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Langes

Master's Degree? - Designer

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I noticed a few threads discussing the plus or minus of degree levels in programming fields. Well, none of these answered my questions directly and, rather than hijack another's thread, I shall start my own. If this has been discussed before, you may verbally assault me.

Now then, I have just finished with a Bachelor's in Computer Science from Devry. I had done well in my classes, always on the "Dean's List" with straight A's, and wonder where I should go from this point. Either go to Arizona State University for my Master's or start my career and gain experience.

I will say that I want to end up as a Game Designer, not a modeler or a programmer. In each project I have taken part in at Devry, I was always the one coming up with the overall design of the finished product. I do not know if this means my ideas are great or if the others were uncreative and/or did not care as much as myself.

I do not care if I make more money with a higher degree or with a programming position, I just want to be on the creative side of development. So, will a Master's help me in becoming a Designer or should I just start now with the degree I have?

(Further... If I am to start my Master's should I find a specific program to follow such as creative learning, opposed to programming. If I start to work instead, what starting position should I aim for?)

Wow, that is a lot of text. In case the questions are lost in the wall...


The short version:

I want to be a Game Designer. I have just finished my Bachelor's in Computer Science from Devry.

1. Should I get a Master's?

A. If so, what program or degree should I look into?

2. Should I get experience first?

A. If so, what starting position would best be suited for a future in design?

(Away with the arrows.)

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[1] I don't think you need to get a Master's degree.

[2] Here's a sequence of events I see can get you where you want:

1) If you have not already done so, create a portfolio. Design and implement a few small but well-polished games (hint: XNA and C#) and put them out there, on a blog. Prioritize quality over quantity.

2) With the help of your portfolio and bachelors degree, find a job in the gaming industry. It's not unlikely to start off as a junior programmer, but most any position will do as a first job in the industry. Keep making smaller well-polished games in your spare time.

3) Advance in your career, let the employer know that you want to work with game design. If the job is a dead end for your ambitions, find a different job, or start your own company and attempt to sell the games you've made (problem solved).

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Thank you for the reply. Everything seems to lean toward earning experience as the way to go. Now, another question popped into my squishy brain... Is Quality Assurance (Game Tester) considered a form of experience? I notice so many companies list 2-5 years of experience as a requirement and wonder where I can get some of that tasty requirement pie.

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Original post by Langes
Is Quality Assurance (Game Tester) considered a form of experience? I notice so many companies list 2-5 years of experience as a requirement and wonder where I can get some of that tasty requirement pie.

You should read the QA FAQ. Click "View Forum FAQ," above.

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If you got a degree from DeVry then getting a masters would probably be a good idea. When people see DeVry on your resume I think you are probably going to be hard pressed to get any call backs.

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Original post by jtagge75
If you got a degree from DeVry then getting a masters would probably be a good idea. When people see DeVry on your resume I think you are probably going to be hard pressed to get any call backs.


I had thought of this as well, that DeVry is a throwaway degree to an employer. If it is true then I would prefer a degree from ASU. However, I saw that I can easily transfer to ASU and the woman I talked to seemed exited about my DeVry education. Could be that the game industry and other colleges view it differently.

Also, the QA FAQ answered any questions I may have had on the subject of testing.

[Edited by - Langes on July 21, 2010 5:35:13 PM]

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Well, I have been reading up on DeVry and many seem to give negative responses.

New Questions:

Is a Bachelor's Degree from DeVry University going to hinder my goal to become a Designer? Should I go ahead and take a Master's from Arizona State University if DeVry is viewed in such a terrible light?

To be honest, the more I read and think about it... The more I think I should finish up with a degree from a normal University.

[Edited by - Langes on July 23, 2010 4:27:34 AM]

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Update: So I have been talking with several people from the area that have experience in game design as a career. It seems that I have decided I care little for programming and wish to enter as a tester, then climb the creative side. This degree would not be for entry or salary, but to further my abilities.

Some suggest that I take a Master's in English (Creative Writing) if I really want to learn more and do not want to program in my career. This seems logical enough as the story has always been the most important part of games to me.

I have looked all about the internet, gathering opinions and information. I will make up my own mind on the subject soon enough, I only seek more knowledge/experience from other sources.

So, I ask you now... Do any of you have experience in an English Degree with the game industry and/or know of designers that have taken this route?

Reply if you wish.

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Quote:
Original post by Langes
So, I ask you now... Do any of you have experience in an English Degree with the game industry and/or know of designers that have taken this route?

Reply if you wish.
I know a game writer whose job title eventually shifted to designer. In some ways, writing is designing.

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Quote:
Original post by frob
Quote:
Original post by Langes
So, I ask you now... Do any of you have experience in an English Degree with the game industry and/or know of designers that have taken this route?

Reply if you wish.
I know a game writer whose job title eventually shifted to designer. In some ways, writing is designing.


Good example, thank you.

My full history of education, self-study and activities:

-Paleontology/Archeology
-Drama courses and acting/directing schools
-Community college courses in Art, Music, Film, American Sign Language, Law Enforcement/Forensics
-Archery and Longsword training
-Bassist in a garage band


My degree at DeVry could be considered a game degree more than the traditional CS degree, as I designed more than programmed. My point is that, through my research, I believe a degree in English or Creative Writing will round out to decent knowledge and experience for my chosen future.

Now, I must decide which degree program would best be suited for me at Arizona State University. Troubling choice as not many from ASU are familiar with game development outside of the CS degrees.

As I cannot just ask "What is a good degree in English for game design?", my next step is to seek a program that will allow me to learn from the following list:

-grammar
-vocabulary
-writing (story/documentation)
-communication of ideas

There are no specific questions to be found in this long reply. It is simply here for any to comment on or learn from when they search the forum. I hate looking for answers that have already been solved, only to find that the original poster just replied with a "Solved, never mind!" and leaves it at that. Such an annoyance.

So, feel free to give any insight or correct me on what I have said.

[Edited by - Langes on August 8, 2010 5:00:29 PM]

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