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stigs

Game Design Degrees

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Hello, I'm Stephen. I'm 21 and currently have an associates degree.

 

skip to the bottom if you don't care about me haha.

 

After graduating from a junior college with an associates degree, I planned to initially minor in business administration and then partake in achieving a law degree of some sort. However, recently I have come to the conclusion I would rather do something I would actually enjoy for the rest of my working life. Preferably: game design, programming, etc. I have been intensely interested in gaming since I was young, and not necessarily in just playing the game. Rather, how it was made, what made what work, and how I could possibly learn to do this.

 

I have fiddled around with c# for a while, though I am not proficient with the language. I know the basics. However, as a very creative person (in my opinion), I perceive myself as being more up for the design agenda. I am not necessarily graphically inclined, so that kind of shoots it out of the window. I am very idea oriented. I see things from different angles and I think that is what widens my creativity. However, I'm not here to talk about myself.

 

As far as school goes nowadays, I know many people who have taught themselves many of the programs professionals use to design/program/create today's games. This is not stating they have professional level jobs and make a higher-than-average salary. I want to know how far a game design degree goes (obviously higher than self-taught) and what schools professionals can see on a résumé and say, "I want this guy to work for me."

 

I have heard a lot on both sides of Full-Sail - the negatives and the positives. It seems very inviting and interesting, but the finances seem a bit overwhelming. I have read quite a bit of bad reviews as well.

 

tldr; I want to know what a game design degree is worth, and if it is - where should I pursue it? Note: I would prefer regionally accredited schools in response - depending on what professionals respect in 2015.

 

Thank you in advance.

Edited by stigs

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Game designer is always a problematic topic, because most people think, that being creative and having lot of ideas are a ideal prerequirement for game design. But eventually game design is just lot of work with lots of limits.

 


Preferably: game design, programming

Well, game development is just a really small part of the whole IT sector and game design is really a small part of game development, therefor game design jobs are really rare. If you have interest in game design and programming, then coding will open you are much broader access to the IT sector, especially outside of the game sector.

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@Ashaman

   Right, I completely agree with what you said.

 

As for more, I look at opportunities from a more entrepreneurial perspective. Ideally, I'd love to develop my own game company someday (ig. Activision, etc.) I realize that many, many aspects are required in game development - It's like a tree upside down. A large number of processes end in the singular, final product. I understand that. Also, I know that coding opens up a more vast window of possibilities; anything from software development to games, basically to anything that operates computationally. However, even if I achieve a degree in programming, whatever the sort, I would be highly attracted to some sort of game-based opportunity. I will eventually do what I love to do, however it requires me to get there. For example, Bungie - does a CEO or branch manager value someone with a specific degree over someone who is more advanced, but is self-taught? Clearly, experience has a huge role in landing a job with a professional game company. Should I aim for a degree that will put me $80k down the drain but provides the experience, or can I be 'successful' with my own experience without dropping tons on student loans? Would computer science send me in any sort of the right direction for what I want to achieve? 

 

My whole thing is: I want to know what direction I should aim in. I know what I want to do, I just may not know exactly how to get there. I really cherish advice from people who may know more than me, so thanks again. 

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For example, Bungie - does a CEO or branch manager value someone with a specific degree over someone who is more advanced, but is self-taught?


It doesn't really matter what the CEO prefers it is down to the HR department and all they do is reduce the number of applications by only forwarding applicants that tick certain boxes.

You need a degree it doesn't matter what the degree but something related to the job would help for programmers comp sic, for designers it could be game design, art, architecture, structural engineering (pretty much anything), for artists an art degree.
You need a demo website.
Any Indie experience would be good to have.

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tldr; I want to know what a game design degree is worth, and if it is - where should I pursue it? Note: I would prefer regionally accredited schools in response - depending on what professionals respect in 2015.

 

 

Is there anything speaking against a more conventional degree... for example a CS degree? From what I picked up, many studios value conventional degrees higher than specialized game design degrees still, and you might be in a better position if you cannot find employment in the game dev industry (and given the amount of people interested in getting in and how scarce job openings are in most areas, this is a likely scenario)...

 

A CS degree will open up lots of career posibilities outside of the game dev world, while still making you an attractive candidate for a game studio, provided you can prove game dev expierience (which you need to make outside of university anyway... university projects just can get you to a certain point, to really stand out you need to do more than that). Which is why a portfolio will be super important.

 

Given that you are more interested in game design than programming, other conventional degrees might be an equal or better idea. But the general idea still applies.

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Personally i wouldn't bother with a games design degree.

 

If you want to get into creation of games, e.g. programming them, just look at going for a computer science or computing degree, and possibly picking some extra modules that are gaming oriented.

 

That's all most of these game design and game programming degrees are, and you'll have a much wider range of universities to pick from as far as selecting one for comp-sci or computing than games design, ones which are more recognised and might look better on your CV.

 

Also, if you pick to do games design, youre kind of pigeon holing yourself from day one and might find it hard to move to other areas of IT later if they interest you. For example, you stated that you were originally looking at studying law.  This would be like choosing to do a degree specialising in for example "Family Law". It would then be more difficult to get your foot in the door of a firm where you wanted to do property law, as your degree title makes it sound like you might not be the best fit for the role, even though this is not the case.

 

That's my thought on the matter, anyway. :)

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You need a degree it doesn't matter what the degree but something related to the job would help for programmers comp sic, for designers it could be game design, art, architecture, structural engineering (pretty much anything), for artists an art degree.

You need a demo website.
Any Indie experience would be good to have.

 

 

 

A CS degree will open up lots of career posibilities outside of the game dev world, while still making you an attractive candidate for a game studio, provided you can prove game dev expierience (which you need to make outside of university anyway... university projects just can get you to a certain point, to really stand out you need to do more than that). Which is why a portfolio will be super important.

 

 

Personally i wouldn't bother with a games design degree.

If you want to get into creation of games, e.g. programming them, just look at going for a computer science or computing degree, and possibly picking some extra modules that are gaming oriented.

 

I have a friend who majored in Comp Sci and actually told me the same thing. He explained that comp science is a much more versatile degree, rather than game design just like you all stated. This may, infact, be the degree I pursue. I really appreciate your responses.

 

and @Moderator - sorry for posting in the wrong section, I'm new and didn't know where I was supposed to post this.

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Bluntly, you want a degree with the maximal value for what you can afford.

 

So, certificate programs are effectively useless. No one cares about a certificate in game development, except the community colleges which want students.

 

Associates degrees, again, the degree isn't going to open any doors for you.

 

When looking at a Bachelor's degree, you want a degree with regional (that is to say, traditional higher education) accreditation, not national (that is to say, normally associated with trade schools) accreditation. The dedicated game development schools (DigiPen, Full Sail) are, as far as I know, still both nationally accredited. What that means for a prospective student is that if you wanted to go to graduate school, you would discover that you would need to get *another* Bachelor's degree first, because they won't count the one you have in game development.

 

Finally, I should caution you. The average career in game development is still quite short. Skilled programmers should have no trouble moving outside the industry (and getting a nice pay bump in the process). Artists? Well, everyone and their goat has a web site now, and the demand for art content is quite high. Producers? Producer maps straight over to Program Manager in the rest of technology, and again, will likely get a pay bump. Designers? The only people who need game designers are game companies. 

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The only people who need game designers are game companies. 

 

And also wannabe Games Design courses that want to gouge a few dollars more from their victims by having ex industry lecturers.

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Please DO NOT go to one of these overpriced game schools that promise to teach you game design and programming. From my experience you end up self teaching yourself anyways in these schools and the chances of getting a job are slim. Going to a proper accredited university or college to get a computer science degree will give you legs above anyone who does not. Without a degree on your resume good luck with getting an interview it will severely hamper your chances without a personal introduction through a friend.

A computer science degree can get you into game design a lot easier than a "game design degree" can. As well as you can branch pretty much anywhere but art from there.

Most of these game design courses don't teach proper architecture and proper clean coding and debugging that it is a serious waste of your time unless you want to learn all that on the side while going to school or by yourself after when you cannot find a job.

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