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DataMACHINA

To school or not to school?

11 posts in this topic

If I want to become an app developer/game developer, should I attend school? Did you attend school to get into this profession? What are your thoughts on this?
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I am interested in the answers to this. I am wondering myself if I need school. I don't think it is necessary, but self education is less structured than structured and focused education. 

 

The best thing about school are the resources and on-site help you can get. That is the main thing to me. 

 

Computer Science (which is what you should go to school for if anything) is a broad field, and can apply to games as well as other things. 

 

Now, I am not in school, I thought to try out this computer programming thing as a venture. So far, I have nothing to my name but a few tests and my longest program being 300+ lines with much more to go (adding features and making it object oriented). 

 

I have a larger background in 3d modeling and art (hobbies I had obtained in the same way- looking for something new to do.) 

 

If you don't have the art side up your sleeve, then game developing is going to hurt a little, especially if you are trying to make 3D games, or want animation and such, and don't want to hire anyone (costs a lot). 

 

All I know about 3d modeling I learned from the internet. All I know about programming, I learned from the internet. All I know about most of my late hobbies I learned from the internet. Before, I stayed in libraries reading. 

 

So I have to say, yes, time is required. I will also say, it doesn't have to take long though. If you need me to point you in the direction for good information, just let me know. 

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Go to school. It doesn't matter what you study, get whatever advanced degree you feel like but get a degree. To not do so in this day and age is professional suicide, end of story. No, the degree may not train you to do the career you wind up in afterwards. It doesn't matter. A high school degree leads nowhere in the white collar world.

Edited by Promit
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If I want to become an app developer/game developer, should I attend school? Did you attend school to get into this profession? What are your thoughts on this?

#1: I agree with @warnexus. While you sure can become an app developer/game developer without going to school, there's a good chance you won't want to study several subjects that look useless and/or unrelated to development at first glance, but are actually really important and useful.

#2: I began programming when I was 16, and went to school twice (BSc and MSc). I wore several hats since I got my first job 18 years ago - support technician, programmer, network and systems administrator, and DBA. I do development as a hobby in my spare time.

#3: My thoughts are: go to school. That said, should you decide against it, at least take the time to read this article about what every computer science major should know so that you can put together your self-study plan.

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You don't need to get a qualification to be a developer but, it is a lot harder to get work without one. 

 

It's OK having a great demo, portfolio or website but, some larger companies have a HR department and having a degree is a pre-requisite before they actually send your demo on to the lead developers.

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To take this a step further, what are your opinions on a traditional computer science education vs a niche game development program? 

 

I'm torn on this part, because computer science will give you a well accepted degree that the other one might not offer. On the other hand, many of these "game development" schools have good contacts in the business and can be a great stepping stone into a company. 

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To take this a step further, what are your opinions on a traditional computer science education vs a niche game development program? 

 

I'm torn on this part, because computer science will give you a well accepted degree that the other one might not offer. On the other hand, many of these "game development" schools have good contacts in the business and can be a great stepping stone into a company. 

I suppose a first step towards a decision would be to compare the curricula. I find the education required for this particular Computer Science degree more diversified than what is taught in  this game development program.

That said, those curricula have many common elements, and I would have a hard time choosing between a candidate with a Game Development degree, and another candidate with a CS degree and a strong portfolio. But I am not in the industry, and it would be nice to hear from someone who is.

Edited by georger.araujo
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Personally I learned far more from just playing around at home and side jobs that gave me freedom to program some stuff. But, as some said above, having a paper/degree counts. Especially these days, where finding/keeping a job isn't so easy. A person carrying a degree isn't a guarantee he or she will be good and willing, but employers filter out when having a wide choice of personel.

 

Other than that, don't forget getting a degree isn't just about learning Java, drawing flow charts, or making a robot in C++. Those are technical skills, and obviously you need some start any job. It may depend on the school, but in my case quite a lot effort was put in social / team skills as well. In practice, you work with other people. Whether those are programmers, managers, the director, electricians or a handsome secretary. Knowing your role in a company, knowing how to communicate with different persons from different professions, presenting your ideas, those are all competencies that are just as important to become successful (though you may think not, when being a younger enthioshast programmer).

 

Although my particular study focussed a bit less on the actual technical programming skills, it also gave me a wide view on "what's going on" in the IT world. Making games is just a sub branch within the IT business, and obviously there is a lot more you can do with your skills. Networks, websites, multi media, databases, apps, security, industrial machinery, et cetera, et cetera. It's impossible to learn and know everything in the IT branch, and of course, your knowledge will be outdated tommorrow. But having a broad idea of available techniques and such, you at least know where to search or what to look for when facing a new challenge.

 

 

As most things in life, you will carry the experience you gain from studies, hobby projects, work or whatsoever with you as valuable knowledge. If you need to follow a game course, I dunno. You could also decide to learn programming on a more global level and make games as a hobby to begin with (like I did / still do). But in any case, it's a good idea to study if you get that chance. Don't waste it.

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