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If the college has ads on the TV, don't go. Get a degree from a reputable college in Computer Science. Most state schools will have about the same tuition costs of one of those degree factories with a more respected education. Something like a "Game Programing" Degree will be a negative on your resume over no education at all. Ontop of this competition in the Game Industry is very fierce. A CS degree from a state college or a college like USC, Stanford, or MIT will open more doors.
The main problems with traditional colleges is they are difficult to have full-time work while attending them. They curriculum is also not updated at a rapid pace so it may seem like you are studying a curriculum 40 years old. In the computer field 40 years is like going back to the stone age. To make up for this you can always learn specific languages at a community college.
This is very true, state colleges are significantly better for job seeking than any degree from one of these others.
Unfortunately, in my hiring experiences, I've learned that these other schools are just interview training.
_The Sauce Man
"If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor
Don't waste your money. Go here:
Take a few of the CS courses and get a feel for things. Once done with that, hit google hard, and expand on your programming skills while getting involved in a game mod community. The Elder Scrolls games are great for this.
The thing is, the gaming industry is very much a "good old boys club." Companies are way more interested in what you've already acomplished, in terms of products shipped or real world examples of your work, than they are in any degree you have. So save yourself 50-100k and 2 years, and focus on actually releasing things, or contributing to open source projects or something.
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Collegiate advisor and web designer here. First off Full Sail is a completely legit school. They offer excellent training, hands on, and the latest tech for you to become acquitted with. They even guarantee job placement after graduation somewhere within the industry of your study. The only problem is it costs a metric ton of money. Depending on your field you won't have an issue post graduation paying off student loans but be prepared for sizeable debt. Programming, game-programming, and web programming pays a lot better starting than general game design degrees or 3d modeling. You can even expect 70-90k starting if you manage to create a sizeable portfolio during your years at Fullsail.
Now depending on what state your from... a state college might be a way better option. For example, in states that offer heavy grants/scholarships to students like Florida (Bright Futures 75/100 percent tuition coverage) you can go to a 4 year school and get your degree with only 0-10k debt depending on how good your grades are and if you can get the scholarships.
From what I understand you want to be a game programmer? At the moment FullSail is really the only surefire way to break into the industry thanks to their inside contacts and heavy roots. The other way would be creating a very good indie game to gain a bit of recognition... if you can handle it.
I can offer more advice if you tell me a bit about yourself, your location, your interests, and what you intend to do. Do you have a lot of programming experience? Have you ever worked on a game before?
Computer Science degrees have a lot of wanabee game designers come it that expect making games is easy or involves a damn controller. Once the programming starts they shit themselves. The I like games I should make games mentality doesn't hold up so make sure you actually enjoy the field. For example, I like porn but I don't think I'd enjoy making it.
Originally posted by asmkm22 Don't waste your money. Go here: https://www.khanacademy.org/ Take a few of the CS courses and get a feel for things. Once done with that, hit google hard, and expand on your programming skills while getting involved in a game mod community. The Elder Scrolls games are great for this. The thing is, the gaming industry is very much a "good old boys club." Companies are way more interested in what you've already acomplished, in terms of products shipped or real world examples of your work, than they are in any degree you have. So save yourself 50-100k and 2 years, and focus on actually releasing things, or contributing to open source projects or something.
I disagree asmkm22. While Khan Academy is a great source, I believe that he will still benefit from a traditional college degree in Computer Science.
I do agree that he should get involved in a modding community or some open source projects.
Furthermore, what college are you going to that costs you 50-100k for 2 years? A lot of state colleges will be completely covered under Federal Pell Grants and small amounts of Federal Student Loans. The nice thing about the Pell Grants is that they don't need to be repaid. The Federal Student Loans do have to be repaid, but they are capped at a maximum of 6.5% Annual Interest Rates. If he has a degree and has some product to show (modding or open source) then he'll be a lot more likely to get a job working for a game developer than someone with just a degree or just products...
While I don't work in the video game industry, I'm just looking at it from the perspective of someone who has been turned away from jobs for simply not having a degree, despite having experience in the prospective fields...
Originally posted by Cleffy I should also mention, no college will teach you how to program games even if you are under a game programing major. Game programing is a very niche sector with a variety of different disciplines involved. If you are interested in game programing, then its up to you to apply what you learn into making a game. For games you are looking at learning how to program, linear algebra, calculus, and controlling different states in a persistent environment.
In my vast time programming for a living I've designed full database systems for insurance companies, advanced emulation software, physics simulation software, and many other incredibly complicated systems. In all reality calculus never really comes up. It would if we didn't have all these fancy values already determined by calculus that can be plugged into formulas that anyone that's taken an algebra class can handle.
I'm torn on the subject. While I find that the mathmatical background provided by fundamental calculus is important for mathmatical reasoning and several advanced concepts... I feel making students take calculus for programming degrees forces out some of the creative potential that would enjoy programming and be quite good at it (some of the artsy folk).
I find that in our drive to preserve the prestige of engineering degrees (and thus our own prestige) we're harming the industry in a whole. More actual applications courses instead of theory would create vastly more students capable of entering the job market that are actual capable and innovative.
Get a degree in Computer Science, period.
Think of it this way. Do you really think you can just get your videogame programing degree from a "for profit" college and waltz in and obtain the job of your dreams? If so I hope you realize that the videogame industry in North America is flooded with veteran talent, so it's extremely competitive for someone fresh outta college.
If you get an actual computer science degree that can give you a broader range of possible employment options when you get out of school. Hell, as you learn to program you might find that you like another niche more than programing videogames, or at the very least you will have more available work opportunities while you try landing your dream job in the gaming industry.
I'm not saying it’s impossible to get a degree from a trade school, and land a job in the videogame industry. It's just not as smart in the long haul, and a much larger gamble to boot.
Originally posted by drebian Furthermore, what college are you going to that costs you 50-100k for 2 years? A lot of state colleges will be completely covered under Federal Pell Grants and small amounts of Federal Student Loans. The nice thing about the Pell Grants is that they don't need to be repaid. The Federal Student Loans do have to be repaid, but they are capped at a maximum of 6.5% Annual Interest Rates. If he has a degree and has some product to show (modding or open source) then he'll be a lot more likely to get a job working for a game developer than someone with just a degree or just products... While I don't work in the video game industry, I'm just looking at it from the perspective of someone who has been turned away from jobs for simply not having a degree, despite having experience in the prospective fields...
Sorry for double posting but I'd like to point a few things out. You should be thinking of State Colleges for how affordable they are exactly for the reasons listed above.
In todays job market you need a degree if you want to earn real money without getting lucky. Experience means nothing without something to show for it and a degree acts as a sort of stamp of approval. The idea is that if they employ you and you suck at your job than they can shift the blame of themselves and say "while he had a degree from MIT... how could I have known he was a turducken?"
However just going to a state college wont prepare you for employment. You'll have theory and some programming experience but working on large sweeping projects and etc will still be far from your grasp. Unless you get involved on campus via programming clubs and hopefully a real internship you won't be prepared.
FullSail, however, gives you your moneys worth for what you pay. You get hands on training in the technology relevant for today in labs full of cutting edge equipment that is freely available to YOU and not just faculty.
I got my CS degree at UCF in Florida than worked for a few years before being employed teaching at fullsail for a few more years. Most of my colleagues in other states that went to their respective state colleges for CS degrees have had similar experiences.
In my honest opinion if what you want to do is learn game programming then FullSail is your only real choice. You will be in debt but you'll have readily marketable and technical skills. The level of instruction at places like FullSail is much much higher than at a state university. I've experienced the difference as a student then a teacher. You do get what you pay for.
Additionally depending on how in demand your skillset is you can make quite a pretty penny post graduation. A friend of mine went their for a web design degree and got employed right after his 2 years making 110k/yr from a wdl firm.
Just make sure you really want to program games for a living.
Do you want to learn how to make a mediocre clone of whatever was popular a few years ago? Or do you want to have the capability to make whatever game you want? If the latter, then wherever you go and whatever your major, you would do well to take a lot more math courses than required.
If you want to do modern 3D graphics, it takes weeks to learn a computer language, weeks to learn OpenGL or DirectX, and years to learn the relevant mathematics. A program that teaches you everything except for the mathematics that you need to know will leave you ill-suited to make anything better than mediocre clones of what someone else devised years ago.
Out of curiosity, I had a look at Full Sail's game development major:
They only have you take two math courses. Total. They did do a pretty good job of cramming all of the "you can't do anything at all with 3D graphics unless you know this" topics into those two courses. The problem is that they give you the minimum math background necessary to do a little bit of stuff and that's it.
When programming a game, you don't know what mathematics you'll need until you need it--and happen to already know it, or at least have enough of a background to know where to look it up and understand what you find. If you want to be a game programmer, then even if you major in computer science somewhere, you should take a lot more math courses than the CS degree requires.
For starters, probability is enormously useful for any sort of game programming. Number theory is absolutely essential if you want to do anything security-related. If you want to be able to do truly modern 3D graphics as opposed to the "we're technically using DirectX 11 but not doing anything that we couldn't do with DirectX 9.0c" variety, you'll definitely want a manifolds course. Abstract algebra and combinatorics aren't 100% required for any particular thing, but they'll have a lot of information that will be useful in a variety of ways. Depending on where you go, you may have to grab an introductory-level graduate course rather than an upper-level undergraduate course to hit one or more of those topics--so even if you're going to be an undergraduate, having a graduate program available where you can take a selected graduate-level course or two could be useful.
If that sounds too intimidating, then perhaps you should stop to ask whether you want to be a good game programmer or only a mediocre one. And if the latter, then why bother going into the field at all?
Don't get a gaming or whatever it's called degree. Get a real degree in Computer Science from a reputable university.
Do you need to make your hobby your job? Computer Science is a real degree which is desired by Firms.
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Originally posted by fivoroth Don't get a gaming or whatever it's called degree. Get a real degree in Computer Science from a reputable university. Do you need to make your hobby your job? Computer Science is a real degree which is desired by Firms.
I'd have to agree. Get a Computer Science degree. The job market isn't that good. Make yourself as versatile as possible. Who knows where your career will take you.
There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.-- Herman Melville