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monomania

Do I need a compsci degree to get a job in game development?

7 posts in this topic

I, like most everyone who posts on this site, want to have some part in developing a game. Since I don''t fancy myself an artist, I thought I''d try the programming end of things. So, I''ve recently started taking community college classes in C++ programming. I''m doing pretty well and I think the stuff is very interesting. I plan to take all the C++ courses offered by the college. But now I''m starting to wonder if these community college classes and further self study will be enough to get a job in the industry. When I see help wanted-programmer ads, they seem to always want someone with at least two years industry experience or a compsci degree. I already have an unrelated Bachelor degree (chemistry/biology), and I would not look forward to spending the amount of time (and money) necessary to get another degree. So, what''s the skinny? Do I need a new degree?
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Actually your not that bad off...

Most jobs do require experience in the field, but that’s true any career. While it is true that most companies want to see applicants with a bachelors degree, you would be surprised to find out why; it to show dedication rather then training. Any programmer worth beans knows that the field of computer programming changes too fast to make a degree mean much in any length of time. Experience and accomplishments in the field are what show skill (that why your skill going to need those), but having a bachelors, in any field, shows that you have enough dedication to stick with something long-enough to see it through. So don’t give up and go back to for another degree just yet. Try to get some entry-level experience under your belt and apply for some of the higher jobs.

-- Zhypoh!
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Wow!!!
In Singapore, everyone is talking about the boring IT stuff or biz like how to configure a WINNT server or Network peripherals and nothing more than that. Almost nobody or no companies is really interested in Game programming...kinda bored over here.. :| siznn...

Arggh!!! I wanna break free!!! how I envy you guys. Why?
Over here in S''pore, who can I speak to regarding game programming. Answer is no one.

How the situation in other countries, May I kindly ask?


The road may be long, wind may be rough. But with a will at heart, all shall begone. ~savage chant
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quote:
Original post by monomania
I, like most everyone who posts on this site, want to have some part in developing a game. Since I don''t fancy myself an artist, I thought I''d try the programming end of things. So, I''ve recently started taking community college classes in C++ programming. I''m doing pretty well and I think the stuff is very interesting. I plan to take all the C++ courses offered by the college. But now I''m starting to wonder if these community college classes and further self study will be enough to get a job in the industry. When I see help wanted-programmer ads, they seem to always want someone with at least two years industry experience or a compsci degree. I already have an unrelated Bachelor degree (chemistry/biology), and I would not look forward to spending the amount of time (and money) necessary to get another degree. So, what''s the skinny? Do I need a new degree?


I know you /said/ you didn''t want another degree, but I should point out that a lot of schools will accept for a master''s degree in comp sci, even if your bachelor''s degree is in another field. It''s only another two years, and it will increase your expected lifetime earnings by something like 30 or 40 percent.

If you want to get into game development without any more school, your best bet would be to polish your programming skills on your own and apply for a job in a QA or testing department rather than a programming job. This builds your professional experience as a software engineer (though not necessarily a programmer.) From a QA position you can build industry contacts. It''s also a pretty good place for making a lateral change of position into software development.
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I dont have a degree in anything but i got my progrmming job at Elixir by actually producing 3 or 4 complete games on my own (which then sold a few copies). In some cases, compan ies actually prefer to have people with experience (even if its only hobby experience) than some fancy degree. NBot all coders make their way in through testinbg or QA either, in some cases if you can obviously program and can prove it with finished software, then you will get a job.
good luck

http://www.positech.co.uk
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Your major in school usually means squat to a lot of people Makes it so great that you''re busting your butt to get it doesn''t it? What I mean by this is that there are people in the game industry doing development and programming and start-ups and all that with degrees in psychology, business, history, I even know two doctors who gave up being physicians to become game developers and started their own company a while back... I forget the name. Anyways I bet you that the majority of people in this industry didn''t major in comp sci, which seems weird at first but you have to remember that a peice of paper means nothing next to real-world experience (internships!! *hint, hint* ) So get out there and do something, not just waste all your time in school.

Drew Sikora
A.K.A. Gaiiden

ICQ #: 70449988
AOLIM: DarkPylat

Blade Edge Software
Public Relations, Game Institute
Staff Member, GDNet

Online column - Design Corner at Pixelate
3-time Contributing author, Game Design Methods , Charles River Media (coming GDC 2002)
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quote:
Original post by Zhypoh
Any programmer worth beans knows that the field of computer programming changes too fast to make a degree mean much in any length of time.

-- Zhypoh!


That''s not really true. Theory of Computation, Algorithms & Data Structures, Discrete Math, Formal Languages & Automata, Programming Paradigms, these things don''t change so often, and they form the theoretical basis for computing and programming. And this is what should be emphasized in college (and, AFAIK, it is) and not a particular programming language, or OS, or API.

And that''s not to say you can''t learn the subjects I mentioned by self study. Of course you can. But you can''t say that "the field of computer programming changes too fast to make a degree mean much". That''s really far off. You can code your whole life without knowing a single thing about these theoretical subjects , but probably you either will be a poor programmer your whole life or a genius that discovers everything by himself (in that case, the genius who studies these things can at least hope to discover NEW things and not "reinvent the wheel" ).

A degree is a Good Thing. But it''s not necessary to be good at programming, if you are really determined to learn things by yourself.
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