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Computer Science Degree - How do I make it game design/programming related?

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I'm wondering how I would make a computer science degree (Bachelors or Masters) related to game development.

I often hear people say how a computer science degree is way more worth your money (And cheaper, looking at DigiPen/Full Sail)

I live in Des Moines, so I have a handful of colleges/universities around me. One of the major ones I am looking at is Iowa State, which has a very impressive Computer Science program.

I'd probably take the first 2 years at a local community college, named DMACC.

After bombing my first year there, I have 3 classes I have to retake. Two different majors both semesters. Criminal Justice and a Entrepreneurship program.

1-What classes/programs (I saw the FAQ of courses to look at, but it was very vague, and covered pretty much every course)
2-Should I consider a double major or minor? If so, which ones?

TL:DR - What classes and things should I look for if I want to get a BS in Computer Science?

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I often hear people say how a computer science degree is way more worth your money (And cheaper, looking at DigiPen/Full Sail)


I'll admit, I would never last in the college world, I have a hard time taking orders from someone that I paid. Though I believe the resoning behind why a CS degree is the best choice, is because it doesn't put you into a tight niche. You're not stuck only able to get a job in game programming. You should end up a with a better understanding of the broad software development.

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[quote name='Stormcrown' timestamp='1324408948' post='4895823']
I often hear people say how a computer science degree is way more worth your money (And cheaper, looking at DigiPen/Full Sail)


I'll admit, I would never last in the college world, I have a hard time taking orders from someone that I paid. Though I believe the resoning behind why a CS degree is the best choice, is because it doesn't put you into a tight niche. You're not stuck only able to get a job in game programming. You should end up a with a better understanding of the broad software development.
[/quote]

Yeah, and since I also am interested in a career in cyber warfare (Mainly for the government or military) the early 1-2 years of the computer science degree would allow me to pick while learning and taking classes that both would require.

I'm also considering joining the National Guard, since they offer a 100% Tuition Payment program. Although 10 weeks of hell (basic) seem pretty intimidating, I often hear of the great stories and friends people meet at basic training.

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I have a Bachlor degree in Computer Science (Embedded System Engineering). I strongly recommend to take that route instead of some specialized institute like the ones you mentioned. The reason is that if you may not get a job in the Interactive Entertainment Industry right away, but you can still apply you skills in a different area, because you are broadly educated.
I am also skeptical that Full Sail or Digipen are able to teach you to programming any better than any other university could (I cannot speak for the computer graphics or game designing). Many concepts and patterns are widely applicable in the field programming or designing and are definitely not specific to game development. Perhaps courses related to Business and management might be narrowed down towards game development.

I think game studios have a bigger pool of applicants to choose from, so they can basically cherry pick. The other computer science related industries are screaming for qualified personel, which gives you a nice opportunity to gain that valuable experience everyone is asking for.
As for payment, it is matter of supply and demand. Considering there is a global shortage for qualified/experienced programmers, you are settled with a CS degree regardless where you live (safe Antarctica :P). Maybe because game companies have a bigger supply of applicants they can offer a lower salary, but this is purely speculations on my end.

I think that education only brings you in half way into this industry, it is CV which sells you in the end. If you can show you worked on a shipped game in your spare time, that says so much more than scoring 100% in a programming or designing course. Standing out is key here and it doesn't have to be triple-A title or anything.

Good luck with your choice!

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I'm wondering how I would make a computer science degree (Bachelors or Masters) related to game development.

Like I answered in your original thread (which is now closed since you started a new one), By using the knowledge you gain in the degree program to make an awesome game portfolio. Like it says in the FAQs.

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[quote name='Stormcrown' timestamp='1324408948' post='4895823']
I'm wondering how I would make a computer science degree (Bachelors or Masters) related to game development.

Like I answered in your original thread (which is now closed since you started a new one), By using the knowledge you gain in the degree program to make an awesome game portfolio. Like it says in the FAQs.
[/quote]

I do enjoy the information supplied in the FAQ, but I am seeking the personal opinion of several people who have experience in the area.

I thank this website for supplying the FAQ, but its not a complete answer to my question.

@T_ICE: Thanks for your input!!!

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I do enjoy the information supplied in the FAQ, but I am seeking the personal opinion of several people who have experience in the area.[/quote]
Again as stated in the FAQ -- follow your passions. (Have you really read them, or did you just skim them all?)

I personally enjoy topics related to network development, and I prefer to dabble across the board and get involved in general systems integration. I love graphics but would never succeed in a career writing graphics engines. But that is MY path, it is almost certainly different from YOUR path.

For one person, their passion will include a graphics-heavy program. They will load up on not just linear algebra (which is important but not absolutely required for any game programer), but they will include many other classes that focus on 3D math. Others will have an interest in statistics, they may find 3D math incredibly boring but love the challenges of computing odds for various scenarios. Another may go math-heavy and focus on the nuance and challenges of cryptographic math. Yet another person may struggle with math and instead will flourish in understanding and implementing data security; they may study computer forensics and related fields. Another may prefer signal processing as used in audio and video compression. Continue for every field of interest out there.

While you are asking for personal opinions, I prefer light colors in an ocean theme (aqua, teal, purple, etc). But if you prefer red or blue or green or yellow or black or white, those are all perfectly acceptable options as well.

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I'm also considering joining the National Guard, since they offer a 100% Tuition Payment program. Although 10 weeks of hell (basic) seem pretty intimidating, I often hear of the great stories and friends people meet at basic training.

Not to get off topic, but you have to also remember to factor in your time spent in occupation training (aka AIT in the Army) after basic, which can be around two years long (eg, EOD). I was active duty so I'm not sure of all the differences the NG has, but your unit (once you finish training) may then even have more training they want to send you to once you're assigned.

With that said, you should probably also look for schools which offer online or distance learning options for some of the more trivial courses (personally, I wouldn't want to take my major's courses online). That way you can continue to work on some of your classes while in later training, during temporary duty, or when activated (eg for deployment).


I considered Digipen once, but even with the post-9/11 GI Bill, I would have still been paying out of pocket (their tuition rates are higher than WA state's average). Not sure about the NG's 100% tuition program though.

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CS courses frequently incorporate open ended projects. I took advantage of these in my time to write games, highlighting whatever the course was focused on while simply re-expressing it in the context of a game.

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