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UK bods: What should I do?

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I''ve recently graduated with a BSc in Physics from Imperial but want to get a development job of some sort, possibly games related. I''ve always been keen on programming but never had the time to do as much as I''d like. Just recently I''ve decided to drop everything and spend all day learning. I''ve dusted off and improved my c++, dabbled into the world of win32 and am now learning openGL. So what do you suggest I do to "further" myself. I don''t think there''s any point in me applying for jobs yet, my plan is to put together a portfolio of code to try and impress people. Good idea? I was wondering if there''s any courses I can take, whether it be a masters conversion course or a HND/HNC/whatever-the-feck. Any tips? - seb

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Personally, from my limited experience of dealing with agencies and developers, I would say forget further studies and make a portfolio. Many employers don''t care what degree you have if you can show a decent demo. And the fact that you have a degree in a sciences subject rules out the "he''s a retard who happens to be good at programming" hypothesis, so no-one will reject you on those grounds.

Of course, it won''t hurt to do a one year MSc conversion course, but you may find your time is better spent on coding something game-specific.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost ]

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I must say the only conversion courses I can find are in "computer science" which is pretty much useless, really, isn''t it?

"Not a retard" by any means. But I did only get a 3rd because I''m a mug and didn''t do any work, ever. That said it''s from Imperial which is second only to Oxford in the leauge tables...

- seb

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Ha! Thats almost the same situation i''m in, only my course was in Computers and Electronics. Well if your going to stuff something up you might as well do it in style, who wants a 2:2 anyway. Thats like, "i tried, just not very hard", better off with a 3rd, then people know your not lazy, just had other priorities.

Anyway, definately go with making a portfolio, i think just about everywhere want''s to see some examples of your work. Also if your looking for agencies or direct applications you could do worse than checking the back pages of Edge for some stuffs.

There are a couple of uni''s in scotland that have started up games programming courses, they *might* be offering a masters and possibly even some sort of conversion course but they won''t be taking people in for another 8 or 9 months so you might as well make some kick ass demo and get a job instead :-)

Good luck!

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I thought you needed a minimum 2:1 to do a Masters ?!

In most cases a degree to an employer shows that you have the will to learn. I have a degree in computer science and I''m no nerd, I''ve been in development industry for 10 years now after leaving university, my uni was miles behind oxford in the league tables - and DON''T think that by going to a uni and getting a third just because it''s at some posh tot uni will get you a job easier than someone with say a 2:1 from UMIST!-) IT WONT''T!

If you are to get into game development, I would personally get some demo''s done, ALL game companies will want to see a portfolio of your work. There are too many people around showing on their cv''s that they can do C++, JAVA, DCOM, ATL, MFC, DIRECTX, OPENGL but without actually showing anything this doesn''t prove anything.

Reg''d,
Steve

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I theory you need a 2:1 minimum to do a masters, but I think a lot depends on what your degree is in. Someone with a 3rd in physics is less likely to struggle than someone with a 1st in History of Art. No offense to History of Art students, it is just the physicist is more likely to have the right mindset.

I took a MSc conversion course in after a degree in physics (I got a 2:2) and although I found much of the programming to be easy (I had already written some basic DX stuff) I learned a lot of stuff that I might have otherwise glossed over, and got a much more rounded knowledge base as a result. Spending a year doing this may or may not be quite useful to you, and you might even be able to develop a portfolio while you are doing it.

However, regardless of what qualifications you have, I think a portfolio is essential.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
A quick post, as i have to get to a lesson. I would also like to get into gave devlopment, and am currently doing my A levels. So i would like to ask, is it essental to do a degree? As I feel that 6th form is a waste of my time. I know C++, and am learning DX, so should I carry on with 6th form, and go onto a degree, or learn as much programming as possible and put some demos together. Ah gotta go to lession, thanks for anyones advice.

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AP: While having gone to uni isn''t essential i think it helps, mainly because you will learn a lot about the proper way to do certain things that you may not otherwise knoe from self-learning or even highschool classes.

Not sure about the age thing either. I''d imagine that a slightly older applicant 22vs18 would usually get the job, based on the fact that he definately knows that he want to program games for a living, whereas someone who hasn''t really tried anything else might not. Dunno, it''s just a guess.


You can do a masters without a 2:2 or above, it just depends on the uni and the course. Then again, the better the grade the better your chance of application. Don''t quote me on this but i''m pretty sure you can do a masters/phd without having a degree at all, industry experiance counts for a hell of a lot these days.

zipless

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You can do a Masters / PHD without doing the degree first, but it takes more work to get onto a course.

Personally I have a degree in Biology and work programming for an Engineering Company doing process control. This has given me the incentives and mindset to begin to learn C++ etc..

As to the Uni / Not Uni Question, a Degree will not necessaily teach you the latest tricks & Techniques. Most Uni Text books and courses are 2 - 3 years behind Cutting Edge, but most companies are too. Look at the Y2k problems, a lot of which was Cobol based from the 60''s !. A degree will prove that you can work and think to a certain level and you understand certain basics and theories. You may well know these without going to uni, but that piece of paper certifies it.

Having been on the other side of hiring discussions, in my experience a Degree will beat A Levels (even if only slighlt relevant) and a Sandwhich course at 2.2 will beat a 3 year course 2.1 as industry experience counts for a lot.

But, there are many companies out there looking for entry level programmers and trainees, and any good candidate should get a look in, especially one with demos. (I got my 1st job as I could supply a series of graphics demos to do with fractals, and my Thesis used PC''S in a big way)

I''d say forget the follow on trainig (new courses don''t start till September anyway) and try to build up a CV / portfolio. (Get involved in open source or community projects, you can learn a lot from other people even if it is the best way not to code something !)

OK, thats my 2p''s worth.

Bp.

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I have very good A-levels in maths and physics (4 "A"s) so hopefully that''ll counteract some of the damage done by my excessive mountain biking during my physics degree [:D]

As for the portfolio, any tips? I suppose I need to try and do something original instead of just another doom clone or just another racing game etc...

- seb

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