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Am I on the right path?

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Hello, 

 

    I have a quick question to ask. I am hoping to join the gaming industry (as what, I really don't know yet. Maybe as a programmer), and I am concerned as to whether or not I am on the right path. I am currently enrolled in a University and I am majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Technical Writing. My college also offers a Computer Game Development program (two year course) which upon completion grants you a gaming certificate. I am hoping to obtain it as well. Before starting college, I had no programming knowledge whatsoever, but now I am learning VB and C++ using Unix. Is this a good start? Any advice? I am truly sorry if this is a stupid question or against the forum rules, I just wish to find some peace of mind. Everyone I know tells me to not even attempt joining because it is near impossible to get hired. I wish to prove them wrong. 

 

Thank you for your time,

Chris

Edited by Mushroomhead117

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The forum FAQ and Tom Sloper's site both have a lot of good entries on that, I strongly recommend you read them.

Another good bit of deep reading is the book "What color is your parachute?". It is a classic book that provides deep answers to your questions, but it does so by guiding you to ask questions about yourself and answer them to your self. Your local library probably has several copies, it is often called the "job hunter's bible" and has been revised and reprinted every year for decades. I strongly recommend you read it and carefully work through it.

If you don't do either, or if you are impatient while you wait for his site to load and the library to open, know that all of them talk about following your passions.

Do what you are passionate about. You write that you want to be a game programmer, maybe. Is that really your passion? It may be, I don't know you. I have met a lot of people who say that games are their passion, but when I ask them their hobbies they say they spend all their spare time fixing up cars, or playing music, or surfing the web, or playing games. Most of those are great passions that can be followed, but they are not the passion of game programming. Many passionate game programmers will make games even if that isn't their job; they will do it as a hobby as soon as they can, just like a great auto mechanic will often spend his days tinkering on vehicles long before getting a job in an auto shop.

Figuring out your passions, your life calling, the people, things, environments, and situations that truly inspire you and bring you deep joy often requires a bit of soul searching. A small number of people are able to figure it out quickly, an even smaller number just luck into their passions.

Most of us need to carefully examine their lives, spending a week or two or more in serious contemplation and study, to really figure out their passions. I found that working through the "What Color is your Parachute?" book took about two weeks of serious mental effort to work through all the exercise to my complete satisfaction the first time. Doing it showed me a very clear path that guided me along a great path for the better part of a decade. Then I reread the book, reworked the exercises over several days, and re-charted a course that again led me to some great places. I periodically revise and update my diagram. I've heard there are a few similar books out there, but given the longevity and popularity of the parachute book, I very strongly recommend it specifically.


Once you do figure it out, once you really know your passions, all you need to do is follow them. It may very well be that you are on the right track. If so, discovering your passions may be all the reassurance you need. Or it may be that your body, mind, subconscience, spirit, or whatever is telling you that you are not following your passions; in that case discovering your passions can help you get back on the track that is right for you.


As for the schooling itself, in most of the world the typical entry level requirement is a four year degree in computer science for game programmers. There are exceptions of course, but usually they are exactly that: exceptional cases. A 2-year game programming certificate generally will not get you past HR filters. You might be able to find a job but it will likely pay less and be a much less stable than your counterparts with a four year degree from a traditional school.

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       I will most certainly look into that book. As for being passionate about programming, let's just say there is nothing else I would rather do. Growing up, I never had the chance to learn any kind of programming, but now that I'm starting college things have changed. I'm learning something that interests me, entertains me, and pushes me to keep going, know matter how hard the courses get. I just don't want my past to be the reason for failure because that can change. I do plan to start learning game programming on my spare time, but I don't know where to start. 

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I do plan to start learning game programming on my spare time, but I don't know where to start.

 

Go to the For Beginners forum for that particular answer.

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I do plan to start learning game programming on my spare time, but I don't know where to start.

 

Go to the For Beginners forum for that particular answer.

 

Ok, thank you. I just downloaded Unity and I am debating whether or not to pay for a design3 membership. It sounds like a good tutorial to me. 

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