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Need help deciding on schools / programs

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I've decided that I want to go back to school. I need to go the online route because I don't have the flexibility to attend a traditional college/university.

 

Looking online I *think* I have narrowed it down to two different schools. I've listed the two schools below along with relevant books for the courses. This doesn't include the General Ed stuff or any of the electives that you have to take.

I was hoping to get peoples opinions on which one I should go to. Baker seems to be more computer science/programming heavy where SNHU seems to be more Game Design oriented.

 

Any thoughts, suggestions would be most appreciated.

 

[table]
[tr]
[td]Baker College
Course: Game Software Development BA 177 Credits / $42,480
[/td]
[td]Southern New Hampshire University
Course: Game Programming & Development (BS) 120 Credits / $38,400
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Game Design/Programming:
Fundamentals of Game Design (2nd Edition)
by Ernest Adams (Paperback)
Programming Game AI By Example (Wordware Game Developers Library)
by Mat Buckland (Paperback)
Protecting Games: A Security Handbook for Game Developers and Publishers
by Steven Davis (Paperback)
Learning XNA 4.0: Game Development for the PC, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone 7
by Aaron Reed (Paperback)
ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University (2nd Edition)
by Gary Rosenzweig (Paperback)
[/td]
[td]Game Design/Programming:
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)
by Susan Weinschenk (Paperback)
Game Development Essentials: An Introduction
by Jeannie Novak (Paperback)
The Game Production Handbook
by Heather Maxwell Chandler (Paperback)
Fundamentals of Game Design (3rd Edition)
by Ernest Adams (Paperback)
Adobe Flash Professional CC Classroom in a Book
by Adobe Creative Team (Paperback)
 
 
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]3D Modeling/Animation:
Introducing Autodesk Maya 2015: Autodesk Official Press
by Dariush Derakhshani (Paperback)
 
 
[/td]
[td]3D Modeling/Animation:
Tradigital 3ds Max: A CG Animator's Guide to Applying the Classic Principles of Animation
by Richard Lapidus (Paperback)
3ds Max Modeling for Games: Insider's Guide to Game Character, Vehicle, and Environment Modeling: Volume I
by Andrew Gahan (Paperback)
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Programming/Computer Science:
C++ Programming: From Problem Analysis to Program Design
by D. S. Malik (Paperback)
Programming in Visual Basic 2010
by Julia Case Bradley, Anita Millspaugh (Paperback)
Essential C# 5.0 (4th Edition) (Microsoft Windows Development Series)
by Mark Michaelis, Eric Lippert (Paperback)
Connecting with Computer Science (Introduction to CS)
by Greg Anderson, David Ferro, Robert Hilton (Paperback)
Data Abstraction & ?Problem Solving with C++: Walls and Mirrors (6th Edition)
by Frank M. Carrano, Timothy Henry (Paperback)
Software Security: Building Security In
by Gary McGraw (Paperback)
Systems Analysis and Design (with CourseMate, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card) (Shelly Cashman Series)
by Harry J. Rosenblatt (Hardcover)
A Guide to MySQL (Available Titles Skills Assessment Manager (SAM) - Office 2010)
by Philip J. Pratt, Mary Z. Last (Paperback)
Database Concepts (7th Edition)
by David M. Kroenke, David Auer (Paperback)
[/td]
[td]Programming/Computer Science:
Head First C#
by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman (Paperback)
Java Programing From Problem Analysis to Program Design, Cengage Learning
by D.S. Malik, Maureen Staudt (Spiral-bound)
Ivor Horton's Beginning Visual C++ 2012
by Ivor Horton (Paperback)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td][/td]
[td]Other:
The Graphic Designer's Digital Toolkit: A Project-Based Introduction to Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, Illustrator Creative Cloud & InDesi?gn Creative Cloud (Stay Current with Adobe Creative Cloud)
by Allan Wood (Paperback)
Information Technology Project Management (with Microsoft Project 2010 60 Day Trial CD-ROM)
by Kathy Schwalbe (Paperback)
[/td]
[/tr]
[/table]
 

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The question that I would want answered, of the two choices, which is more likely to leave you with skills and knowledge that will still be valuable to you even if the technology or software is not in demand or falls out of favor?

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The question that I would want answered, of the two choices, which is more likely to leave you with skills and knowledge that will still be valuable to you even if the technology or software is not in demand or falls out of favor?

 

I think that's a tough question (at least for me) to answer.

 

The Baker course is more programming heavy / computer sciency.  2 VB classes, 2 C++ classes, 2 DS & Alg (using c++) classes, C#, etc.

The skills learned would benefit me in any general programming position not just game development i'm assuming.

 

The SNHU course seems to focus more towards the game design / development area. There are some programming courses also c#,c++. I'm not sure if it would leave me in a good position to take a general programming position (if needed) though.

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I would tend to agree -- based only on that book list -- that it has slightly more study of actual core programming content.

 

Regarding content of the courses, those are only the things on the list for you to study. During college/university experiences YOU are the one who is expected to do all the learning, YOU are in charge of what you learn, the course list is only a part of what they will guide you through. What you get out of those courses is entirely up to you, and what you study that is outside of those courses is up to you. Most people I know (including me) strongly recommend branching out beyond the required course list, and even taking some side interest classes on a not-for-credit or auditing basis. Unlike earlier schooling, post-secondary education generally offers amazing times for you to experiment and branch out in life plus a chance to focus in depth on topics, but it is entirely up to you to do so.

 

Either one you pick, recent graduates often think of themselves as experts and the best thing ever.  In the workforce, however, they are considered just barely educated enough to handle the simplest projects without fouling things up too badly. Both programs will still have you starting out as a junior level developer if you only stick with the program of study directly. You might be able to help that somewhat by your own personal projects, but that is additional work beyond the core curriculum.

 

Back to some other comparison notes...

 

Neither is a Computer Science degree. Over your life if you ever decide to leave the games industry and move out into the better paying, more stable world of business programming those degree titles are going to be a hindrance.  If for any reason you cannot find work in games, you may be forced to work in a different industry and the degree title could be a factor in finding a job and negotiating pay.

 

One is a Bachelor of Arts, the other a Bachelor of Science. This is often irrelevant, but makes a difference to some people.

 

The courses covering Maya and 3D Studio Max is interesting.  Part of that is because these are not CS degrees but "game development" trade degrees. While it may be useful to your career to be somewhat familiar with these tools, most programmers won't ever touch it and don't need to. 

 

Some of those items are dated.  The XNA book listed is many years old, XNA covers DirectX 9 era development. While it is still material that works and the ideas can likely transfer, you're still looking at decade old material that has been superceeded multiple times.  Perhaps they simply haven't updated their web page in years, or perhaps they are stuck in the past.  Worth investigating.

 

One requires more credit hours. I've no comments on if one is too many or the other is too few, but it is something to note and consider. Length of time at the school may make a difference to you, and also may make a difference to future employers.

 

It is good that you are already thinking about total costs of education.  I encourage you to shop around.  There are schools that charge $40K per semester, other schools where $40K would more than cover all tuition and fees for four or five years.  The popular schools are usually not the best value.

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Neither is a Computer Science degree. Over your life if you ever decide to leave the games industry and move out into the better paying, more stable world of business programming those degree titles are going to be a hindrance.

 

Thank you for your feedback. Im asking Baker now if it's possible to Major in CS and Minor in Game Development. I think that would probably look better. What do you think?

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Im asking Baker now if it's possible to Major in CS and Minor in Game Development. I think that would probably look better. What do you think?

It makes it possible for you to leave that off if the game development option may be a concern.  Being able to write "Computer Science, minor in Game Design and Development" for games job, and plain "Computer Science" in a non-games job can help avoid a lot of questions and concerns from an employer, and strengthen your bargaining position when it comes to negotiating salaries at those jobs.  It changes from having a potentially negatively-valued trade degree to having a normal employer-standard degree.

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Thanks for the feedback frob. As far as the XNA stuff goes, do you think it would transfer over to monogame at all?

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