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tom_mai78101

Do you need a computer certificate or some proof to be a computer game programmer/designer?

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I have been asked by someone recently a question about programming in a hurry during class breaks. He asked if he needed a certificate of some sort for him to be able to program games or not.

Haven't thought about this prior to this moment, I wasn't even sure how to explain to him about this, so I told him, "You can start programming games anytime you wanted."

I regret telling him that I don't know the actual answer to his question, as I might have pave him a different path right about now as he went back to his hometown.

Do you suppose you need to take a programming test to prove yourself that you're capable of programming? Do you also need to take a test on game programming and designs? What else do I need to do?

Thanks in advance.

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There is no such thing as a 'programming test', unless we're talking about a specific company performing an interview/test to see if you carry a particular set of skills, so no - you don't need one because you can't actually [i]get one[/i]. What you need is a CS, SE or other degree in computer science, mathematics or software engineering - but all that does is set the minimum bar for what you know. Degrees get your foot inside the door, after that it's all up to the interview, programming test and whatever projects and tidbits of interest is in your CV.

If, however, your question is more along the lines of 'is it legal to program without a certificate?' then the answer is YES. This is not like a doctor's license, you can program applications and software without needing any form of test done or passing some bizarre 'regulations'.

Hope that helps clear it up a bit.

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[quote name='tom_mai78101' timestamp='1305956521' post='4813764']
I have been asked by someone recently a question about programming in a hurry during class breaks. He asked if he needed a certificate of some sort for him to be able to program games or not.

Haven't thought about this prior to this moment, I wasn't even sure how to explain to him about this, so I told him, "You can start programming games anytime you wanted."

I regret telling him that I don't know the actual answer to his question, as I might have pave him a different path right about now as he went back to his hometown.

Do you suppose you need to take a programming test to prove yourself that you're capable of programming? Do you also need to take a test on game programming and designs? What else do I need to do?

Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

You only need to prove yourself if you intend to be hired by someone else and the requirements they put on you is up to them.
Having a CS or similar degree is the easiest way to do this as it tells the employer that you know the basics, If you don't have a degree you need something else to put at the top of your CV, Having shipped one or more profitable well known indie games can be a good thing to put up there, as can significant contributions to high profile FOSS projects.

As an independant developer all you need to make games is a computer and lots of time to spend, Being able to live off your work takes hard work, some skill and a bit of luck (Being your own boss has its advantages but in general the working hours are awful and the pay tends to be inconsistent)

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[quote name='tom_mai78101' timestamp='1305956521' post='4813764']
1. He asked if he needed a certificate of some sort for him to be able to program games or not.
2. I told him, "You can start programming games anytime you wanted."
3. Do you suppose you need to take a programming test to prove yourself that you're capable of programming?
4. Do you also need to take a test on game ... designs?
5. What else do I need to do?[/quote]
1. For a programming candidate who does not have game industry experience or portfolio, a degree is necessary on the resume. Someone who has game industry experience and a portfolio does not have to have a degree on the resume.
2. You told him right.
3. An employer often gives a programming test to job applicants. This test is given by the company, not by any certifying organization.
4. There is no game design test.
5. That depends on what you want to accomplish, and what you have already done towards your goal.

BTW, I moved this thread to Breaking In.

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Some companies look for self taught first. Having worked on open source projects or having a game you can demo is required for this though, then a test.

Seen several studies that showed college/university graduates tend to make the same as high school graduates but are saddled with that lovely debt in most cases. All the companies I worked for didn't pay based on education level but on ability. College is good for making corporate drones though ;-) Yes, I'm biased, I am self taught.

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[quote name='Mike2343' timestamp='1306173496' post='4814669']
Some companies look for self taught first. Having worked on open source projects or having a game you can demo is required for this though, then a test.

Seen several studies that showed college/university graduates tend to make the same as high school graduates but are saddled with that lovely debt in most cases. All the companies I worked for didn't pay based on education level but on ability. College is good for making corporate drones though ;-) Yes, I'm biased, I am self taught.
[/quote]

Can you name some of these companies? I can't remember the last job opening I seen that didn't require a B.S. in something. The job market 10 years ago is quite different from the one today. It is also proven that people with degrees make considerably more over their lifetime then people without degrees. People with degrees generally get promoted faster and higher then people without degrees as well (hence the more money thing). Not saying you can't get a job without a degree but in todays economy you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage if you don't. Have fun being a code monkey 15 years from now when all the corporate drones have moved on to better jobs.

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[quote name='jtagge75' timestamp='1306210384' post='4814870']
[quote name='Mike2343' timestamp='1306173496' post='4814669']
Some companies look for self taught first. Having worked on open source projects or having a game you can demo is required for this though, then a test.

Seen several studies that showed college/university graduates tend to make the same as high school graduates but are saddled with that lovely debt in most cases. All the companies I worked for didn't pay based on education level but on ability. College is good for making corporate drones though ;-) Yes, I'm biased, I am self taught.
[/quote]

Can you name some of these companies? I can't remember the last job opening I seen that didn't require a B.S. in something. The job market 10 years ago is quite different from the one today. It is also proven that people with degrees make considerably more over their lifetime then people without degrees. People with degrees generally get promoted faster and higher then people without degrees as well (hence the more money thing). Not saying you can't get a job without a degree but in todays economy you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage if you don't. Have fun being a code monkey 15 years from now when all the corporate drones have moved on to better jobs.
[/quote]

I don't think anyone looks for self taught first but most companies will consider self taught applicants if they are impressive enough despite requiring a degree in the ads.
Impressive is relative, most CS students who are interested in game development will have a few smaller freeware or opensource games under their belts when they graduate so you need to be really good or really lucky to get a foot in without a degree) Someone like Linus Torvalds for example would have gotten hired quite easily even without a degree (He and his work was quite famous internationally long before he graduated in 1996).

So if you are self taught, make sure the company you want to work for knows who you are or atleast know about some of your work. (Mods can be a good option here), While it might not say much about your technical skills anything they recognize will increase the chances that they'll look more deeply at your application or give you an interview. (Having made a bunch of unreleased but very impressive tech demos is pointless if they don't even bother looking at them)

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[quote name='Mike2343' timestamp='1306173496' post='4814669']
Some companies look for self taught first. [/quote]
I would not advise aspiring programmers to count on this. I imagine that any company that discounts degrees would have to be a company headed by someone without a degree.
There is a valuable point in what Mike is saying, but it's not in Mike's words. That point is that the right portfolio can overcome lack of degree. But in [url="http://www.igda.org/games-game-march-2010"]the resume filtering process[/url], lack of degree will be a problem at the majority of companies (the portfolio won't be looked at, the resume will be filtered out). This only applies to inexperienced applicants (those applicants who cannot point to industry experience on the resume) who are trying to break in for the first time.

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[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1306246542' post='4815125']
I don't think anyone looks for self taught first but most companies will consider self taught applicants if they are impressive enough despite requiring a degree in the ads.
Impressive is relative, most CS students who are interested in game development will have a few smaller freeware or opensource games under their belts when they graduate so you need to be really good or really lucky to get a foot in without a degree) Someone like Linus Torvalds for example would have gotten hired quite easily even without a degree (He and his work was quite famous internationally long before he graduated in 1996).

So if you are self taught, make sure the company you want to work for knows who you are or atleast know about some of your work. (Mods can be a good option here), While it might not say much about your technical skills anything they recognize will increase the chances that they'll look more deeply at your application or give you an interview. (Having made a bunch of unreleased but very impressive tech demos is pointless if they don't even bother looking at them)
[/quote]

Which comes back to knowing somebody in the company who can get your resume past the HR screening. If a company was just scanning for keywords its a toss up if a pre graduate Torvalds would make the short stack or not. HR people aren't going to have time to go through every portfolio attached to a a resume nor would they necessarily know the names behind big open source projects (I sure don't and I'm more of a computer geek then your average HR drone). Once you are to the interview stage then the resume doesn't really matter as its up to your technical and personal skills to get the job. And since the OP is still in school I'm talking about new graduates and not industry veterans with half a dozen shipped games to their credit where at that point the lack of a degree wouldn't matter.

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