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Future Game Coders - Online Education or College? 143

Posted by Cliff
from the a-fork-in-the-road dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "My cousin is about to graduate high school and wants to enter the game industry. I told him to get a day job (possibly as QA in a game studio) and get an online degree like DeVry's Game and Simulation Programming degree or The Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Game Art & Design degree. I have a BS and an MS in Computer Science, and I've only found what I learned mildly useful for my game programming hobby. Should he suck it up and get a 4-year degree, or is taking online courses focused on game development the way to go? Has anybody gotten one of these degrees and done well for themselves?"
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Future Game Coders - Online Education or College?

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  • That's ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hawkxor (693408) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:40PM (#18509459)
    A 4-year degree is better than a fake degree
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Grrreat (584733)
      Yes a 4 year degree is very important and shouldn't be blown off. But one thing thats equally important as gaining knowledge, is being able to use that knowledge. There are allot of professionals out there with BS and MS degrees that are quite useless. Knowledge isn't everything, the most important thing to have is ability to use what you know. So if you are capable of using what you know then definitely shoot for at least a BS degree from a state college.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      There's also the chance that the guy won't even be game programming material... sure its every gamer/programmer's wet dream, but come on there's only so many positions. Going to college and getting a real degree will at least give you more of a fighting chance for other jobs.

      oh, and I should also mention that some top schools for programming/engineering, such as NCSU, are also offering a game programming course for CS students :)
    • Since I am actually a Game programmer I am finally qualified to answer an ask slashdot question, (rather than just guessing and pretending to be an expert :)

      The original poster is right. You will not get a programming position without group programming skills. Online trade schools are not taken seriously.
      If you want to go the quick way I would recommend a 2 year trade school, such as Guild Hall, on campus at SMU.

      There is a lot of variance in programming positions. The good paying jobs require an intense bac
      • by jd (1658)
        If this had been a question regarding European Universities or colleges, I would have said an honors program that combined mathematics and software engineering or a joint honors program. (Far as I know, they don't do majors/minors anywhere in Europe, and no degree less than a full honors degree is worth a damn. The difference between a single honors with two primary fields and a joint honors program is that the single honors will be run by a single department and will generally be more coherent. Well, as co
  • by SyniK (11922) <tom@gam e r z d ay.com> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:41PM (#18509467) Homepage Journal
    If he will love game programming for the rest of his life, skip the 4-year degree.
    If he might want to change to something else later, say outside of computer programming even, get the 4-year degree.
    • He already has BS and a MS so either option is moot for the future. He needs to learn new skills quickly so either on-line or one-off college course from the university. I would recommend the later just in case he does want to get another degree.
      • by sarahbau (692647)
        The poster has a BS and MS. The person in question has yet to graduate from high school.
        • by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @02:15AM (#18512043) Homepage
          in which case he should get the 4 year degree.

          the 4-year degree is more about improving yourself as a person and learning how to learn than it is about training for a specific career. An added bonus is that it looks significantly better on a resume than a "fake degree"

          Go to college, have fun, major in what you find interesting (you may discover you dont really want to be a game programmer at all and instead love cell biology...who knows) and take classes that will allow you to branch out in different directions (learn how to code...take a microeconomics course...make sure you can write well...do all of those and you will be fine no matter what you want to do)

    • by geekster (87252)
      Just posted to remove my "overrated" moderation which wasn't meant for you.
    • I don't think college is something you should skip if you have the chance to go. It's four years when you learn more than just a skill set. You make friends that you'll have for the rest of your life. He might meet a special lady friend there. You become interested in things you never thought you would. There's nothing than can compare with the college experience. Plus, if he really loves video games that much, he can teach himself what he wants to know during his free time. The fact is though, for t

    • If the toxic business politics seen with game companies such as Atari, Activision, TakeTwo, id, Ion Storm, EA, Ambrosia, Sierra On-Line, Rare, Capcom, Sega, Ubisoft, et al, et al, et al are any indicator, I would STRONGLY recommend having a secondary skillset to fall back on when you inevitably get fed up with the game industry.
  • Neither course will guarantee him a spot (or even help) designing the great games of the future. Those are designed by suits in boardrooms, for the most part.

    But at least a real degree is worth a little more than a comparable size of toilet paper.

  • by Shados (741919) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:42PM (#18509487)

    Unless the university totally sucks, a computer science degree contains most of the important stuff for game development: maths, maths, applied maths, more maths. Did I mention some math? Oh, and some system programming.

    In the end, thats all what games are about.

    I didn't check by myself, but my girlfriend who goes to CMU told me they have a graduate program for game programming thats fairly popular with EA too I think, so then one can kill 2 birds with one stone: have a fairly decent CS degree, and game specific education, with a potential big name having you in their line of sight as soon as you graduate... Its almost a flawless plan, if it is true.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      Being a game programmer for EA is like being an animator for Disney. You're a temp that they'll use up and throw away.
    • by Cyberax (705495)
      You don't need a lot of math in game programming. Just some linear algebra (up to eigenvalues and eigenvectors) and analytic geometry. I've learned these things when I was at school, it's not hard at all.

      Well, if you want to implement a physics engine you'll need some tensor calculus and differential equations. That was covered in a single year at my university (I don't remember if it was the first or second year).
      • by Shados (741919)
        Thats already more math than 99% of other programming related jobs :)
      • by Pseudonym (62607)

        And if you want to implement AI? What if you're working for a company that isn't interested in last years' games, but next years', which might feature fluid simulation or something? And what about the next generation of multi-core CPUs where locking will be so expensive that you'll need to start using lock-free programming?

        It might just be me, but I would not hire anyone who deliberately learned as little as possible, to do only just what was required to do last years' job.

        The best favour you can do you

        • by Cyberax (705495)
          What kind of AI? Image-recognition or bot-like intelligence?

          I've worked in image recognition field, it doesn't really need much math too. Intelligence of game bots needs even less math.

          As for parallel programming (BTW, one of my favorite languages is Erlang) - you don't need math at all for it. You do need a good knowledge of CS, but it's not university math.

          But you might just like math :) I still read new books on mathematical logic even though I don't need it at work.
          • by Pseudonym (62607)

            For the record, I'm specifically talking about a general computer science education, with maths. Now read on...

            Intelligence of game bots needs even less math.

            No, it doesn't, but how can you make an informed choice between two path-finding algorithms? No, you don't have to have seen and analysed them both before, but you at least need to be able to do the analysis.

            As for parallel programming (BTW, one of my favorite languages is Erlang) - you don't need math at all for it. You do need a good knowledge o

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Drawkcab (550036)
        You don't need extremely high level math, but the further you go with it, the more likely you are to be able to retain and apply the basics in appropriate situations. A 2 year certification program generally isn't going to cover much university level math at all. When it comes right down to it, you could learn almost anything on your own without a degree, but if you have the skills for it, just get a real degree and make yourself employable.
  • My advice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajenteks (943860)
    Get the dayjob being a game tester, see how demanding and unlike playing games working in the field really is, and then go from there. Granted, it looks and sounds fun, but for every person who's bragging about how cool there job is there's probably a horror story to match it.

    There's no real need to rush to college or start paying for speciality education right out of highschool. Make sure you like the smell the roses before you want to grow them.
    • That's a pretty good idea to see whether he wants to actually be in the industry or not. Go with this, submitter's cousin, and first find out if you actually want to work on games before devoting your life to it.
  • I found both to be a waste of time
    • And you back that up with what? Why do people like you even bother posting when you know you'll get rated a 1 at best?

      Oh, let me guess. You dropped out a few semesters after starting college to start an evil empire that sells second-rate operating systems and bloated word-processors.
  • by eric76 (679787) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:44PM (#18509503)
    He will have far greater options with a regular degree.

    An on-line degree is unlikely to open the doors that a degree from a regular college or university will.

    Even from a regular college or university, the choice of the school can make a big difference. Years ago, I sent in an application to one company in New York City but never heard back. I mentioned that to someone who was familiar with that company. According to him, it is nearly impossible for anyone without a degree from an Ivy League School to get any kind of development job there.

    So the choice of school does matter. A degree from an on-line school won't open near as many doors as from a regular school.
    • Years ago, I sent in an application to one company in New York City but never heard back. I mentioned that to someone who was familiar with that company. According to him, it is nearly impossible for anyone without a degree from an Ivy League School to get any kind of development job there.

      I don't know what company you're talking about and hell, even if I did, I'd have no idea of their hiring practices, but this strikes me as an attempt to rationalize not getting hired.

      I think people on the outside see competitive companies with a lot of employees from big-name schools and deduce that getting hired requires the big-name degree. Certainly, they do give some weight to where you've from, but they want to have a big pool to draw on to get the best candidates, too. I just think that in life there

  • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:48PM (#18509545) Homepage
    College is there for four things:
    a) to further prepare you for a professional working life.
    b) to give hands-on training with hardware you couldn't afford at home.
    c) for people who can't learn as well on their own.
    d) breaking into a career that heavily depends on diplomas.

    Ask your cousin if he needs any of this, and he'll know his answer. D is definately a hurdle for programming jobs, but it fades as you gain experience to vouch for your skills.
    • I don't think (b) is quite right. College CS programs tend to have the same desktop/windows/visual studio setups as anywhere else. The unix machines (if they even have them) are probably donations of obsolete hardware, stuff you could get on ebay for $500.

      a, c, d and right on the mark though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Metasquares (555685)
        I was going to agree, but I just got access to my school's supercomputer today. If you're fortunate enough to go to a school with good computing resources, there are many opportunities to play with some really incredible machines that you'd probably never get access to in any other way.

        (Of course, my first thought when logging on and noticing that I currently had the whole system to myself was "is there really anything I'll need this much power for?")
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          (Of course, my first thought when logging on and noticing that I currently had the whole system to myself was "is there really anything I'll need this much power for?")

          Running Vista perhaps?

          • by creimer (824291)
            Windows Vista and Supreme Commander, if you want to bring the system to its knees.
    • You forgot the substance abuse, and hopefully getting laid.
    • by GT_Alias (551463) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:25PM (#18510669)
      I think "friends and networking" deserved its own bullet point (unless it fell under A). I wouldn't have imagined I'd maintain some of the contacts I have to-date, and they've led me to opportunities that would have been difficult to come by otherwise.
  • by Mr_eX9 (800448) *
    Begin shameless plug:

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute just got their new Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program out the door--your son can get a four-year education in Game Design with one of five concentrations, or elect to take a dual-major or dual-degree with GSAS and a more traditional major like CS, Psychology, or something else.

    I'm a freshman at RPI and I'm not planning on transferring into this program, but I am planning on taking a minor in Game Design Studies, which has been available
    • by BadERA (107121)
      Nice! I live across the river from RPI, I got my associate's in IT from RIT, I'm a mostly self-taught enterprise .NET software engineer for a major vision company with its computing center in Latham ... I've been looking to go back to school, RPI, being so close, is on my list for consideration. This might be soem motivation ... I wonder how part-time friendly it is.
  • I work in the industry (art side, not code side), and I can say that at the end of the day it doesn't matter where you got your skills, as long as you have them.

    We've got coders who are self taught, coders from 4 year programs, and across the spectrum in between. I would mainly suggest NOT going to DeVry or a vocational program like it. They don't offer a very strong foundation or practical projects to learn on. Go to a local community college and start working on mods if you want the cheaper/faster approac
    • by Lord Kano (13027)
      I second that motion.

      Just a few years ago, I decided to return to college to finish the degree that I abandoned when I was 18. I started off at the local Community College and have since earned two AS degrees there. Those degrees were enough to land me a good job programming and will help me to finance the time I'll spend at a regular college getting the B.S. degree.

      LK
      • by creimer (824291)
        That's what I did. Graduated from the local community college with an AA degree in General Education in 1994, and I'm completing AS degree in computer programming this semester after going to school part time for the last five years. I was already working in the video game industry as a lead tester when I decided to go back to school to prepare for a career outside of the industry. I'm now working on a help desk making the same amount of money as before but only 40 hours a week instead of 80 hours a week
  • A few points (Score:4, Insightful)

    by subreality (157447) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:01PM (#18509669)
    Coding games as a hobby and working in the games industry are *vastly* different experiences. If he's hoping to find a career doing what you do for a hobby, he's in for a rough time.

    Vocational education will teach him how to code. A college education will teach a much broader range of things. Note that the games industry isn't all about coding, and if/when he gets sick of it, the college degree will be applicable to a much wider range of jobs.

    I'd suggest that he intern at a games company for a little while and see if it's really what he has in mind. And if he thinks it is, then he can choose between learning to code and learning a broad range of skills, depending what he sees himself doing there.
  • Better solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:04PM (#18509707) Journal
    Rather than spending four (or more) years in college up front, perhaps a better choice would be to get into the lifestyle for 6-8 months first.

    I would recommend 8-10 cups of strong coffee per day, so that he can stay up writing code for 12-16 hours, 7 days a week (start slow - 10x6, then work up to 16x7). Not fun code, but really mind numbing stuff. Get a good test project, then let him go at it. Figure a good project might be 4-6 weeks long (say, 500-600 hours of programming). When he gets about 75% of the way through - ideally when he starts seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - change the specs. This will be hardest for you, as you'll need to phase the changes so that there are 2-3 new things that need to be incorporated each week, plus 2-3 things that will need to be rewritten. Make sure that you throw in the rolling-rewrite or two - somehting he's already rewritten that "needs" to be changed...again. If you're certain he's not saving old code, do a re-set once in a while to make him re-code something he's deleted as not needed anymore.

    If he's not a slobbering idiot in 8 months, he'll at least be ready to save yoy a year's worth of tuition by taking 22-24 credits per semester. And you'll know he can hack the EA deathmarch. Well, at least until he has a family.
    • by imasu (1008081)
      Don't forget helpful feedback like "No, I told you, it needs to look *cooler*".
  • It doesn't matter what major, just get a 4-year degree from a respected school, preferably the toughest school he's qualified for that won't overstress him.

  • by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:24PM (#18509857)
    ...and regularly hire programmers. The job interview generally goes pretty much like any other engineering position. If he wants to code, he needs to know how to code. Don't know how to write multi-threaded code? Sorry, no job. Never heard of a pointer? Don't need you. That's not to say a four year program is required, we've hired people from game schools as well. Generally they have a background in CS (working in IT, another BS, hobby programmer) that has given them exposure to hard programming topics. I've found that in general game college doesn't give you any real rigorous CS training, and if you want to be a programmer its no different in this industry than any other.

    Oh, and QA won't help you get an engineering job. It will take time away from school. Better off spending that time writing a demo or something, as that would be more impressive than saying how you tested X and thought Y would be a better way to do it.
    • > Don't know how to write multi-threaded code? Sorry, no job.

      Heh ... so /that's/ why games crash so often and never get fixed.
      • Nah, 9/10 that's just poor memory or resource management. Don't worry, I have lots of questions around that too :)
  • I could just say "specialization breeds weakness", but I'll actually give a little more this time, I think :)

    The usefulness of a 4 year degree is obvious - although game dev is gaining more and more cred, I would wager that many non-gaming businesses would hesitate to hire someone with a gaming degree (you don't always get to jump right into your ideal career, in many cases). Beyond that, the experiences from a good 4 year program are more than just learning how to make games - think of it like Public Sc

  • by MaineCoon (12585) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:40PM (#18509973) Homepage
    I've been programming video games on for about 9 years now, with many shipped commercial titles on various platforms.

    For the love of god, get a real degree. "Game" degrees are useless outside the game industry, and a joke and target of pity from within the industry.
  • The longer and harder the degree, the more someone will believe you can learn and do work, in a very generic sort of way. If his vision of a career in games is working for someone else to make their games, then this is going to have an upside. So spend as much time and effort as possible; it's all about sending a message.

    If he wants to make games and isn't thinking in terms of working for someone else, then top priority is to start writing games. Right now. If that's the way he wants to go, then CS may

  • How can you be a game dev without the calculus and linear algebra? The fact that you haven't used your CS degree simply means that your job may be outsourced soon. Computer science is a degree in applied mathematics; Mathematical logic, Number theory, Graph theory, Type Theory, Automata theory, Computability theory, Computational complexity theory, Quantum computing theory, Analysis of algorithms, Algorithms, Data structures, etc... A real computer science degree will not, and should not, teach you about pr
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Shados (741919)
      Warning, this is a little offtopic.

      No, just no. While Computer Science is definately extremely useful, and many jobs (like game development) are nice bets for it, saying that a CS degree should not teach you about practical programming because you can pick that up on your own is insanity. CS Degree should not focus on programming, that is correct (it should have a little bit, since it is applied math, but not much, you are right).

      However, practical programming also is taught in school: its called software e
    • by Oxygen99 (634999)
      Methinks the person more likely to suffer an imminent outsource related surprise is you, not the original poster.

      Having worked in several organisations who've used outsourcing, the first ones to go are usually the ones with the technical, day to day programming skills while the ones who remain are the ones who understand the business processes. Hell, I've got a CS degree from a good university. Big wow. You know what? I've barely used any of it since I graduated. Have I ever been, or do I consider myself i
    • by dbIII (701233)

      How can you be a game dev without the calculus and linear algebra?

      You do that in high school in most places outside the USA. To seriously know how things move about a bit more would be required - but I'm biased by doing an engineering degree and banging my head against a lot of maths to model various mechanical and thermal systems.

      As for specialised degrees - when I went to University a course was offered in Space Engineering - which sounded incredibly cool and was tempting. Consider - it's 1987 in the r

  • After reading some of these comments, I have come to realize that a CS, CmpE or preferably a SWE degree would be better. If your cousin is dead set against a four or five year program, then he should at least consider a diploma program in a classroom setting, such as at the International Academy of Design and Technology [www.iadt.ca] in Toronto, or some similar institution. Nothing compares to being able to talk to your profs face to face.
  • By which I mean, clown college. As we all know, offshored humor is just not funny.

  • I'm about to finish a BS in Computer Engineering. I just landed a programming job at a fairly prestigious game company.

    I think the 4-year degree is the way to go, assuming you are looking at a programming career path. Here's why:
    • Game programming is hard. You need to be a first-class programmer (seriously), and I think the DeVry's degree would put you at a disadvantage.
    • The game industry has a bias against online degrees (because of the above).
    • The game industry often pays less than other software j
    • by jhoger (519683)
      Actually V&V, or non-auditing SQA is a reasonable path to becoming a programmer, since, if done right, the meat of V&V work *is* programming.

      That said, game programmers are, as you say, underpaid, and I'd only assume it is worse for game testers.

      My advice would be to stay well clear of the game industry altogether.

      But to think of it another way, being a game programmer is a reasonable path to becoming a well-paid, professional programmer. It just won't happen while you're actually writing games. Gam
  • Why? Because with a real college degree there will be very little question about his ability to learn something new. Or the ability to fully understand and comprehend a problem. Critical thinking and full problem analysis are skills that are only really developed at a good university. Sure you can learn a computer language on your own and learn the current tricks of the trade outside a university setting. But, if that is the case, you will only ever be a code monkey writing some sub function or routine. You
  • Make sure he understands that game development != real science. Constant crunch time, (relatively) low salaries, stress and deadly deadlines - what you usually hear about working in the game industry is true. It's really not so good.

    Get the 4 year degree and a proper job outside game development, make your own games on the side. You can even sell them online on your own if they're good. You will enjoy it much better. I know I do.
  • You couldn't count the number of highschool students who want to go off to be a game programmer because 'games are so fun'. They tend to think that it's two hours a day coding and six hours a day having fun playing games.

    The real life of a game developer is 60-80 hour weeks, running the same code over and over trying to find some obscure bug in some function that performs some obtuse mathmatical function. There's incredible pressure to deliver before a competitor delivers something similar. After a coupl
  • Definitely a four year degree is going to massively help your case, especially as a "game programmer" (especially if you plan on being an engine programmer). But on top of that, look at most game position ads. They're usually looking for at least 1 shipped title. Trust me, spend some time actually making a gameplay example. It shows initiative as well as gives physical evidence of your abilities and why you would be a good hire DESPITE not having a shipped title. Oh, and don't think that you'll be driv
  • (if anyone answers : )

    How hard is it to get into the game development field for a programmer who has done 15 years of programming, but not game programming (for example in my case: desktop and web development (2/3rds desktop development) doing all sort of languages (my strongest being, these days, C#, C++, and (unfortunately, and outdated) VB 6). Have a 4-year Computer Science degree from University of Tulsa (got it in 93) and been programming ever since.

    I was curious on the feedback (if at all to my q
    • Well, it's definitely going to be harder since a good portion of the work that goes into games is games-specific, or at least altered enough from the mainstream way to make it much different. However, having a solid coding background and knowing your C/C++ fundamentals will definitely help.

      My best suggestion to you would be to start coding games. Come up with a simple idea and go at it. Make a blackjack game, or maybe an asteroids clone, something like that. Making games is the best way to learn to be a
  • Get a degree (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I work in the gaming industry as a programmer. I have 13 years experience. I have hired (and fired) programmers of all stripes.

    Some places are more snobby than others about your educational background, and I find that generally comes from the group in charge of hiring - a bunch of academics will want more schooling than a group of self-taught programmers. Having a degree will make it easier to get past the snobs, and the others won't really care about it because it's really not worth much. At the end of the
  • Game programming IS hard. It is much harder than anything you will encounter in the typical IT world. Having a solid engineering foundation, whether from a university or acquired from experience, will be a major advantage. I regularly interview many candidates with CS/MS degrees and others with IT programming experience who are unable to pass our technical interview, which is NOT specific to games. I'm talking about your standard Algorithms, Data structures and OOP type of stuff.
  • I've got a bachelor's of Game Design and Development and, not so coincidentally, a job at a game studio. Sure, the game degrees that are advertised on TV with hit phrases such as "tighten up the graphics on level 3" or "I make a living playing games all day!" are crap, but the real ones, such as Full Sail's, Digipen's, or Guild Hall's are nothing to snub your nose at.

    Instead of going and getting a degree in a tangentially related field, such as mathematics or computer science, why not get a degree in game d
    • by 280Z28 (896335)
      People hate on all degrees that aren't the one they chose. It's just part of the college "game." If a small company has 15 employees with 2 game degree holders and 13 various cs, engineering, business/management, etc. degrees, then the 2 game degree holders are an easy common target to the 13 others.
    • The computing/IT sector is rife with jealousy. You note my nick is SpaghettiCoder? Just the nick has done enough to earn me a stalker or 2 here on Slashdot, and a wannabe hacker who continually scans my ports from the Slashdot server, and I hardly ever get modded up. Just from the name "SpaghettiCODER". It's 'cos the majority of people here can't code, and they deeply resent anyone who can. Such jealousy.. Game programming is regarded as a glamorous job. So you won't find many well-wishers if you're going t
  • Open Source. Get your feet seriously wet. The best education is learning how to do something by doing it.

    rhY
  • OK. I have a degree, it's a BEng in Computer Systems Engineering.

    The subjects they taught me in this degree, are not often directly relevant to my day job - I work as a Storage Analyst, which is basically 'support, design and stuff' of SANs, Backup Systems and Archiving. These aren't really subjects that were covered in my degree.

    My previous employer, I was working alongside someone who'd come in through an apprentice ship at 16, and had 4 years on me, with the company.

    Which sort of shows, I guess, tha

  • Almost all I learned in the university was completely alien to the real world. There are lots of things you can only learn by doing it, it's the "Thousand books are not worth a trip" effect. If he likes the industry, he should focuse on doing games by himself and entering a game company. That was my experience.
  • Your best bet to get a good education with the highest chance of getting into the game industry when you graduate is to go to Digipen [digipen.edu]
    As far as I know they're the only school that will teach you relevant information to the game industry and give you a degree at the same time.

    I wanted to go there when I was graduating from high school but being a Canadian couldn't get accepted because they weren't an accredited school yet, now they are except you'll have to be an exceptional student to get accepted.
  • Not only should he get the degree because of the wide aspects of the tech industry that he should be exposed to then, but also because it gives him something to fall back on if he determines that 22 hour days with no exercise, no sunlight, and no social don't really appeal to him.
  • Many people have already covered the fact that a real CS degree is a huge benefit in getting and keeping a game programming job. I'll only concur with that (I work in the industry) and move on to something else.

    Go to college for four years. Work is something you'll do for the rest of your life, college is something that only happens once. It doesn't matter if you get a CS degree or an English degree, the experiences you have in college are some of the most important learning you'll do during your life. The
  • Your cousin is more likely to get laid at a real university.

    Education is so much more then just classes in one's chosen field of study. It's about meeting new people, learning to live independantly, and exposure to different ways of thinking. An online degree can't do that.

    If your cousin doesn't value the piece of paper, he can blow off his classes to write games and drop out when he feels like it. I personally chose to get decent grades and graduate early, but I always tell kids that they're better of

  • ... doesn't have any education in it at all. He's just very good at graphics, and ended up doing the graphics on a number of medium- to big-name games. He's now the supervisor over his department.

    He says about the same thing that everyone else in the game industry seems to say: You basically give up your life when you take the job. It doesn't matter how much work has to be done, marketing will determine the release date, and you WILL ship the game on that date - even if your entire team

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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