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Is it possible for me to get into the industry?

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littletray26    284
Hey gamedev

I was just reading through Tom Sloper's site and he made quite alot of remarks about people trying to get into the industry without college are just plain lazy and shouldn't bother.

I would love to be a programmer in the game industry, and I would do anything I can to get there.
My problem is that I am 17 and no longer live with my parents (for personal reasons) because I have things to pay for to keep myself off the streets, I don't think I can afford to go to university once I finish High School. It's not that I'm lazy, I would love to go to university. But I'm living off scraps as it is and will most likely not be able to afford it.

How hard will it be for me to get a career in the industry in programming? If I can at all? At the moment I've been learning C++ and using the DirectX API from books and tutorials.

Thanks. Edited by littletray26

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Hodgman    51220
The best technical director / game-engine lead-programmer that I've ever worked under, has no degree or formal training, and was once a homeless bum in America with expired immigration papers.

You can't judge a person by their paperwork.... However, HR/recruiters try to. Your hurdle will be convincing HR that they should give you an interview with someone technical ([i]who you can impress with your technical skills/talent[/i]). To do that, you're going to have to get your hands on as much learning material as you can, and get in as much practice as you can, so that you do actually develop those skills/talents, and can produce yourself a great portfolio. Edited by Hodgman

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Sitio    122
[quote name='littletray26' timestamp='1340325246' post='4951555']
I don't think I can afford to go to university

I recommend continuing education, so you have something to fall back on in case you don't make it in the game industry. It seems there are very few unemployed software engineers and they are usually paid pretty well too. I am not sure about the game industry, but outside the game industry (software engineering in particular) few employers will even look at you if you don't have a four year degree.

As far as affording school, have you looked into how much it would actually cost? And what financial aid is available?

I did not have parents that could afford to pay for my education, but I was still able to go to school for four years and didn't have to pay a cent until after I graduated and was earning a steady income. Remember, you can also work while going to school. I know a lot people who did this as well (I was fortunate enough to make enough money over the summer to pay for food/housing during the school year).

I am not sure where you are from but I know here in the US STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering and Math) majors are usually eligible for grants. When I was in school I recieved $2000 from these grants alone. I would imagine other countries have similar programs?

Another tip, research jobs that help pay for school. It may surprise you what jobs offer education assistance. A buddy of mine worked as cashier at a gas station out of high school and they paid over $1000/semester for him to take classes in college.

Finally, most universities are more than willing to work with students if you approach them. After all, if they train you to be a great engineer that goes off and become rich and famous, it makes them look good and they will be asking you for donations! (they do this even if you aren't rich and famous!)

Anyway, I truly believe that if you decide you want to go to school and are driven enough you can find the financial backing. I have yet to meet someone who truly couldn't continue school due to finances being the only issue.

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frob    44902
Remember that you do not exist in a vacuum.

Entry level jobs have a flood of applicants. Most have degrees. Some also have hobby games or projects. Some have related work experience.

When attempting to sort through the huge pile of applicants, we generally immediately disregard anyone who doesn't have a degree, and can also filter out those who don't have some sort of game-related history.

It isn't because some of them would be unable to do the work. I'm sure many of them would be able to do the work.

It is because a degree is an established benchmark that shows you have a minimum level of educational competency.

It is certainly possible that you have self-taught yourself computer theory, compiler theory, a broad range of algorithms and data structures, and many of the disliked-but-necessary topics a good CS degree will teach you.

But it is easier to simply filter for those who have the degree.

As for the funding of school, Sitio is correct. There are many funds available. Since you don't live with your parents, federal and state grants (free money) is generally able to pay all of tuition. Subsidized loans (which you do pay back) are at record low rates; you don't pay them back until you are done with school, and if you repay them on schedule the interest rates are dropped by several points if you maintain a perfect repayment history. Finally, if you are a dedicated student and maintain your grades you can also generally get scholarships amounting to several thousand dollars.

You may not be in an ivy-league school, but for most Americans there is no financial reason NOT to get a bachelors degree if they really want it. There may be other personal reasons which you may have, but if you look at your options you'll find academic finances to not be among them.

(Side note: I worked my way through school, too, paying my own rent and other expenses. I maintained half-tuition scholarships through good grades, had several grants, accumulated about $8000 in student loans, and managed to find a part-time job at a software studio that paid relatively well and made up the rest of the money needed to live on my own. It was not that difficult.)

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Destin Bales    116

Here is an incredible (and FREE) online programming course from Stanford:


All of the lectures are on YouTube and the materials and software is free. It should give you a great head start.

For additional info on how to get into the games industry, check out my site at [url=""][/url].



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jbadams    25674
[quote name='littletray26' timestamp='1340581797' post='4952480']
I live in Australia.

I'll look into these loansa and grants, I'm sure we have some sort of something that can help me
We certainly do! You'll probably want to take a look around the "[url=""]Study Assist[/url]" website provided by the Australian government. [img][/img]

It's entirely possible to get a university education without having to pay a cent until you've finished your course and obtained steady employment. Don't forget to also check with [url=""]Centrelink[/url] to find out what government payments might be available if you are low-paid or unemployed -- if you're not already receiving any payments you may be eligible for something that could help to improve your situation.

As with everyone above, I would strongly recommend pursuing any options available to obtain higher education. In the meantime, you can continue to self-educate and work towards a good portfolio in any spare time you have available.

Hope that helps! [img][/img]

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