

--------------------
Matthew Calabrese
Realtime 3D Orchestra:
Programmer, Composer,
and 3D Artist/Animator
"I can see the music..."

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I''d have to suggest go for a tour of a university known for it''s software engineering and that has a coop program, or check into the colleges in your area and see what sort of courses they have to offer. The university program will be slightly more theoretical, while the college program will be more hands on. Either way, if you''ve done much coding on your own you''re probably not going to have much problems with the practical aspects of the curriculum, so may want to consider the university simply because it''ll be more material that you''ve likely not encountered before.

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quote:
Original post by Matt Calabrese
Yes, DigiPen will better prepare you for a job in the game industry. It''s focus is primarily on programming and related math courses, much moreso than a standard Computer Science degree. If you really want to be a game programmer, then that''s the place to go.

--------------------
Matthew Calabrese
Realtime 3D Orchestra:
Programmer, Composer,
and 3D Artist/Animator
"I can see the music..."



As a graduate from a game programming college I have much to say about this subject. First and foremost if your not absolutely dedicated to game programming, then DO NOT I repeat DO NOT go to a college that offers a game design/programming degree. Now I hate to target a specific group of people, however from my experiance those students who came directly out of High School and went into a game college had a tendancy to get lost in their newly found freedom. Drinking, Drugs, Partying, and Everquest lead to alot of students failing classes, and bringing their team down with them. If you want this type of freedom head to a regular 4 year university and join a frat house.

Now although Digipen and Full Sail "prepare" you, they do not actually get you a job. That''s your job, and the only way to do it is to work your butt off, network, have a nice resume, the ability to interview well, answer questions on programming tests that companies like EA give out, and a little bit of luck never hurt either.

Both regular colleges, and game colleges have their up sides and down sides. For instance regular colleges focus on alot of theory, they ingrain alot of these theories into your head. And most game company "Programming Tests" I''ve seen seem to be targeted at the Computer Science grad students. The usual problem with these students is that they know how to program, but they don''t know how to work with the tools that are used in the industry like 3d Studio Max, MSVC++, and so on.

On the other side of the coin game programming colleges spend alot of time working with the tools that are in use in the industry, but alot of the theory that you would''ve picked up in a regular CS program is lost. So it''s a mixed bag of nuts.

On another note I''ve also taken Computer Science classes at a regular university, and I have this to say. If you go to a university for computer science, make sure it''s on the top 20 list of computer science schools in the nation. Otherwise you could be suckered out of alot of money for a bad education. Schools such as MIT (Top in the nation for I don''t know how many years), and Carnegie Mellon are the types of schools you can get a real education. And I''m positive that a Degree from MIT holds more weight than a degree from Digipen. But Digipen/Full Sail are much better than the majority of the colleges that are not on the top 20 list of Computer Science schools. If you want to see the list you can do a search on google.com for the top computer science colleges.

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www.abertay.ac.uk this university in Scotland, UK has some game programming courses, if there is also any one else after UK programming courses go to: www.ucas.ac.uk to search for them

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Yes,

Thanks a bunch. All your comments are very helpful. Keep them coming! Here is another question, what kind of different fields are available to a programmer besides game development.

- thanks

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Someone mentioned Chapel Hill - note that they are well known for their _graduate_ programs in computer science, namely in graphics and related fields (i.e. collision detection).

I went to Duke and earned several degrees, including computer science - while Duke is not known for computer science, it is still considered a top-tier school in general. I earned my MS in computer science from NC State. I TA''ed the intro computer science courses at State and will be the first to tell you that I thought the courses at NC State were every bit as difficult as Duke''s, if not harder.

I have always been involved in interviewing programming candidates at all three companies I have worked for, and I will tell you right now that the 15 seconds I give someone when I look at their resume is spent more in job experience than in education. A good college might help you land a better first job (since there is nothing else to look at on your resume), but after that I really don''t think it matters much. Some schmoe from Bob''s U. who knows his stuff in the interview will get the job way before some dumbass from a good university who can''t explain to me what a virtual function is, which happens quite a bit.

And to be honest, NC State ended up being free, and Duke was greater than 100k.


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My advice (as I think was previously mentioned), get a real degree, either in Computer Science or Software Engineering. Any programmer, with the skills from getting a degree, can be a game programmer providing they have a passion for gaming. However, if you go to a school that just teaches you how to make a game, you''re less likely to come out with valuable skills to get started with an employer. I can''t bash DigiPen or similar schools because I''ve never been to them, this is just my opinion.

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If you''re picking a college, do yourself a favor and go to one of THESE schools:

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/engineering/phd/computer.htm

This a list of the top Computer Engineering schools in the country, but all of these schools have really excellent Computer Science programs as well. Although I''m not sure why Texas A&M is on this list.

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