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View Full Version : Is a degree worth it? University. What do you think??


DaPerPT
10-06-2012, 12:17 PM
Hello guys...You might recognize me from the previous post.. or not.. but long story short, I'm a 15 year old guy who is in the Art high school here in Portugal and wants to go study vfx and go work in another country. I love 3d... every aspect of it.. from modeling to rigging, animating, texturing, rendering... argh.. it will be difficult to choose one path later on.. but that's not why I am here...

I am here because a lot of you say that University is a waste of money and time. Not talking about just this forum... I posted in others as well and they end up saying that you're better on your own than going to a Uni... We all know that a skill set beats a degree anytime...that's not the problem.. the problem is I read on the internet about degrees and a couple of things showed up... like people with a degree gain more salary than those who don't have one... and that without a degree you can not get a working visa for let's say... the USA...and that is huge...I mean... I don't want any doors closed because I don't have a piece of paper :/
Another thing about Uni is that you get to work in a environment with people that are passionate about vfx just like you...

You can say that courses like Escape Studios offer you stuff even better than that... that they even help you build up your portfolio.. that 85% of Escapees gets a job in a couple of months after they are out of the course... and it's only 4 months and cheaper than a Uni... But it doesn't give you a degree!!

Uff... this is a hard choice... I could go to work without a course or degree... yes I could, studying in digital tutors or something like that... the point is.. what's the best path to take... I'm not gonna decide base on your answer... I will decide on my own.. But I want your opinions.. what would you do? Do you think I will regret on not having a degree later on in life?

If you were 15 years old right now... in 3 years you would need to make a decision... what would you choose?

Thanks!

leigh
10-06-2012, 12:28 PM
like people with a degree gain more salary than those who don't have one...

That's not really true since most employers don't care or even ask about your education. But...

and that without a degree you can not get a working visa for let's say... the USA...

This is partly true. The standard work permit for the US, the H-1B, requires a degree by default. If you have 12 years of provable industry experience, you can get around that requirement, but most people are not going to want to wait for 12 years before moving to the US if indeed working in the US is a goal of theirs. There are alternative visas like the O-1 and J-1 categories but they're a little more unusual with very specific requirements of acclaim and achievement with the former, and age and time restrictions on the latter.

DaPerPT
10-06-2012, 12:32 PM
Okk.. thanks for the correction... I can't trust the internet completely... :)

What path would you choose in my position?

leigh
10-06-2012, 12:53 PM
I would say that if working overseas is a goal of yours, then do a degree. Bear in mind though that your degree doesn't necessarily have to specifically be a CG degree, it can be anything related to the field, and that includes fine art, which is definitely something worth considering, especially since so many CG degree courses are not very good.

Look, to be honest I have no degrees myself but I've worked in the States and I've been living in the UK for a long time now despite being from South Africa. But that's been due to a combination of luck and hard work, and it's not necessarily a route I'd recommend that others try to rely on. Getting a degree is definitely going to make your life easier if you have ambitions of working outside the EU, and from a personal standpoint, that's definitely something I'd recommend, as living and working in different countries is an awesome life experience that I've absolutely loved.

I know when you're young the thought of spending four years at uni may seem like an eternity but if you pick a course wisely you'll not only make things easier for yourself in the long run, but you'll also benefit from a good education not to mention the social opportunities that education provides you with.

DaPerPT
10-06-2012, 01:15 PM
Thanks for the reply! It does look an awesome experience to work and live in other countries :D

Anyone else has any opinions?

CB_3D
10-06-2012, 01:54 PM
Hello guys...You might recognize me from the previous post.. or not.. but long story short, I'm a 15 year old guy who is in the Art high school here in Portugal and wants to go study vfx and go work in another country. I love 3d... every aspect of it.. from modeling to rigging, animating, texturing, rendering... argh.. it will be difficult to choose one path later on.. but that's not why I am here...

I am here because a lot of you say that University is a waste of money and time. Not talking about just this forum... I posted in others as well and they end up saying that you're better on your own than going to a Uni... We all know that a skill set beats a degree anytime...that's not the problem.. the problem is I read on the internet about degrees and a couple of things showed up... like people with a degree gain more salary than those who don't have one... and that without a degree you can not get a working visa for let's say... the USA...and that is huge...I mean... I don't want any doors closed because I don't have a piece of paper :/
Another thing about Uni is that you get to work in a environment with people that are passionate about vfx just like you...

You can say that courses like Escape Studios offer you stuff even better than that... that they even help you build up your portfolio.. that 85% of Escapees gets a job in a couple of months after they are out of the course... and it's only 4 months and cheaper than a Uni... But it doesn't give you a degree!!

Uff... this is a hard choice... I could go to work without a course or degree... yes I could, studying in digital tutors or something like that... the point is.. what's the best path to take... I'm not gonna decide base on your answer... I will decide on my own.. But I want your opinions.. what would you do? Do you think I will regret on not having a degree later on in life?

If you were 15 years old right now... in 3 years you would need to make a decision... what would you choose?

Thanks!

Ok, I can see youre in Portugal. Been and lived there until very recently.

This country is a special case as I personally do not believe that Portugal will rise out of the current difficulties. Contrary to what the politicians say, I believe that a couple of years from now people will literally suffering from hunger over there.

Im half Portuguese, so dont think Im trashing the country. But theres something seriously wrong with the Portuguese mentality, and combined with the current economic situation Im pretty sure this decade will be VERY ugly for the Portuguese people. So yes, do get all the degrees you can while youre still at a young age. And its an unfortunate fact that in economic contexts like what we have there right now all the luxury services like 3d, design etc are the first to fall and the last to recuperate.

When you enter the media market you will be very happy to have all the requirements to just get away from there. Obviously train yourself auto-didactically in the specialization that most interests you, while you study.

Oh man, to be 15 again and know what I know now...that would be something.

Good luck!

DaPerPT
10-06-2012, 02:10 PM
I'm 50% Portuguese as well :) I was born in Russia and have the passport. I was raised in a Russian mentality, so yeah.

I think Portugal will come back in a few years, but still the industry in this country is almost none.

I'm not going to study in Portugal! At 18 I will be in the UK, or at least I hope so. Going to a university or a course it's what I'm trying to figure out by this forum post! And after that I'm gonna work and live there.

As much as I like Portugal, I'm gonna be leaving this country in a few years.

Yeah I'm glad I started earlier than others. I just hope I make the best decisions thought!

Thanks for the reply!

DaPerPT
10-07-2012, 11:37 AM
Anyone else has any view? Maybe one of you would choose to go to a course instead of a uni? Thanks!

technokill
10-09-2012, 12:02 AM
I'm in the process of making the same decision myself, and after some thinking and reading, I discovered that it varies from person to person. In my opinion, it depends on how mature you are and how confident you are with you skill set. In my case, as I still got a lot to learn and the path beyond me is a still a little dark, I'm planning on going to an university. It just gives you more time and you can build that confidence, along with the networking you will be making.

The big decision now is whether to focus on a CG uni or maybe a visual arts one. haahaha

mr Bob
10-09-2012, 01:32 AM
Getting a degree is not just about a bit of paper , its where you will meet life long friends and spend 4 years focused on learning a field. Even if you do not take up a career based on the degree you will of picked up very useful life skills. Like learning how to approach research.. Sure in VFX the money you earn is not tied to owning a degree but in every other walk of life it is. Things might not work out in VFX for you so having a good degree to fall back on will be worth its weight in gold.

If you want to earn the big dollars in VFX and be the first to get hired and the last to get fired do a technical degree in computer science or a basic engineering degree. Technical skills like Maths, programming are highly sought after.



b

DaPerPT
10-09-2012, 06:06 PM
Yeah.. I'm really considering University right now...


technokill :

Yeah.. it does vary from person to person.. I think my skill set is far from the requirement...I do have some good knowledge of 3ds Max /AE/PS but next year I really gotta start with Maya/Nuke/Zbrush So I can have a pretty good base knowledge and learn from there.. because you're always learning...

And going to a uni will also help you out build your portfolio.. which is pretty cool :)







Mr Bob :

Wouldn't it be better to do a vfx degree or computer animation so I can meet "life long friends" that have the same passion and interests that I do? I think being good friends with a compositor is a bit more helpful for me (being a 3d artist, or will be) than being friends with a mathematician.

leigh
10-09-2012, 06:49 PM
Wouldn't it be better to do a vfx degree or computer animation so I can meet "life long friends" that have the same passion and interests that I do? I think being good friends with a compositor is a bit more helpful for me (being a 3d artist, or will be) than being friends with a mathematician.

Most of my friends work in entirely different fields. Friendship isn't based on what you do for a living, it's based on shared values and attitudes.

DaPerPT
10-09-2012, 07:24 PM
Oh dude.. you got the wrong thing... I'm not talking about that... of course it doesn't matter if your friend has a job.. or what kind a job..

I was just replying about getting contacts with people in the industry, that it would be easier by getting a degree on that business.

I'm sorry if I said the wrong statement... I didn't mean to do it...I would prefer having a friend that cares about me and I care about him than one that is useful in a certain profession to me...

Hope I fixed the mistake..

mr Bob
10-09-2012, 10:54 PM
Yeah.. I'm really considering University right now...

Mr Bob :

Wouldn't it be better to do a vfx degree or computer animation so I can meet "life long friends" that have the same passion and interests that I do? I think being good friends with a compositor is a bit more helpful for me (being a 3d artist, or will be) than being friends with a mathematician.

You seem to be forgetting comping has maths at its core as does doing anything in 3d. As I have pointed out already if you want to earn the better pay rates and be the first to get hired and the last to be let go, go for a technical degree.
If that's not you, you do not have to go that path, but having a technical degree behind you will be more valuable than any vfx degree should things not work out for you in the industry. At least then you will have an in demand degree and something to fall back on.

b

DaPerPT
10-09-2012, 11:12 PM
Thank you for the reply! I'll think about it :)

technokill
10-10-2012, 12:08 AM
You seem to be forgetting comping has maths at its core as does doing anything in 3d. As I have pointed out already if you want to earn the better pay rates and be the first to get hired and the last to be let go, go for a technical degree.
If that's not you, you do not have to go that path, but having a technical degree behind you will be more valuable than any vfx degree should things not work out for you in the industry. At least then you will have an in demand degree and something to fall back on.

b

What exactly do you mean by technical degree? Wouldn't it be better to have some art-related degree in the background?

DaPerPT
10-11-2012, 11:18 PM
Aren't you responding him Mr Bob?

Well.. anyway.. thanks for the replies... if anyone has anything else to say please do! Appreciate it.

Melvincole
11-09-2012, 07:28 AM
Maybe this isn't the right place, but has anyone finished a university in Germany that you would recommend to me ? If any, please do share your experience.

kachoudas
11-12-2012, 06:07 AM
Not really different from what other said but I'll add my input

- a degree is not a "must have" in this industry but definitly makes life easier when it comes to working abroad. at least, less difficult and more choices.

- a more generic degree in art or technology (depending on your skills and taste) seems more interesting to me than pure CG, especially if you are strong in learning softwares by yourself.

- time in schools brings other things, if the school and teachers are good : future professional contacts, learning new ways of doing and exchange with both like- and different-minded people. Also, you'll get to deal with people who're going to tell you that your stuff isn't so good : you'll receive critics, lots of them, and will learn how to cope with them. This essential in this industry.

- and it's time that you can usee easily to get better at anything you are interested in. You'll start in the industry with much better skills and it will be a much better start.


of course it has to be balanced with the price of studies. In Europe you may find not expensive cursus.

chien
11-12-2012, 07:59 AM
a degree is not a "must have" in this industry but definitly makes life easier when it comes to working abroad

i agree with above, if plan to working locally at yur own country, dun woryr so much a degree or diploma, learn properly and produce a reel dpends on your focus, unless you want to work oversea or move overseas to work, degree is needed only for immigration to get work visa, when I wanted to apply for work visa i have to submit my so called diploma to apply for it

Melvincole
11-12-2012, 09:40 AM
I've decided to go in Germany and study, does anyone know or has studied in the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne?

It seems that they teach pretty well and I really like the student's projects on youtube.

I was wondering if it's hard to get the student visa for Germany. I found some information here http://www.mawista.com/blog/en/schengen-visa-information/

But can anyone confirm if this is correct and up to date?

Also any tips from personal experience would be very highly appreciated.

technokill
11-12-2012, 09:40 PM
Must the degree needed to work overseas related to art or any kind of degree would do it?

taxguy
11-12-2012, 10:36 PM
Here is a post that I did several years ago. It presents a different perspective. I think it is still applicable today:
degree is very worthwhile.....
I see alot of folks noting that a degree isn't necessary for an animation position. Since, I am not in animation, I accept what everyone said about this. BUT!!! Let me present a different point of view.

There are some very good reasons to get a degree among which are:

1. As Leigh noted, in foreign countries, it might be necessary to get a job there.

2. More importantly, it opens up many doors that might not be available otherwise: I have found that folks never know where their life will take them or what changes will ocurr in their life. What happens if suddenly studios start wanting degrees or want those with degrees and experience for higher level positions?
This has certainly been the case for other professions and can certainly start happening here too.

More to the point, what happens if you want to leave the field of computer graphics? This could happen due to outsourcing, problems with the industry ,or simply changed objectives by you. Having a degree opens up more options.

I know someone who switched from animation to eventually going to law school and specializing in intellectual property law. Having a degree will open up other doors.

Also, if a school has a stringent admission policy, you will learn from other top students as well. Top schools also tend to attract top faculty. Lets face it: faculty would prefer to teach the better kids.

Also, I would bet that top faculty have a lot of industry connections. If you go to a good school and do well, it is common for faculty to recommend students to employers and for employers to ask top faculty for recommendations. This happens all the time in many fields of endeavor.

Personally, I STRONGLY recommend that you get a degree. Now once you have one, you don't need a second degree unless you want to teach. You can attend a trade school to get the skills needed such as Gnomon or Animation Mentor or even study books or take online programs for the skills. However, having a degree can't hurt you. It can only help!

With all this said, you still will need a strong demo ( which should occur if you work your butt off at a good school) and would need decent interviewing skills.

Melvincole
11-13-2012, 07:36 AM
Here is a post that I did several years ago. It presents a different perspective. I think it is still applicable today:
degree is very worthwhile.....
I see alot of folks noting that a degree isn't necessary for an animation position. Since, I am not in animation, I accept what everyone said about this. BUT!!! Let me present a different point of view.

There are some very good reasons to get a degree among which are:

1. As Leigh noted, in foreign countries, it might be necessary to get a job there.

2. More importantly, it opens up many doors that might not be available otherwise: I have found that folks never know where their life will take them or what changes will ocurr in their life. What happens if suddenly studios start wanting degrees or want those with degrees and experience for higher level positions?
This has certainly been the case for other professions and can certainly start happening here too.

More to the point, what happens if you want to leave the field of computer graphics? This could happen due to outsourcing, problems with the industry ,or simply changed objectives by you. Having a degree opens up more options.

I know someone who switched from animation to eventually going to law school and specializing in intellectual property law. Having a degree will open up other doors.

Also, if a school has a stringent admission policy, you will learn from other top students as well. Top schools also tend to attract top faculty. Lets face it: faculty would prefer to teach the better kids.

Also, I would bet that top faculty have a lot of industry connections. If you go to a good school and do well, it is common for faculty to recommend students to employers and for employers to ask top faculty for recommendations. This happens all the time in many fields of endeavor.

Personally, I STRONGLY recommend that you get a degree. Now once you have one, you don't need a second degree unless you want to teach. You can attend a trade school to get the skills needed such as Gnomon or Animation Mentor or even study books or take online programs for the skills. However, having a degree can't hurt you. It can only help!

With all this said, you still will need a strong demo ( which should occur if you work your butt off at a good school) and would need decent interviewing skills.

Hey thanks a lot man! You're probably right, and a degree never hurt anyone, it's just that studying is not that cheap anymore these days. Maybe having a degree in law, psychology or something different from our profession could be a great back up plan in case you fail but IMO that thought alone sets the path to never have success in animation or VFX.

h3llbl4z3r
11-14-2012, 09:55 PM
After getting a degree in something I'm not interested in, and not using it at my current position. I have come up with a line that sums it all up in my view.

Get a degree for yourself.

no one else; not your parents, not your future employer, not anyone but yourself. If you don't want a degree don't get one, learn it on your own or on the job. Don't get one that your not passionate about, cause I can tell you it's a waste of time. If you feel you need one then get one. It's that simple the information is all out there and one way of learning is not the best way nor better than any other way as long as you keep learning.

The only legitimate time to get a degree for a job is when you feel you will be held back because you do not have a degree. Plan ahead though, don't get the experience and then at the last minute decide you need a degree. Get the degree while gaining experience so that when the opportunity comes you are ready.

There is no easy path for a career, only jobs; and In-and-Out is hiring.

entropymachine
11-16-2012, 12:32 AM
In Europe, generally speaking ,after the Bologna treaty, Univ. degrees became self-learning oriented and you're more taught to go search for knowledge yourself, so in a certain way it can become like home learning with tutoring in certain courses. I think it is useful for getting some essential foundations on certain areas like fine arts, sciences, architecture, etc depending on what CG area you really want to pursue. Also don't forget that a broad general knowledge is also very useful in whatever area you are. At the same time you can refine your options and start to find the area you really want and specialize in it by taking some courses and learn as much as you can about it. That's one way.

The other way seems to be to jumping directly to a CG school, but i'd only suggest to do that after knowing for sure what path you want, since its a very directed and specialized learning (not to mention costly :) ) and i think although they always give some introductory teaching to the basics of composition, color theory etc, it wont ever be the same as having experienced it as a hobby or in college doing some photography work assignments or shooting your own movies, i.e.

So in sum, college is indeed useful to build your path on it, but if you have your mind set there are lots of CG masters who knew exactly what they wanted and succeeded without it, learning only their craft by themselves or at courses. Good luck

DaPerPT
11-16-2012, 09:37 PM
Thanks to both of you!

Really helped!

mr Bob
11-17-2012, 04:34 AM
What exactly do you mean by technical degree? Wouldn't it be better to have some art-related degree in the background?

Computer science,engineering degree's etc. A course that has maths, physics, computer language etc. Art related > Not if you want to be the guy who makes the tools everyone else pushes.

chien
12-09-2012, 11:34 AM
Get a degree for yourself. no one else; not your parents, not your future employer, not anyone but yourself. If you don't want a degree don't get one, learn it on your own or on the job. Don't get one that your not passionate about, cause I can tell you it's a waste of time. If you feel you need one then get one

agree, it's also about your own choice, won't matter wat others will tell you sometimes

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