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Olliepm

Education vs Industry Experience

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Olliepm    418

I'm wondering if those of you who have industry experience could share your thoughts on whether it's worth taking a job and dropping out of college/university?

 In my specific case, I would be considering dropping out for a years contract as an environment/ambiance sound designer.  I won't name the developer, but they are a highly regarded and stable company.  It's just a question of the position I'd be in after my contract ended; will it matter that I had not completed my degree if I aim to seek more work in the games industry thereafter?

*edit - The studio uses Unreal4 and Wwise

Thanks guys! smile.png

Edited by Olliepm

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Hodgman    51345
¿por qué no los dos?
Can you defer your studies and resume your degree after the year of contract work? Or complete it part time while working?
Personally, I got my first job half way through my degree (moving cities in the process) and finished my degree slowly via part time long-distance education.
 
Experience is more valuable than education... but education is often used as a first pass filter to cut down the number of applicants for a job.

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Olliepm    418

I think so (I'm awaiting details on that), although, I'd have the intention of seeking further work in the games industry without the need to return to university.  In essence, I'm wondering whether I'd be any more or less likely to be hired without a degree, if I had a years industry experience under my belt instead.  It's hard for me to gauge how much of a risk I'd be taking.

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CCH Audio    1769

Experience and education are both really important factors. Most companies are going to be looking for both. Experience you can always get later, but resuming education later in life will be more difficult. Completing a college degree when you're 30 is a red flag on the hiring process. Given the option I would hire someone with a 4 year degree over someone with 1 year of contract experience.

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nsmadsen    5585

That's a hard one because you want to show you can finish what you start - as the others have pointed out - but a degree doesn't translate as directly as having the skills and know-how to get a job done. Many of the guys I worked with at least had an associates degree. And, frankly, most of that is learned in the trenches on a job. I get frustrated with some of the educational systems when it comes to game dev or tech because so often what the schools are using and teaching is outdated. Not all of them of course - but some.

 

If I were in your shoes, I'd finish that degree ASAP while doing as much as you can in game dev outside of school.

Edited by nsmadsen

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CCH Audio    1769


If I were in your shoes, I'd finish that degree ASAP while doing as much as you can in game dev outside of school.

 

Agreed, that's probably your best option

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Washu    7829

That's a hard one because you want to show you can finish what you start - as the others have pointed out - but a degree doesn't translate as directly as having the skills and know-how to get a job done. Many of the guys I worked with at least had an associates degree. And, frankly, most of that is learned in the trenches on a job. I get frustrated with some of the educational systems when it comes to game dev or tech because so often what the schools are using and teaching is outdated. Not all of them of course - but some.

Part of the problem is that academia doesn't really "teach" programming. They teach theory, with very little actual practical application of what is learned.

It's great that you learn to be able to prove mathematically that the invariants of a particular algorithm hold true, but in the real world you probably will never need to do that (and if you do, you should be writing them as unit tests, not on a piece of paper). That being said, getting a degree demonstrates that you have the wherewithal to stick with something for four years to completion. Which is probably more what a prospective employer cares about than the actual degree (at least, such was the case with me when I hired people).

If I were in your shoes, I'd finish that degree ASAP while doing as much as you can in game dev outside of school.

QFE.

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CCH Audio    1769


Part of the problem is that academia doesn't really "teach" programming. They teach theory, with very little actual practical application of what is learned.

 

I've never really encountered a lot of actual programming with Wwise and Fmod. Audio creation and implementation may require some basic scripting on your part, but the actual programming is usually left to the code guys.

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Olliepm    418

Hmmm.  Well, I do already have some qualifications.  I have an HND in Sound Production, which is the equivalent of the first 2 years of a degree.  I'm currently in my third year (direct entry) of a Bsc Audio technology w/multimedia degree, and have already completed the only game sound module it has to offer. This was my finished game audio project, and most recent demo, if anyone would like to gauge where I am.  I offer to send the actual UDK files to employers on request:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyEzyaUV6zE 

In addition to this, I had an audio processing module based on designing synthesizer algorithms in Max/MSP running in parallel with the games sound module. I had 5 weeks to design a software synthesizer, as well as the above game audio project.  The degree after this point will focus on digital audio analysis & forensic audio using Matlab, video production, web design, and various creative project modules, but nothing else specific to game audio.  Programming-wise, we will only go as deep as Java, and that's not even until next academic year. From my own research, it seems that my best course of study in terms of game audio would be learning advanced UDK implementation
 techniques, Wwise, and C++.  My studies actually hold me back from doing these things to an extent, as my time is taken up with my educational projects instead.

This job advertisement (as an example) for an audio LEAD requires applicants to have an "HND in Sound Engineering (or above) or relevant in house experience".  http://www.gamesindustry.biz/jobs/creative-assembly/south-east/england/uk-and-europe/lead-sound-designer-id75409

I realize that all I've done here is play advocate to the notion of me dropping out of university, but I thought it important to highlight these personal circumstances to get the best advice from you guys.  Really appreciated!

 

Edited by Olliepm

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yjbrown    646

So I see that you already have what is commonly called a diploma of Sound Production or Audio Engineering.

 

From your demo, you have grasped the concepts of implementation, sound design, mixing.

 

I'd say go for the job, and try to complete the degree portion of your course as a part time. Don't give up a good opportunity. What you will learn on the job may be far more valuable than sitting in academia for another year and hoping the same opportunity arrises again.

 

I hold a diploma in audio engineering, but I also have a software engineering degree and 8 years of software industry experience, so for me game implementation side of things is easy to learn and pickup from attending GDCs, watching and reading media.

 

My job prospects have been through past job experience combined with self learning. Do try to complete your degree portion if you feel the skills you will learn there are beneficial to you or even just for your own feather in the cap.

Edited by GroovyOne

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