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tleisher

Programming as a Career

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Hi, I've been programming my entire life. C++, C#, .NET, ASP, HTML, PHP, etc. and I would consider myself knowledgeable. Granted there is still a LOT that I don't know but I can learn that as time goes on. So I'm curious, do you think that a job REQUIRES a degree, or would a demo game or something be better in the long run for a career in programming? I'm more of a "teach myself" kinda guy, and I would rather not spend 5 years and $80,000 to teach me something I already know for a diploma. I plan on getting certified in Cisco, PHP, A+ for Computer Repair, and various other Certificates (Such as one from the Game Institute online). Do you think that all of these certs and a demo game would be all that I need to springboard myself into a career in game programming?

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Original post by tleisher
I'm more of a "teach myself" kinda guy, and I would rather not spend 5 years and $80,000 to teach me something I already know for a diploma.

Just one question. How do you know that it'll only teach you "something you already know"?

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Cisco, PHP, A+ for Computer Repair, and various other Certificates (Such as one from the Game Institute online)

I can't really see any of those being useful. Of course "various other" is hard to judge accurately, and the Game Institute one may impress some people (although to be honest, I doubt it)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
How old are you? If you are in teens still, I would do the college thing. Spend your first 2 years at community college on the cheap. Then transfer to a public university.

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I'm 20 years old. I just don't want to spend five years in college, especially the first two years dealing with something I'm never going to use (General Education) rather then just teaching myself what I need to know and programming on my own.

It would teach me new stuff, yes, but what I meant by "Things I already know" as in the basics of everything that wouldn't really get into anything new until my senior year.

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Sure, it's possible to get a game programmng job without a degree. It's also possible to get one without having a good portfolio of game demos. Of course, you'll be competing against those who have both.

I'm not sure how likely it is to get a game programming job without a degree; I know the Aussie job market would be stacked against you as nearly all applicants would have some kind of degree. I expect it's similar world wide.

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Original post by tleisher
So I'm curious, do you think that a job REQUIRES a degree, or would a demo game or something be better in the long run for a career in programming?


I make $115,000/yr as a senior programmer at a major semiconductor manufacturer, and I don't have a degree. Now, I'm probably the only guy working there without a degree except for the janitorial staff. It is also true that HR didn't like this so much, but I had a lot of backing from my boss and the rest of the team that wanted to hire me. So, unless you're exceptional and can prove you've done a lot of cool stuff, you should expect to show some goods. I've also worked for several years as a senior developer at EA and Sony, I just prefer the advantages of writing software for a non-software company.

Of course, I have 18 years of programming experience too as well as some college. But at the end of the day, I'm sorry that I don't have a degree. I'm always thinking of going back and getting it.

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I'm not afraid to work hard, and create something amazing to show. But I was browsing a lot of jobs on Gamasutra and company websites and a lot of their jobs don't say that they require a degree, they just say proficient skills in programming.

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Original post by tleisher
I'm not afraid to work hard, and create something amazing to show. But I was browsing a lot of jobs on Gamasutra and company websites and a lot of their jobs don't say that they require a degree, they just say proficient skills in programming.

It is hard to say, the chances of getting short listed by HR when sorting hundreds of CVs is a lot lower when you don't have a degree to your name. It also doesn't help when you don't have a standard education background in software engineering which a lot of companies are looking for nowadays.

If you do decide to try to get in the industry without a degree, the easiest way is to go through someone you know that is in the industry.

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Quote:
Original post by tleisher
Hi, I've been programming my entire life. C++, C#, .NET, ASP, HTML, PHP, etc. and I would consider myself knowledgeable. Granted there is still a LOT that I don't know but I can learn that as time goes on.

So I'm curious, do you think that a job REQUIRES a degree, or would a demo game or something be better in the long run for a career in programming?

I'm more of a "teach myself" kinda guy, and I would rather not spend 5 years and $80,000 to teach me something I already know for a diploma.

I plan on getting certified in Cisco, PHP, A+ for Computer Repair, and various other Certificates (Such as one from the Game Institute online). Do you think that all of these certs and a demo game would be all that I need to springboard myself into a career in game programming?


Chances are, you are already qualified for an entry-level programming position.

You would be SURPRISED at how much knowledge you really need to have to be a professional developer. It's much less then you think. I've dealt with a co-worker who's a 'level 2 developer', who couldn't even tell you what PHP is....

I am 100% self taught... Got my first job consulting and now I'm doing the corporate thing... I only first learned what a variable was just 3 years ago or so (when I first joined these forums about)... and now I have about 2 years professional experience.

I've had a friend on here post the nearly same thing you posted... I told him basically the same thing, 'chances are you are already over qualified'... I told him just go for and don't sell himself short... he started looking, and got a job rather fast as a professional developer... then, after he worked there for like a month, he already knew he was way over-qualified for his position....

don't sell yourself short!!! I have dealt with people who are professional paid developers who would have trouble programming a VCR... get your resume out there and get your ass on some interviews!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
It may seem unfair (and it likely is), but where I work your demo would never get seen. Our HR staff would never pass your package on to the programming teams to look at. They would circular file it when they saw there was no degree when there are many dozens on the stack that do have a degree.

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