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what do you need for the industry?

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What do you guys out there think: Is the only real important thing to know "programming"? Or is there need of something more? Or in other words: Is it enough to know a programming language? If so, is studying computer science (at university) useful at all? I''m REALLY considering if my choice of studying CS was the right one and if it wouldn''t have been better to just go working with my programming skills... so thanks for your answers!

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I''ve heard people say that getting a CS degree is enough preperation to do game programming. Of course, you''d want to do a lot of game programming on your own, but having a degree is a good thing when you want to look for a programming job. Plus, you''d have the option of doing more boring, professional programming if the game programming didn''t work out. I think that''s the most logical way to look at it.




http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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Knowing a single language is a start, but I strongly feel that the college degree is as important, if not more.

My reason for this is that languages and standards, and all the neat tools that everyone raves about tend to change from year to year. So when these new version come out, you need to have the strong basic skills (logic, math, etc) to adapt your programming to these changes.

I''ve said it many times, give me an intelligent person, with a strong math background, and I''ll make them a programmer in a month.

- Start Flames here -

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Why do you say you have to goto college to be any good at Math ?

I can name several people very good at Math naturally..

All you need is some Intelligence and perhaps some creativity for the industry, now intelligence can be natural (aka pick up on things quick) or you may have to goto University for 50 years.

My point is I believe it''s different for every individuals situation.

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Since I started programming 12 years ago I''ve had experience in 12 variations of languages. I can translate between them as well. I''m 20 right now with no college degree and have only taken C++ and Apple Logo in school. One year each. I took C++ my junior year and Logo in 7th grade. It took two years for me to finally be able to really maximize C++ and DirectX.

Everything I know I''ve taught myself. College is good if you need a structured learning environment. Reading books and just giving yourself tasks to do will accomplish the same thing. I learned all the languages I know by making games. Except for HTML.

If you have the time and money go for the degree. It won''t hurt and it definitly will help. If you don''t take math you''ll hurt yourself. You have to know logic and structure. Writing programs that do complex math functions is good practice both learning programming and systemizing tasks. You may think you''re good at math but you shouldn''t assume so. Take classes anyway.

You can make a programmer in a day but it takes years of dedication to make a good one.

Ben
http://therabbithole.redback.inficad.com

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Hi, im goign to be a little ''biased'' in this answer since i hate college pricks to the Nth level but lets try to be civilized

First a programmer (taken from "Game Architeture and Design") is just a code monkey... nothing more, nothing less... just a code monkey, code slave, whatever you prefer to call them but that''s what they are.

But then again, this would be the optimal situation, when all code is designed and only needs implementation, and since I never seen this happening, a programmer needs to design his code, so knowing the language well, their DO''s and DONT''s, programming paradigms will not make a better programmer, but a better code designer (sounds weird ? it is since we associate Code Design Process to Code Implementation) and this is where different people stand appart from the simpletons.

Now for college. College will teach you some goods things, I will not say it doesn''t, but it doesn''t mae a good programmer, or a good designer, or a good pianist, or a good carpenter, or a good god (if you ever find a college that has this course let me know) but will give you some means to be one. The only use I have for college is the library where I can get many books I want.

"College is good if you need a structured learning environment."
I don''t believe this is particularly correct. In college they teach you how to organize code how the teacher wants to... If a teacher says its bad to use a recursive function, you will stick to that ''Rule'' for 4 years until you will not use it in the future and making it hard to get down with the new technologies and paradigms. Also, in college, they generally teach program organization, but all the techniques go around the future projects you will have in school... If you use some of the design techniques you learn from college in a 5000+ lines of code program you will be wishing you just had a shotgun to blast that Mr. Slazinsky that thought you those principles. Also, some colleges still like to teach Fortran, or ADA or languages that are almost never used in our times.

My girlfriend is taking a CS major and I encourage her the most, but sometimes I just want to go to that damn college and kick the hell out of her teacher for teaching her such STUPID methods of programming. It''s just plain old sick.

About maths, physics, whatever, college will aid you in your learning, but a library will just do the same thing if you have some good books, and you have the internet to answer all those akward questions that you always have.

The game development ''scene'' usually take graduates or people with similiar experience, like programming small games, contract work, even game dev. work. But be aware, if you ever want to get out of the Game development ''scene'' you will need a degree to do bussiness application programming or similiar programming (or even server maintainance).


Bottom line, if you think you will get something out of college, go for it, if you don''t, you think you stand a chance with what you know, with what you accomplished, then ditch it and program like hell until someone notices you.



References for you book eaters:

Game Architeture and Design
Code Complete

You can find both on GameDev''s books section

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Akura:
I agree with what you have said and I disagree. I think your conclusions about a college education are true for some of the less than reputable schools out there. If you know what you are looking for, then a little effort in looking through the course outlines for a CS degree can show you just how disparate these degrees are from school to school. It also helps to know what you are looking for. Are you looking for a tech school or are you looking for theory based degree outline. I tend to think that a mixture of the two is nice, and prefer the weight to err on the side of theory.

While the information you say is in math books and physics books, the ability to comprehend it is not and all the reading in the world won't help you if you do not have the foundation for understanding it. College can give you that foundation understanding assuming it is a theory centric schedule of courses and not all C++/Java classes.

Let me give an example. Discrete Math is an average math course in any given CS program. I was fortunate enough to have this class taught to me by an exceptional professor and as a result my understanding of set theory, matrix math, parity, trees, rings, and patterns in math is higher than it could ever be without this course. I can't tell you how may times in the business world discrete math has proven useful. Many times I meet wizbang programmers that are self taught, that couldn't explain the first thing about why a binary tree works the way it does. Give em COM and DirectX and they can program using APIs until their hearts content. Ask them to do something outside of an API with little or no reference code to draw from and that lack of understanding begins to shine through. On the database side many people stumble with SQL beyond selecting a list from one or two tables because of their lack of set theory knowledge.

When someone comes on here and asks what it takes to get into the industry. If they want to become a programmer, I usually start by saying get a foundation in computer science. For many people who haven't been bred on computer, that foundation is in college and to that degree it is almost indespensible for them. If you happen to be one of the fortunate few that have been programming since you were born, then the degree itself is not as important as taking selected classes to solildify a foundation that is already established and to broaden that same foundation. In an industry where there are 6 moth product cycles on technology, and 1 year of experience is a senior level employee, I tend to look for people with exceptionally strong foundations when hiring for work on my projects. So my advice after this long post is to get a foundation in computer science and then focus on getting yourself a specific marketable skill. You will thank yourself in the end when that skill is made obsolete by a technology cycle and your the only one capable of adapting fast enough. Purely technical skills are not enough anymore.

Kressilac


Derek Licciardi
President
Elysian Productions Inc.

Edited by - kressilac on February 14, 2001 11:19:17 AM

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Oh one more note. Don''t laugh at the STUPID methods college is teaching your girlfriend. They provide her a frame of reference for using another company''s system that many self-taught programmers can not begin to comprehend. We all hate things like change-control, production promotion, code-reviews, and other such management controls companies use. The lack of those controls instantly tells me that a company does not have a grip on the software process and therefore can not be making money unless their clients are giving them money for nothing.

Don''t knock procedures just because you think you know better. From my position as Director of Software Development with one firm and CEO of Elysian Productions, I can tell you that self-taught programmers are a blessing and a problem. 90% of them have absolutely no organizational skills for their coding and that lack of structure breaks down the entire software process until they can be taught how to work with others whom already posess those organizational skills.

Sincerely
Kressilac

ps As you can tell from my posts, I can''t stand Hero''s. One should always have a sense of modesty in this field because you will NEVER know everything. Hell, someday a 12 year old may teach you something new and that is why this industry is so amazing.


Derek Licciardi
President
Elysian Productions Inc.

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Your right...
We should all goto some of those colleges that are a year behind technology.. Since Technology changes everyday it''s always good to be taught old methods, NOT.

I think the best thing is to stay upto date.
A revolutionary new company that want''s to use state of the art technology, .NET for example and it''s web services, You''re going to have to learn a whole new language/format therefor rendering those old techniques useless.

Don''t get me wrong university is good for alot of people but there *are* people out there with good Math, Calculus, Physics, Logic skill''s that can pick up on thing''s easily. (I''m not one of them)

Kressilac, are you saying "self-taught" programmer''s can''t teach themselve''s code organisation skill''s ?
My Code is extremely well organised, well commented on what functions do and how they work.. Hell I even Put declarations in Alphabetical order so I can easily find them if I need to.
I can''t comment ''exactly'' what your talking about organised code because frankly I''m not sure what your talking about, you could be talking about documenting your code for all I know.

Also from my own personal experience, Source Code, applications, and demonstrating my abilities get''s me work. Not some Computer Science Degree I slaved over 7 year''s ago.

Don''t get me wrong though that CSD did help for the first couple of years. Also books can teach you got techniques, code structure too. Let''s take a look, "TCP/IP" architecture of the technology, 3D Graphics Programming this book is not programming related (believe it or not) but teachs you everything you need to know about 3D programming.. this book helps with Trig and Calc skills. Then you have books like "Tricks of windows programming" This book teaches you good ''tricks'' to how you should programe windows games.

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Hey, first I dont say I know it all.. gessh, I'm programming for 6 years now but I'm not saying I know it all dont judge me as one k kressilac ?? )

now, things I saw bad in programming class fo gf

1) bad identing (I mean bad) for ex: forbiding the use of TAB and needs to use 4 spaces for each ident, this is prefclty waste cause pressing space 4 times will lead to someimes on 3 or 5 or 2 and ident will be ****

2) forcing to not return values and pass them as parameters, it may be all pretty and stuff.. but it makes code undertanding harder.

3) etc etc...

I'm not defending college is bad, I even said to go if you think you will learn things there, but it isnt the only way...

Discrete Math heh
my gf has that class...

(she is a fresh'girl') this year 70 students signed to CS
you know how many ppl signed to do the Discrete Math 1 exam ??? 500+ (doesnt look like college is helping them heh)

there are a lot of begginers books that teach you the basics, and the INTERNEt really gives you a big edge...

Im 18, program seriosuly since 12, (programmed on the spectrum when I was 8 but I dont count thaT) I dont know it all... damn i dont know about anything... BUT... I do know many things... and I know what a bin tree is, and i know how to implement a stack and a queue, and all that stuff...

I have books from AI to compiler design, to MFC to 3d to APIs to maths... learned all I know from them (and the net) and I dont regret it a bit, neve had a programming/computer class in my life

I work as general programmer (AI now) at a game dev comp...

"From my position as Director of Software Development with one firm and CEO of Elysian Productions, I can tell you that self-taught programmers are a blessing and a problem. 90% of them have absolutely no organizational skills for their coding and that lack of structure breaks down the entire software process until they can be taught how to work with others whom already posess those organizational skills."

College will not teach this to 5k+ lines program, trust me.. at least all that i seen, they tend to organize programs very badly...

I learned how to structure programs the hard way, I remeber doing a 2k+ lines program on pascal a few years ago, after 2 weeks i wanted to add something and took me more time to find the stuff in the code then anything else, and trust me, if u see my code now, u will have a blast running thou it, using it, modifying it, all structured, all commented, all detailed etc !! (i develop a very strict coding spec for myself)

and btw, I know what it is to work with unmessy code... had to did many times....


oh and btw, 12 years never happen, but 14 years old, it did ) heh

im glad to continue this post if u reply heh

ohh sorry about typing, in a hurry

(btw, im talking always about portuguese college)




Edited by - Akura on February 14, 2001 12:45:58 PM

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