nemarack

Computer Science With a Focus on Game Programming vs. Game Programming

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Hello all,

I am a current high school senior greatly interested in games. I have been looking at colleges for Game Programming related majors, and I would like to know whether it would be better to major in Computer science with a focus in games, or to major in Game Programming. Thank you for any responses and feedback. 

 

nemarack

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Hey nemarack,

 

I received a Soft Eng degree and truly everything that your learn about programming games comes while sitting around the cafeteria with friends from your class.  That said a com-sci degree teaches you to learn "to learn" development skills.  But I also have friends who have received media development degrees and diplomas and they have waaaaaaay more marketable skills for the game industry (and a lot more published work).  Would love to see what others say - i'd head towards a Game Programming degree (did not know there was such a thing!)

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Big decision, I'll throw some thoughts at you ...

 

Some may argue that education tends to lag behind industry by ~10 years.  One reason may be that education reacts to what students ask for, and they (generally) ask for the skills relating to jobs that are popularised in the media.  So the jobs that will actually be needed by the time the students graduate are often something else completely.  Education is wise to this, hence the classic topics that make up half of the course content - not fun at the time, but often the long term value.

 

With games' modern popularity and ease of development I wouldn't be surprised to see gamedev approach some kind of automated singularity in the next 5-15 years (which is less than the timespan a degree should be relevant).  Therefore a degree specifically in gamedev may become mostly obsolete before it returns value.

 

As an alternative, consider an engineering degree (mechanical, electrical, bio, or whichever field most appeals).  It has the benefits of fundamental system competency useful for gamedev (or the learning of), but is also a core principle in case you want to exit gamedev in the future.  Or skip all this degree stuff entirely, choose to be an entrepreneur - invest a fraction of the same cost into self learning, hiring and producing output and revenue in the first 3 months.

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Going back a good 10 years now, I started a game degree, it was not what I wanted so I switched to Multimedia Systems.  

In hindsight, the best thing I could have done was a standard computer science degree. It does not pigeon hole you into any specific field while leaving you open to explore the subject.

Good luck! 
 

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