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Education Career Path To Computer Game Industry

Discussion in 'General' started by Toka, 25 Jun 2012.

  1. Toka

    Toka Member

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    Evening All

    As always, I'm wondering if the collected wisdom of the BT community can help me out with a bit of knowledge :)

    My sister works in the U.K. teaching Cookery to secondary school students (11 - 16 year olds) and as you might imagine she gets asked a fair few questions along the lines of "What subjects should I do if I want to work in Industry X".

    She has been asked what path a 16 year old should be taking if they wanted to work in the Computer Games industry a few times this year, and having not had much feedback from her IT colleagues has come to me. Myself, not having much of a clue have come to BT.

    My own answer would be that the student could either be involved in the creative side of the industry (game theory, creative writing, artistic design) or the code side (computer languages, 3D modelling). my impression is that the industry is a little saturated with people that know how to make a 3D model, but not many that know how to write code.

    So my question is, is there a solid route from 16 to the games industry, either on the creative or technical side? I'm sure there are specific 'Games Industry' degrees but to avoid pigeon-holing themselves are there other degrees that will still get them through to an interview? Should student look towards A Levels containing Maths / Design / creative Writing and see if they still like the idea at 18?
     
  2. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Maths, IT, English, Art, Physics, would be my recommendations. All the comp sci guys I know do loads of maths, obviously need their IT, physics is just generally reinforcement for maths, and English is good because no-one knows how to speak or write properly any more. Art might be useless depending on the intended path, but could be really essential too.
     
  3. mucgoo

    mucgoo Well-Known Member

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    You couldn't really do programming,writing and design so you need to choose.
    If you want to go down the programming route. Maths, Further Maths and then apply for computer science. Their are gaming specific degrees I believe but a computer science degree will be just as good and have far better general employability. Chance are at 16 there'll have no idea how much maths is involved.
    Also IT at A-level is a joke qualification. The only entry requirement to CS will be Maths and preferably further maths. Computing the one you'd want but not even required as few places offer it.
    For the creative side do some general English or artistic degree and hope and pray. You'll have a very hard time finding a job in the industry.
     
  4. Panomama

    Panomama I once signed up on uniform dating

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    I'm taking Maths, Physics, Computing ((and photography)) A levels, When I start college in september, They are the best 3 combination you can take for anywhere in the computing field, I'd then recommend art as the fourth for game design.


    EDIT: Not ICT, It must be computing - inless you want to work word for 2 years for a pointless qualification.
     
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  5. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    I took a course in games development it came under iMedia

    But computing, media studies(maybe?) graphic design.

    Getting to grips with programming lanuage is quite a good, it really depend what he wants to do its such a broad area, maths is also a good choice.

    The computing foundation degree at my college has an option for a third year of games development so its something to really do alot of research on where he wants to go, is he sitting in an office with a drawing board or behind a pc with lines of code.
     
  6. lm_wfc

    lm_wfc Member

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    I would definitely do coding/software - if you dont get into the games industry you've still got a very good degree and lots of opportunities, i know someone at work in softweare doing games pdevelopment or something at uni
     
  7. 3lusive

    3lusive New Member

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    I hated ICT at A level and wouldn't pick it again if I had the choice. Spreadsheets for two long crappy years!

    Should have picked computing.

    Sent from my HTC One S using Tapatalk 2
     
  8. ripmax

    ripmax Active Member

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    Don't do computer science, there's very little coding involved.
     
  9. lp1988

    lp1988 Well-Known Member

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    Go and see some of the videos from extra credits they have a couple dealing with getting into the business, besides that their work is well worth a look regardless.
     
  10. heh-

    heh- curses.

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    While I can see maths being important for computer games coding, I've never used any of the maths I learned at a-level/university. However it was a requirement for my Computer Science degree course.

    Also, there was plenty of coding involved in my CS course.

    There are specific computer games courses, e.g This one
     
  11. Toka

    Toka Member

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    Thanks all for taking the time to give me a poke in the right direction :)

    I've passed on your advice - who knows maybe one of them will end up making another World of Goo or Minecraft :)
     
  12. julianmartin

    julianmartin resident cyborg.

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    I wouldn't be so sure. It VASTLY depends on the university you go to. My Uni's CS degree was very very programming biased.
     
  13. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Say what now? CS at Aberdeen is the coding degree. If you want to spend hours a day writing code, you do CS. Where on earth doesn't have this?
     
  14. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    from a coding side, it also depends on what field.
    There are fields (physics engines, for example) where Physics and maths would count in your favour.
    Maths are pretty much a must, unless you're planning on going into the design-side.

    On the design side: Without a substantial portfolio of 3d modelling, texturing, and more 3d modelling (preferably for video and for games), you're screwed. Designers are a dime a dozen, and you need to REALLY stand out to get picked.

    Coders don't have it much easier, and the best thing you can try to do is do some extra (on top of your degree) games coding classes. There are a bunch of online study places for this (http://www.gameinstitute.com/ springs to mind).
    Ideally, you'd try to write off your social life completely for the next few years, and try to get into something like digipen (www.digipen.edu) in the US. Rumour has it that for the next 4 years, your family gets replaced by coders, and 18 hour days are common. when you get out (hell... getting in is difficult), you're pretty much as close as you can be to a guaranteed job in the business.
    Other than that, Mod, write games, and do it all the time. Without showing that dedication, you've got no chance.
    Modding is a great intro into it, and actually finishing a mod is also a good, quick self-test.

    It's on the basis of my modding (as in games modding, BTW... not case modding), as well as my dabble in J2ME games a few years back (where I liaised with a guy that's a senior programmer at the company in question now), that I got offered a job not too long ago at I-Imagine.
    It's also as a consequence of that experience that I knew that it's not all it's cracked up to be, and that I prefer commercial coding and web programming.
     
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  15. fev

    fev Industry Fallout

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    Don't go in to the boring design/coding bit. Go in to the PR/Sales/Buying bit... they're the guys that party hardy!*

    *Hardy Partying may not happen if you work for a rubbish PR, a retailer that doesn't allow you to attend launch parties or you sell rubbish games that don't have launches.
     
  16. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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  17. SamL

    SamL New Member

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    I took Computing, ICT, Maths & Physics at A Level... I'd strongly recommend NOT taking ICT unless you want to be a receptionist all your life, I guess that'd be the only place it'd come in mildly handy... I'm going to Uni in September to do Games Design and I didn't even need the Maths or Physics but it definitely helps. My only problem is that the course I'm going to do includes an element of hand-drawn art in the first year which is something I'm not very good at, however they said that they can "teach" (although I believe it's a pretty natural skill) you art.

    So re: your main question, I think that the courses at Uni are quite flexible in terms of what A levels they will accept. If the student feels he has narrowed him/herself down into a specific field from their choices then I would suggest building a strong portfolio in the wanted sector (not that I wouldn't anyway) and make sure that their personal statement is sh- hot when applying for uni, it can make a huge difference upon whether or not they receive an offer.

    Hope that helps!
     
  18. Invictus.

    Invictus. Member

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    Depends on what Job they want to do,e.g QA you dont need anything tbh (but if you do you can work your way up from the bottom as they say into the dev team). then Programmers obviously maths and knowing programming languages is key (C++ and C# are the main ones afaik) and Physics etc would be helpful. For Art, animation, modelling etc its mainly art based areas you look at inc. Physics (for animators at least) artists generally just need to be able to draw well xD

    Generally there are loads of ways in, I've talked to a few guys a few years back (from SI, Insomniac etc) from when I wanted to go down that route and they were talking about guys who started off as QA and tea boy's now being lead programmers etc despite when starting not having any of the skills.

    Most of my uni housemates are doing Game art (and design) or computer animation most dont have A levels in maths etc, A strong portfolio is essential as it shows your stills 100x better than a piece of paper saying you can do it. If they go that route model / animate anything you can think of just to show you can model a wide variety of things rather than just all guns for example.
     
  19. Ending Credits

    Ending Credits Bunned

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    Saying you want to go into the games industry is a bit like saying you want to go into the film industry, there are so many different jobs to choose from and they all require entirley different skillsets.
     
  20. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    Yeah, er, CS grad here. I'm not entirely sure what that dude's smoking.
     

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