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razorclaw

2 associates vs a BA

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Hi everyone. I've often read that you must get a BA degree relating to helping get you into the industry and wanted to know something. What if you instead get an associates in game development and an another associates degree in computer science or information technology at a community college? would that be much count? Or do I really need a BA to have a good chance of a job?
Thanks

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An associates degree is, for most purposes, worthless. It takes little to no effort to obtain, and really looks bad on a resume.

Get a Bachelors, or double major and get two.

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You don't necessarily need a degree -- I've worked with some brilliant programmers who were degree-less. However, if there's a lot of competition for a job, then good formal education can help keep your resume on the short-list.

The term 'associate degree' is still very new here in Australia so I might be off the mark, but from what I can tell they're seen as being equivalent of the first year from a Bachelors degree, so they probably wouldn't hold the same weight when it comes to keeping your resume on the HR officer's desk, instead of their bin.

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Hi everyone. I've often read that you must get a BA degree relating to helping get you into the industry and wanted to know something. What if you instead get an associates in game development and an another associates degree in computer science or information technology at a community college? would that be much count? Or do I really need a BA to have a good chance of a job?
Thanks
The standard degree for game programmers is a bachelors degree in computer science.

Not an associates degree. Not a trade degree. It doesn't matter if you go for science or arts, just make sure it is the full four year degree. It doesn't need to take you four years to get it, I've known plenty of programmers who earned a BS degree in three years, and a handful who finished in two.

Not the title computer programming. Not computer technology. Not information systems. The degree program is Computer Science.

Trade schools like Full Sail complicate the matter a little bit. They are trade degrees rather than Computer Science. I only know two co-workers who went to the game industry trade schools, and they simply lack the breadth and depth of knowledge to compete with their peers. Both are behind in the promotion cycles from the others who joined the company around the same time. They surprise us by tripping on some of the most simple CS tasks at random times.


If money is the issue, it is just fine to get an associates degree at a cheaper state school or community college and then transfer to an inexpensive local university to finish their bachelor's program. However you do it, make sure it is a bachelors degree in computer science from any accredited school.

Most HR desks will simply discard programmer applications that don't have a CS degree. There is an awfully big stack of applicants and the vast majority have those credentials and more. If you hope to compete, you need to get the background education.

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[quote name='Happygamer' timestamp='1297926142' post='4775287']
Hi everyone. I've often read that you must get a BA degree relating to helping get you into the industry and wanted to know something. What if you instead get an associates in game development and an another associates degree in computer science or information technology at a community college? would that be much count? Or do I really need a BA to have a good chance of a job?
Thanks
The standard degree for game programmers is a bachelors degree in computer science.

Not an associates degree. Not a trade degree. It doesn't matter if you go for Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts, just make sure it is the full four year degree. It doesn't need to take you four years to get it, I've known plenty of programmers who earned a BS degree in three years, and a handful who finished in two.

Not the title computer programming. Not computer technology. Not information systems. The degree program is Computer Science.


Trade schools like Full Sail complicate the matter a little bit. They are trade degrees rather than Computer Science. I only know two co-workers who went to the game industry trade schools, and they simply lack the breadth and depth of knowledge to compete with their peers. Both are behind in the promotion cycles from the others who joined the company around the same time. They surprise us by tripping on some of the most simple CS tasks at random times.


Most HR desks will simply discard programmer applications that don't have a CS degree. There is an awfully big stack of applicants and the vast majority have those credentials and more. If you hope to compete, you need to get the background education.
[/quote]

It's probably different in game development, but to be honest: I don't care what you have your degree in, just as long as you have a degree (of at least bachelor or greater). Most CS students I've met couldn't program or theorize their way out of a box, they just don't get to implement much of anything at all. At the same time, I agree completely on trade schools (as do some others). My main interest in someone having a degree is that it shows their willingness to be dedicated to a subject for a period of up to four years that comes with little reward (and usually a great deal of debt).

For a software development project that may run into the years, the knowledge of their ability to be dedicated enough to pull through often matters more than what they focused on during their college days. That's not to say that I would hire any unskilled laborer who came to me with a bachelors, but that having A bachelors (in any subject) counts for a lot more than having no bachelors at all. Obviously if the CS candidate can get past my interview questions (and no, I don't use my C++ quiz when interviewing since it would rule out 99% of all developers who claim to know C++ in the first place), then they're probably more likely to get hired than the non-CS candidate just because of all that theory they studied.

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The term 'associate degree' is still very new here in Australia so I might be off the mark, but from what I can tell they're seen as being equivalent of the first year from a Bachelors degree, so they probably wouldn't hold the same weight when it comes to keeping your resume on the HR officer's desk, instead of their bin.
In the US, post-secondary education looks basically like this:

Associates degree = roughly 18-24 months. Depending on the school about half of the time is spent outside your major on general education topics.
Bachelors degree = roughly four years, or associates degree + 2 years mostly in your major or related topics like math. Many schools let you test out of first-year classes if you ask.
Masters degree = Bachelors degree + 2 years of on-topic study. Many schools require a masters thesis or published research paper, but a few have coursework-only programs. Most graduate schools allow up to four years, and I've known people who finish in just over a year.
PhD in computer science = Masters + 2 years of research or Bachelors + 4 years of on-topic study, sometimes taking a few years more than this in complex research topics. Nearly all require either a PhD thesis or multiple published papers. Some students will skip the master's degree, but the ones I knew preferred to lock in the master's degree as an intermediate step.


Perhaps this is just because I've always lived in highly educated areas, but in my 15-year career I've never been at a company that lacked applicants with bachelors degrees. Every new hire I've known of has either had a degree or was finishing it up at the time of hire. That being said, there are 5 inexpensive universities within one hour from my home (two, the University of Utah and BYU have very highly regarded CS programs) and several good local community colleges, so this area is covered by educated people.

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That being said, there are 5 inexpensive universities within one hour from my home (two, the University of Utah and BYU have very highly regarded CS programs) and several good local community colleges, so this area is covered by educated people.

But Utah is so dry and is no good for alcohol!

@OP: If you are going to get 2 associates you may as well just get a bachelors. You can get 2 associates AND a bachelors, and I can't see that hurting you other than maybe making you busy or taking you a little longer. By the time you're done with 2 associates you should have most of your bachelors done anyway, so it's almost a waste of money not to get it.

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Thanks for the replies, even though it wasn't what I was hoping to hear. Somehow I thought 2 associates would be almost the equivalent to a bachelors. I'm no programming genius and I'm starting to doubt my abilities to be anything more that a QA at this point. I'll have to think over getting a bachelors.

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Thanks for the replies, even though it wasn't what I was hoping to hear. Somehow I thought 2 associates would be almost the equivalent to a bachelors. I'm no programming genius and I'm starting to doubt my abilities to be anything more that a QA at this point. I'll have to think over getting a bachelors.


What do you want to do? It seems as though you might be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

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What I want is to have a Level Designer but preferably a Game Designer position within 2 years and not have to still be in school beyond that time frame.

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