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Chrono1081

Advice from people who have been there...

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Chrono1081    108
Im new to this site and Im looking for advice to see if I am on the right path here: I've dabbled in and out of programming for quite somtime. When I was in college I stopped programming and decided I wanted to be a photographer. Thousands of dollars in debt later (from camera equipment) I decided I'm bored with photography and wanted to go back to my true passion in life (game design). So I started applying to colleges again. I applied to DigiPen (and am waiting to here back from them) and applied and got accepted to Devry. (Which after reading the threads I regret). I dont think I will get into DigiPen immediatly so Im gonna use Devry to get me to DigiPen and hopefully get a masters from them. Does this sound like the right plan? Are there other schools anyone suggests? (Im currently 25 and dont want to mess up my college plans for a 3rd time lol) Oh and I'm not one of those who things game design is all fun and games. I know exactly what its like and what to expect as far as courses go. I used to make games in C looooong ago. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :) Thank you.

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Sneftel    1788
Quote:
Original post by Chrono1081
I've dabbled in and out of programming for quite somtime. When I was in college I stopped programming and decided I wanted to be a photographer. Thousands of dollars in debt later (from camera equipment) I decided I'm bored with photography and wanted to go back to my true passion in life (game design). So I started applying to colleges again. I applied to DigiPen (and am waiting to here back from them) and applied and got accepted to Devry. (Which after reading the threads I regret). I dont think I will get into DigiPen immediatly so Im gonna use Devry to get me to DigiPen and hopefully get a masters from them. Does this sound like the right plan? Are there other schools anyone suggests? (Im currently 25 and dont want to mess up my college plans for a 3rd time lol)

Jesus Christ. You certainly know how to hemorrhage money, don't you?

Don't bother going to a vocational school to get you ready to go to a vocational school. I'd suggest not going to a vocational school at all, but it's up to you.

What were your past messed-up college plans which have led you to come up with this strategy?

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Chrono1081    108
Well, I originally went to a tech school to learn more programming, problem was it was (at the time) waaay below my level. It was very entry level stuff (we never got farther then nested loops!) so I quit from there to go to Penn State. At Penn State, after two years I realized they had nothing to offer me in the way of computer science so I decided to go back to a tech school. (where Im at now)

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smitty1276    560
When I was in my early-mid 20's, just a bit younger than you, I was in a similar boat. I had too many interests, changed my major too many times, and ended up with a lot of debt, no degree, and no motivation to go to a "traditional" college/university. I looked at Full Sail, Digipen, etc., but they were prohibitively expensive for me at the time.

In retrospect, that was a very good thing. I ended up just swallowing my pride and willing myself to go back to a "regular" 4-year university. I declared CS as my major, put my head down and just started churning out A's (amazing how much easier it is when you aren't 18-22 anymore and are motivated by a desire to compensate for lost time).

I suggest doing the 4 year thing. You probably have a lot of early pre-requisites and general ed type stuff done already, based on your post, and can get straight to the meat and potatoes of CS curriculum. Take internship or "cooperative" type jobs and by the time you graduate, you will have companies fighting over you if you work hard and get good grades.

I SHOULD ADD that it will be very beneficial for you to try to do any internship or coop work in a position that involves real-time programming, graphics, or, preferably, both. If you can't do that, make sure that you have a personal portfolio--by the time you graduate--that shows off some game-development related knowledge.

For electives, get as much graphics, vision, and other hard-sciency coursework as possible. Those will set you apart from the crowd. I, personally, got the dean to let me substitute advanced physics courses for the general-ed requirement for biology. That sort of thing garnered positive reaction, it seemed.

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Ravyne    14300
Do not go to Devry, ITT, University of Pheonix or any of these trade-school programs.

There are plenty of threads on the University/Digipen debate, and while there are defenders and detractors on both sides of that issue, everyone agrees that trade-schools such as Devry are worth zip.


If you've got your mind set on reaching Digipen, either jump right in to the B.S. program or attend an accredited state university for a B.S in Computer science, following up with the M.S. Program at Digipen. If you dedicate yourself to personal projects during University, its likely you can even skip Digipen.

There are quite a few Universities which now offer specializations in their computer science programs geared toward games and interactive media. The Guildhall at SMU is one that comes to mind. The University of Southern California has one as well and these are definatley worth looking into.

I, myself, graduated from Digipen, as have several well-known forum members here. Digipen is very different than these trade-school programs in as much as the classes are actually more academically geared than a place such as Devry or even Fullsail. The difference between Digipen and University is essentially that Digipen sacrifices some breadth and theory in favor of Project classes which build the student's portfolio. On the other hand, Digipen also provides a more practical foundation, in many ways, than a traditional University Degree -- There's a lot of focus on actually doing at digipen, its not all about theory -- the same cannot be said of all universities.

Here are some recent threads you might be interested in looking at.
Full Sail: Is it worth it?
Reality Of Being A Game Programmer
ITT-Tech game design program
Question concerning Digipen Requirements

The first one is really a must-read.

[Edited by - ravyne2001 on May 2, 2007 9:55:56 PM]

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JohnBolton    1372
Quote:
Original post by Chrono1081
I dont think I will get into DigiPen immediatly so Im gonna use Devry to get me to DigiPen and hopefully get a masters from them.

I don't understand this. How will going to Devry help you get into Digipen?

Quote:
Original post by Chrono1081
Well, I originally went to a tech school to learn more programming, problem was it was (at the time) waaay below my level. ... so I quit from there to go to Penn State. At Penn State, after two years I realized they had nothing to offer me in the way of computer science so I decided to go back to a tech school. where Im at now)

What do you mean Penn State had nothing to offer? Why are you back at a tech school? What do you mean by tech school?

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