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euphie

Degrees

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Hi all, I would like to get a job in the game programming industry, I have decent programming skills and I'm definately not a novice. However I know I will need a degree to show especially since I've never had a game programming job. I am not looking to spend alot of money and my credit is poor, can't get financial aid. Can anyone point me in the right direction here?

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Quote:
Original post by euphie, who said in essence
Where can I get a really cheap degree?

Community college. Is there one near you?

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Once you pick a local school, you might as well apply for financial aid. It is very easy to do. Pretty much any student can qualify for some financial aid, even if it is a loan and not a grant.

The worst that will happen is they tell you you don't qualify. The best that will happen is that you get scholarships, a Pell Grant or some other 'free' aid money.

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The local colleges here hasn't much at all to offer for programming or game development.

I have applied for a BA at Westwood College Online in 'Game Software Development'. The way they explained it almost sounded like there's never really any problem with financing for students.

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FYI, while a degree is useful you don't always need one. It's not as true as it used to be but if you knocked up a good demo the degree may not be too much of an issue, dependant on your coding style / age / other employment /etc etc

Just something to think about especialy if money is tight. I've also known people to show up with little 'games' background then offer their time for free for a couple months, they never get the juicy jobs but (assuming you can feed and water yourself for a couple months) it's an easy way to get some very valuable experience if they go for it, then shift to somewhere that'll pay. Cheaper than a degree too i'd imagine

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Quote:
Original post by RdF
FYI, while a degree is useful you don't always need one. It's not as true as it used to be but if you knocked up a good demo the degree may not be too much of an issue, dependant on your coding style / age / other employment /etc ete

Remember that you aren't the only person applying for the job.

When culling the stack of applications, we generally throw people out if they have neither (1) a degree or completing a degree, nor (2) major game-related work experience at various studios already.

A single game demo with no post-secondary education is not enough to get an interview here.

The degree doesn't even have to be in the same field of interest, but you still need that paper. Some of our programmers have degrees in non-programming fields, including anthropology, astronomy, and the generic major of humanities.

Regardless of your choice, you should learn that any college degree -- even a generic two-year associates degree from a local community college -- will benefit you for the rest of your working life irrespective of your career path.

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Quote:
Original post by euphie
The local colleges here hasn't much at all to offer for programming

Well, that's out, then.
Quote:
or game development.

So what? You already said you can't afford game school. And you don't need a "game degree" anyway. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson34.htm
Quote:
I have applied for a BA at Westwood College Online in 'Game Software Development'

Not as good as a community college education, but if you can afford the one but not the other, then you can only play the cards you've been dealt.
Good luck.
Tom

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I have applied for a BA at Westwood College Online in 'Game Software Development'. The way they explained it almost sounded like there's never really any problem with financing for students.


Run! Fast and far away from Westwood Online, they are THE WORST college I have ever seen. The financial aid screws you around and doesn't give you a straight answer, and yet still bills you for classes you don't take.

My girlfriend signed up for it three years ago, she was supposed to have a degree in business in 3 years via the online program. She now only has 3 semesters worth of credits for her, and owes them $50,000, has had to repeat classes because the school removes her for weeks at a time because of financial aid that they gave her the run around on.

I applied to them too, I paid the $100 fee, and then I ran as far away as I could from them.

If you're looking for a good online program, I'm currently looking into UAT Online (uat.edu, University of Advancing Technology). EGM rated them in the top 5 best game schools.

frob, what are your companies opinions on schools like this (Online Game programming majors), and what would it take to get an interview if they didn't have work experience or a degree?

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Quote:
Original post by tleisher
frob, what are your companies opinions on schools like this (Online Game programming majors), and what would it take to get an interview if they didn't have work experience or a degree?

Hiring is a process of elimination.

Although it isn't this easy, this is the basics of my thought process:
...
if(!degree && !gameStudioExperience && !uberdemo)
interview = false;
if( !collegeIsAccredited )
interview = false;
if( ( degree || degreeFinalProgramYear ) && collegeIsAccredited && IsExperienceAdequate() )
interview = true;
...

bool IsExperienceAdequate() {
if( uberdemo )
return true;
if( demo && stableWorkHistory )
return true;
if( gameStudioExperience )
return true;
if( !demo && DoesDemonstratedExperienceFitOurNeeds() )
return true;
return false;
}


I mention it on all the job application and resume threads: You absolutely need to include what you did on your projects and how you used the tools, not just that you did a project or that you are experienced on a tool. That is the only way we can carefully look at your demonstrated experience.

Somebody just saying "Expert at C++, some networking and graphics experience." doesn't get an interview. It doesn't have anything near the impact of this: "For a networking project, I developed a distributed infinite-detail Mandelbrot renderer using a simple server to divide the viewable area and unlimited number of clients to render the patch and return the resulting image." The first one would fail the "DoesDemonstratedExperienceFitOurNees" function. The latter description might pass.

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