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Help with schooling decision

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My son is at Cal Poly in Software Engineering. He has just looked at Westwood College and they have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Game Software Development. QUESTIONS - 1. Have you heard of Westwood College? If so what do you think about them? 2. Is it the curriculums which is important or do you feel a degree from Cal-Poly is more important to companies that are hiring a new graduate? THX for any and all input!

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I don't know Westwood college but it seems to be more of a vocational/trade/junior college. Perhaps more like university of Phoenix, Devry, etc then Cal Poly. I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with those schools I know people who have done well and all sorts of schools. However, I would bet it is more geared toward teaching the particular trade or program than giving an all around education. I would first off make sure the program is accredited before even thinking about it. Otherwise you might end up with a worthless degree. But assuming it is a fully accredited BS program, other factors can be considered.

Some trade schools fall into a problem of teaching the tools. They show you how to run the programs and the tools without giving you a base understanding of the systems.

Also as an employer looking at my first pass of resumes, I would give higher weight to a respected school I know. If they have a great CS program even better. But Cal Poly would certainly look better than Westwood college on a resume. That said, since most schools don't teach game development directly, the industry relies a lot on demo work and sample code and projects to evaluate talent. Someone from a totally unknown school with a great set of demo code and who really knows his stuff would get a big reaction over an MIT grad with no experience.

If it were me, and I was close to getting my degree and I like the school, I would stick with Cal Poly. If they aren't really teaching the exact tasks he is into for game work, there are lots of ways to suppliment this education. Take an extension or night course at Westwood or someplace offering a game programming course. Better yet, hook up with other students that are into games (I am sure there are a few) and work on an independent project. The internet has provide a great and free source of learning that wasn't there when I got started.

For now, he shouldn't sweat the actual game programming stuff too much. Just learn software engineering and soak up all Cal-poly has to offer. Hook up with other like minded students. Check out lots of internet sources like this, Gamasutra, and IGDA.org, get involved in the community, work on some fun demo projects, and do the best work he can.



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A Software Engineering degree from Cal Poly is 100 times more valuable than a Game Software Development degree from Westwood College and elsewhere, even in the video game industry.

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