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David.M

Computer Science vs Game Programming Degree

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I'm not quite sure whether this is the appropriate section of the forum so please excuse me if it isn't. The topic didn't really seem to fit in anywhere else.

I'm currently a junior in high school and starting to really think about college, especially since I can begin filling out scholarships this year. I'd like to, after college, get a job at some company as a game programmer. I'd like to get some opinions on what you think would be most effective since a lot of you are currently in the game industry.

Do you think a game programming degree or a computer science degree would be more applicable? I know it seems like a silly question. If you want to do game programming why wouldn't you get a game programming degree? Well, I thought a general computer science degree would cover more features and nuances of the language and have more applications. You can also probably get a wider variety of jobs with a computer science degree whereas a game programming degree would be much more specific.

Would it be a good idea to get a degree (BA probably) in computer science and then go to school to get a BA in game programming? Which schools would be the best for both computer science and game programming? Does it matter that much? I've heard MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon spoken highly of for computer science and DigiPen and Full Sail for game programming. Is that right?

Thanks for your time.

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You'll probably get moved into the Breaking In forum since this concerns a choice which would affect... ding ding ding, your chances on breaking in to the Game industry :D So give Mr Sloper a few until he notices and moves the thread for you (you probably shouldn't be cross posting).

Personally, I think I would take Computer Science over Game Programming

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BA is for wimps get a BS :)

I don't know much about this but I'd assume that a general computer science degree and a game programming degree would be similar. I've not heard of many places with a specific degree for game programming most places I've looked into have computer science/software engineering and offer the options in upper level to focus in specific areas (such as game development).

MIT and CMU are definitely two extremely good schools for computer science. They are also extremely expensive. From what I've heard from my uncle essentially when getting jobs a degree is just to get you your first job and from there it's all based on experience. I wouldn't depend on a school to teach me what I need to be ahead of everyone else to be honest. In my case I didn't even take SAT subject tests (which prevented me from applying to those high-tier schools) but my knowledge from programming as a hobby has been able to get me a programming internship at CMU before I even started college and which I'm continuing through the school year (from PITT which is right next to CMU).

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Moving to -ding ding ding- Breaking In. David, please scroll up and click this forum's FAQ, and read the articles there on what degree to get, what school to go to, etc. (section 3).

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BA is better. Today, recruiting will agree. Over-emphasis on certain topics as degraded the subject the topic is under. Nothing as come out of higher ranked schools for last 25 years.

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BA is better. Today, recruiting will agree. Over-emphasis on certain topics as degraded the subject the topic is under. Nothing as come out of higher ranked schools for last 25 years.

I think I'll have to disagree specifically for a programmer.

BA "programming" degrees aren't held accountable to any set standards where CS degrees have mostly set accreditation standards for the skillsets their students leave school with. This has a huge impact on the expected performance of new hires. Ideally you'll have a portfolio that will overshine that, but that is not always the case.

There is also a HUGE lack of depth of knowledge for entry level programmers in the industry and as a cause a huge demand for those programmers. There is a surplus of programmers, but a huge deficit of good programmers. Go for the degree that will make you a better general programmer/software engineer and the skills will transition to game development more simply than the other way around.

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The BA at my school was under the same accreditation as the BS. Had a few less CS/free electives and no calc 2/some other math in favor of business classes. Never presented any barrier to me on getting interviews or getting a job. I could never see myself being a code monkey at 40 so the additional business classes is boon in to getting in to management. I have more responsibility then people who have been at the job longer and are better programmers then me mostly because of my 'management' background.

It would be a waste to get two bachelor degrees that cover more or less the same thing. Getting a CS degree and then a masters at one of the game schools might be a viable option. But that masters probably won't help you much outside the game industry once you burn out and you would learn a lot more in two years of on the job experience then you ever would in the classroom.

My job won't even look at a resume from a game design school unless an employee can vouch for me. Whether or not its right, there is still a prevalent attitude that game design degrees aren't very good.

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The BA at my school was under the same accreditation as the BS. Had a few less CS/free electives and no calc 2/some other math in favor of business classes. Never presented any barrier to me on getting interviews or getting a job. I could never see myself being a code monkey at 40 so the additional business classes is boon in to getting in to management. I have more responsibility then people who have been at the job longer and are better programmers then me mostly because of my 'management' background.

It would be a waste to get two bachelor degrees that cover more or less the same thing. Getting a CS degree and then a masters at one of the game schools might be a viable option. But that masters probably won't help you much outside the game industry once you burn out and you would learn a lot more in two years of on the job experience then you ever would in the classroom.

My job won't even look at a resume from a game design school unless an employee can vouch for me. Whether or not its right, there is still a prevalent attitude that game design degrees aren't very good.


I'd just quit goals of ranked university and get into a game programming school run by professionals.
At least, you'll get hands-on work beginning to end and practical mathematical education -- with excellent demonstrated and practical lessons and theoretical lectures. Then after few years work experience and I am sure they'll get you employed. go back and take some courses at a college. going through job listings on game producer home pages is endless filings after filings.


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I'd just quit goals of ranked university and get into a game programming school run by professionals.
At least, you'll get hands-on work beginning to end and practical mathematical education -- with excellent demonstrated and practical lessons and theoretical lectures. Then after few years work experience and I am sure they'll get you employed. go back and take some courses at a college. going through job listings on game producer home pages is endless filings after filings.


While we're on the topic of things that work great in theory, lets all turn to communism.


Not all professionals are great teachers or vice versa. There is a large difference between someone who has knowledge and someone who is able to pass that knowledge. You could have a professor with an IQ of 200 that's made 50 AAA games and founded multiple game studios, but it doesn't really do a lot for you if you don't actually learn anything from them. This is only one of the problems with your fictional dream school.

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