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cmk112

Programming as a career... Worth it?

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As I read countless threads saying "Pay-cuts" and "Salary Declining" I wonder if I'd be better of choosing some other career other than that of a programmer. My goal (money wise) is to make around 60-70k a year so I can live comfortably. I know until I build up some years of experience I wont see it.

I love sciences, and I love programming, especially the though of games. When I play a game I always think of how if i made it what I'd change, and how I'd do it. I am a Senior in High School and have taken Pre-AP Computer Science and i am currently enrolled in AP Computer science where we focus on Java and creating some pretty fundamental things, I have no doubt I will pass the AP Test.

I love video games. I love making video games, creating little retro games (like pong) that i have changed around to make a little more modern. I use mainly Basic, but I have a great working knowledge of Java, C++ , and C#.

So that is basically me. I am curious if my goal is unreasonable, but I can see myself programming for a living.

Also do the larger game companies want you to have more experience in game programming, rather than just general programming (i.e. tools developer for a business)?

I want to know, because I am set on UNT to go to school, but I need to work on my application and decide a major I wish to take.

Thank you to anyone who can help me out :) I appreciate any input.

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As I don't live in USA I can't be of much help, but nobody else answered yet so...
I must say that getting a computer science degree was not what I used to dream. Here where I live, companies require knowledge of italian, german and english, but salaries are quite low in average. Don't get me wrong, you can live with it, but if you consider the 3 languages requirement and the technical skills they expect from a programmer, I really think it might not woth it. Currently my salary is among 10-20% more than what I would get working in a shop.

Of course, if you love programming and you don't mind the high pressure of deadlines and do on, you can do it.
I love programming, but I'm seriously considering moving to something else and leaving development to my spare time.

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As a business programmer, you can generally earn a higher salary than in games.

Games salaries aren't necessarily that bad though - the average US game programmer's salary is about $80k IIRC. $60k for a decently skilled individual shouldn't be a problem.

Though yes, "decently skilled" definitely does mean "experience in game programming, rather than just general programming".

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I think you should do what you love for a living. If what you love to do is devoting yourself to the study of 14th century Occitan poetry, I can see why you would want to be cautious about the job prospects, but I don't think you should worry too much about it in the case of programming.

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Thanks everyone :). I think if I keep up with direct X, open gl, etc. I will be able to find a game job after I build up some experience. Who knows, maybe i'm a real genius one day and make something that sets me for life... :)

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I'm surprised Sloper didn't hit you with his "worth it" FAQ, but...

If you're considering programming solely because you 'think' you can make a lot of money doing it, stop. About 80% of the students in my CS department are setting themselves up for failure based on that fact alone. You should consider programming as a career because you *know* you will make money doing it because it is what you love to do and you do it better than anyone else you know. If you know someone that is better than you start competing.

Hard fact of life is that you are choosing a competitive market. If you are interested in programming start doing it now and learn as much as you can, and don't dick around at the University.

Quote:
maybe I'm a real genius

No, don't hope you're a genius. Make yourself one.

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I am a professional programmer. Just so you know, everyone in America is not making as much as they used to in this economy.

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I've got a summer internship as a Facebook programmer and they're willing to pay me 5.4k per month. If your a decent programmer I think its a good field to make a relatively good living.

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I program now 0_0 if you read my post.

Also i know i must be competitive, i understand i wont make a ton of money, i dont think 60-70k is too much to ask, it will allow me to live comfortably in the area i'm in.

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I am currently working at a large chip manufacturing company based out of San Jose, figure it out. I started working for this company in 2008 as an intern and started at $50k, 6 months later I was hired on at $65k, 1 year later I was given a raise to $75k, mind you much more than most others received, in this "economy". I am expecting a large raise coming soon as well, why because I am good at developing applications and figuring things out. I am not a game programmer but that does not matter.

If you want to be successful in this industry learn your problem solving skills first, the languages and API (Application Programming Interface) knowledge will come as you need it, although having it already will look better on a resume.

I have been successful so far because for one, I got lucky and got into a position that no one else wanted but was desparately needed, for two, I made myself invaluable. Without me the company would be out millions because no one can easily take my place. I worked hard and fixed issues quickly, showed that I can handle creating new applications that many hundreds of people require in their everyday jobs and have been showing that I can lead a team successfully.

This "economy" is bad because people are not taking advantage of it and making themselves invaluable while others are being pushed out the door.

Also, once you get in the door there is not much competition. Most people are basically monkeys plucking away at the keyboard. They are idiots who don't have the drive to be great merely passing by.

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