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Greek89

GPA or Knowledge?

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Hi eveyone,


What do employers look for a game programmer candidate? His GPA or his knowledge in programming, math etc etc? I mean, whats the point of having a perfect GPA is you dont know a thing about game prgramming right?
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Most employers are pragmatic and just look for signs that you can get stuff done. A good GPA is an indicator that you can stick with a four year project and meet regular deadlines even if you don't enjoy the work. If you don't have a good GPA then you want a good portfolio or at least a decent work history. Without any of that you'll have trouble getting to the point where you can show that you know your stuff.
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I imagine that an employer would view someone with a good portfolio and a bad GPA as the type of person who only does what they want to. Of course this is not someone that I would want working for me. Also, I find it highly unlikely that someone with a high GPA (say 3.7+) would not know a thing about programming. To get the grade, in most cases, you have to be able to do the work. To be able to do the work you must understand the material.

My opinion: Get a good GPA and put together an amazing portfolio. Then it doesn't really matter which the employer looks at.

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[quote]What do employers look for a game programmer candidate?[/quote]




How willing they are to work in a basement for 80 hours a weak without overtime compensation.

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[quote name='GuerillaTactiks' timestamp='1301973791' post='4794471']
I imagine that an employer would view someone with a good portfolio and a bad GPA as the type of person who only does what they want to. Of course this is not someone that I would want working for me. Also, I find it highly unlikely that someone with a high GPA (say 3.7+) would not know a thing about programming. To get the grade, in most cases, you have to be able to do the work. To be able to do the work you must understand the material.

My opinion: Get a good GPA and put together an amazing portfolio. Then it doesn't really matter which the employer looks at.


[/quote]

I do have a guy in my programming class who is majoring in CS, has a GPA(according to him) 3.86 and know almost NOTHING about programming. In fact, all his programming assignments were made by me and im a 3.5 GPA...
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The only time you list academic results on your resume is when you've got absolutely nothing else to say about yourself in order to fill a single page anyway.

As soon as you've got the slightest bit of experience, you're going to be wasting resume space by putting grades on there.
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Your GPA doesn't mean anything if you're applying for a job in a field that has nothing to do with your GPA ;) Like having a 4.0 CS major apply for a job at a chem lab. Not gonna happen :P Well, highly unlikely at least. Point is, just rattling off an impressive GPA doesn't mean anything unless it's qualified with [i]what[/i] the GPA was for.

But, on a related note, I've seen plenty of folks fall on either side of the good / bad grades scale. Once saw a guy hired with a piss-poor GPA once (ie, 2.3-ish) -- [i]phenomenal[/i] engineer. Had a 2.3 because he spent all of his time making games instead of doing schoolwork - paid off for him! Conversely, saw a different guy hired with a GPA in the same ballpark - [i]terrible [/i]programmer. His GPA was because he wasn't quite bright [i]and[/i] had a terrible attitude.

At the end of the day GPA, schoolwork, side-projects, etc is all just extra stuff to use when evaluating the entire package. What matters most (imho) is how well you can work [i]with[/i] others and [i]with[/i] a particular team. That's why many companies look at people with the same-ish qualifications but then base their decisions on how well the person clicks with the team. This, also, is why many engineers have a hard time interviewing - they can smart as heck but if they lack the people skills they're going to have a hard time landing a good job. So .. while boosting your GPA make sure to play sports, engage in social clubs, etc. Get them people-skills up!

Also ...

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1301982252' post='4794509']
The only time you list academic results on your resume is when you've got absolutely nothing else to say about yourself in order to fill a single page anyway.

As soon as you've got the slightest bit of experience, you're going to be wasting resume space by putting grades on there.
[/quote]

.. this. That's the damn truth right there ;)
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I don't include or advertise my GPA on my resume. Even if it were stellar, there's little point -- perhaps for your very first post-college job, or for summer internships, but once you've got some professional work under your belt there's just no point. I've got my school, program and graduation date on my resume, and the rest is professional work or portfolio pieces.

On the subject of *attaining* knowlege vs. GPA -- If you view them as mutually exclusive then that is the large problem. I wouldn't sacrifice GPA in the pursuit of knowledge -- in any school that's worthwhile, pursuit of GPA *is* persuit of knowledge -- you've got, in most cases, 4 years to pursue GPA and a lifetime to pursue knowledge for its own sake, which is something you should bear in mind when setting priorities. This is not so say that GPA is more valuable than knowledge -- it is, after all, only an abstract measurement of some subset of knowledge that someone deemed important. As others have said, its mostly a measure of your willingness to commit to something for 4 years -- I believe that literally anyone in a college program can achieve a GPA above 3.5 if they are properly committed. For some it comes easier, but just because something comes hard is no excuse.

Don't make the mistake that grades and marks are purely an academic pursuit -- generally when someone makes such a claim, they have fallen victim to their own hubris and have decided that *they* know better than their instructors what knowledge is valuable, or are guilty of over-specializing to the point that they ignore other studies that don't have a readily-visible link to their interests. Do not make the mistake of being short-sighted.
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[quote name='Greek89' timestamp='1301982010' post='4794508']
[quote name='GuerillaTactiks' timestamp='1301973791' post='4794471']
I imagine that an employer would view someone with a good portfolio and a bad GPA as the type of person who only does what they want to. Of course this is not someone that I would want working for me. Also, I find it highly unlikely that someone with a high GPA (say 3.7+) would not know a thing about programming. To get the grade, in most cases, you have to be able to do the work. To be able to do the work you must understand the material.

My opinion: Get a good GPA and put together an amazing portfolio. Then it doesn't really matter which the employer looks at.


[/quote]

I do have a guy in my programming class who is majoring in CS, has a GPA(according to him) 3.86 and know almost NOTHING about programming. In fact, all his programming assignments were made by me and im a 3.5 GPA...
[/quote]

Maybe he can program fine and just acts like he can't because he knows you'll pick up the slack for him.
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[quote name='Greek89' timestamp='1301982010' post='4794508']
[quote name='GuerillaTactiks' timestamp='1301973791' post='4794471']
I imagine that an employer would view someone with a good portfolio and a bad GPA as the type of person who only does what they want to. Of course this is not someone that I would want working for me. Also, I find it highly unlikely that someone with a high GPA (say 3.7+) would not know a thing about programming. To get the grade, in most cases, you have to be able to do the work. To be able to do the work you must understand the material.

My opinion: Get a good GPA and put together an amazing portfolio. Then it doesn't really matter which the employer looks at.


[/quote]

I do have a guy in my programming class who is majoring in CS, has a GPA(according to him) 3.86 and know almost NOTHING about programming. In fact, all his programming assignments were made by me and im a 3.5 GPA...
[/quote]

Well then you're enabling him and it's entirely your thought. Personally I think that those who enable cheaters should be subject to the same disciplinary actions as the cheater themselves.
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I think a good rule of thumb is that a good GPA will help get you noticed, but from that point it falls to how well you know your stuff (and sheesh, some companies will really grill you -- though technical interviews can actually be kind of fun in a strange sort of way)
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[quote name='Greek89' timestamp='1301982010' post='4794508']
I do have a guy in my programming class who is majoring in CS, has a GPA(according to him) 3.86 and know almost NOTHING about programming. In fact, all his programming assignments were made by me and im a 3.5 GPA...
[/quote]

Then [i][b]STOP DOING HIS HOMEWORK FOR HIM![/b][/i]

Seriously -- when you help someone through school like that it only serves to do two things -- one: it adds one more competitor to the (probably local) job market that you will have to contend with, and two: it devalues the reputation of your school -- what's en employer to think of you and your 3.5 GPA when a guy from your school with a 3.86 GPA just came in and bombed the interview?

That said -- what is your definition of "about programming" ? as the famous saying goes -- "computer science is as much about computers as astronomy is about telescopes." Computers and telescopes are simply tools -- its the "big thoughts" that are really only of any concern as far as the pursuit of science. It's true that most CS majors will go into applied programming career-wise, but the purpose of a CS degree is to turn out computer scientists, not to turn out programmers.

Its entirely possible that he might have trouble writing code -- me may not be intimately familiar with certain languages, or as well-versed in idioms, patterns or best-practices as you, but he might still well know the science better.

How well do *you* know the science of it all? Just because someone produces more/faster/better code does not necessarily make one a better computer scientist (though there tends to be a strong correlation) -- what makes one a better computer scientist is being able to solve harder problems using a solid scientific foundation.
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[quote name='GuerillaTactiks' timestamp='1301973791' post='4794471']
I find it highly unlikely that someone with a high GPA (say 3.7+) would not know a thing about programming.
[/quote]

You'd think, but experience dictates otherwise.
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