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ajhager

Should I go to College?

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I want to be a game programmer, but all my time is spent at work or doing college related activities. All I really want to do is study everything on my own. This will save time and allow me to learn more efficiently. I was wondering if it is possible to get into the gaming industry without some sort of BA or BS. Is a CS or other engineering degree (or any degree at all) required to land a game programming job? I thank you in advance for you help.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Go to College!

It''s like the professional sports stars that leave college after 1 year to go pro. Then they get injured in their second season of playing. They have nothing to fall back on.

Get a degree, it certainly can do nothing but help you. Plus, you will learn a lot. A lot more then just teaching yourself. Knowledge is power.

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A even the most basic CS classes will help you. You may not enjoy learning about trees, heaps and queues, but they will pop up later in game development. Not only that, but it makes you practice your C++/Java or whatever they teach you in.

In school, you also will most likely have at least one group programming project that loosly follows an actual development cycle. That helps you learn to work with other people as well as put a project together in a deadline situation.

Some colleges also have Game Design courses, which you will probably sleep through, but you may learn something there. Or maybe it will just be easy credits.

I wish I was able to take the Game Design class, but I''m graduating this December, and the class is first being offered in the Spring. Dissapointing, but I have learned a lot about game design on my own.

The anonymous poster is right. You should have something to fall back on if all doesn''t go well. From what I understand, companies do want well-rounded people. Who knows? You may get your first job at a game company writing tools for the rest of the team to use to make the game. All the data structures and other things you learned in getting your degree will come in handy there.

£§

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I''m gonna go out on a limb on this one. What I did was... I started college, BUT, I ended up realizing I hated school. Just like you I wanted to learn at my own pace. At the time I was working for a Game Company. I asked around and decided that the choice I made was the best. I didn''t persue a degree but I took all of the major framework of a BS in computer Science. Now it doesn''t sound like alot to people but it''s everything that has to do with the degree just without Health, Social Sciences, etc. of course I got now degree or certification BUT I do have the courses listed as my education which works for alot of people. But keep in mind that experience helps alot. I now have since started my first job as a Tools Programmer for a company and I love it.

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Sure its possible but only if you already know your stuff.
Stay in college while you try and land a job. You can quit if opportunity arises, but it is hard to get in the game industry so you really should have something to fall back on.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
School, learning only by yourself is hard on motivation....

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Unless you have a completed game that you''ve done on the side to show to prospective companies, get your degree. It shows that you should have learned a lot of the stuff that is becoming (or has pretty much already become) required in the industry. It''s getting more and more difficult to land that first job so the more you have to show the better you''ll look.

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Good posts all around, I have to agree with everyone here.

Go to college. If you can''t pay for it there''s financial aid. Whether you make it or not doesn''t matter, even if you are a game programmer they would prefer you to have a college degree.

My suggestion is to major in Computer Engineering, or something of the like. You will get not only a good education on programming, hardware, circuits, but also hands on experience.

In addition to these computer courses, you will get many math classes, which are priceless in programming.

And last but certainly not least, you will get courses like Critical Thinking, Philosophy, Psychology, etc. which are essential to programming and life in general. Critical Thinking is awesome because it teaches working in groups effectively, which will be extremely important in the future.

Good luck!

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Definitely get a degree. I never completed college and I am having such a hard time finding a job. You have to look at it from a companies perspective. If 1000 people apply for a job and 800 have a degree in CS and 200 don''t those 200 are going to be screened out almost immediately. A degree doesn''t just prove you have knowledge in a certain field but it also shows you are capable at working at something for a long period of time with out giving up. Like a game project. If you get a interview you may be able to prove to them that you would be a great asset but often you won''t even get that far. I plan on going back to college to get a degree as soon as I can find the time.

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The time when a degree is most often used as criteria is when someone who doesn''t know the job is doing the hiring (such as a hiring department / HR group / etc). Not that the actual people never use that as well, but from what I have been told, by many, is that these people who only do hiring cling to that as criteria because they don''t really know what any of the other stuff means.

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In my opinion, you''d do much better to at least get a basic 2-yr degree. I''m not in the game industry myself, but most of what I''ve read seems to indicate that it is not the land of milk and honey. Working long hours for a salary that''s not-that-great and dealing with lots of turnover is common. You can earn a living doing most anything if you''re detirmined, but there''s different levels of detirmination one can have. You may find yourself wanting a dreary 9-to-5 job babysitting an AS400 (there can certainly be lots of time to work on games as a hobby!). If you don''t like the whole game programming scene, then having even a 2-yr degree to get other jobs with is way better than having none.
~

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If you are dependant on people, go to college. If you like doing things alone, research books, examples, internet, etc. A solo developer might not bring the most impressive software to the market but they can make an extra buck or to. Ultimately working in the industry or a company, is the best way to learn. You will face real problems and (hopefully) overcome them.

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I like programming a lot because it comes natuarally to me, but I''ve decided it would be better if I majored in something else (electrical engineering) while doing programming on the side.

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GO TO SCHOOL!! It's no-doubt the best way to go in your situation. You won't be pleased if you decide to stay at home and find yourself living in your parents basement at age 40 playing nintendo. it's not cool. You gotta go to college, man.

[edited by - sab3156 on November 9, 2002 8:34:37 PM]

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Alot of degrees only help you out in the "theory" part (is different for each degree) and doesnt help you out much in the real world. i left school and only just got my year 11, not i dont NEED a degree, or any more schooling, i know who i need to know to get me places (and beliave me, i am so going places).

I prefer say " Go the way YOU want to go, live a little. ".

Ol''-School all da way

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You should get a CS or math degree. You may be able to learn the api''s and how to code on your own, but you will go further with a degree. The main thing I got was the math and knowledge of how everything works together under the hood. Soon games are going to need raytracing and bump mapping and if you don''t have the background you will look at the equasions and give up.

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Go to college. I was doing research on the industry for a class I am in, just something to help us plan out what classes we will take for the rest of highschool, and it said that the more successful companies and some of the less successful ones require at least a degree in computer science/engineering/graphics. In addition, its something you will be really glad you have and it can affect your pay. I was told that its a very competitive industry and the more education you have the better your chances on.

~Aerolithe
(New, improved signature comming soon. Release date in late 2003, but expect delays and cut out features)

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