Okay, as an advocate of higher education, I would like to address the comments made by Erik Asorson. I agree with most of the points made in your first post, very good advice from someone who obviously has experience. But I believe that your opinions about the importance and benefit of getting a college degree are not correct. And don’t worry, I’m not going to flame you, but I am going to disagree with you.
I’ve heard these kind of statements regarding school before. Most often by people who never attended college, or did and dropped out of one. Also, often by people who like to talk a great deal about “the establishment.” College isn’t for everyone. Frankly, not everyone is cut out for it. But also, not everyone really needs it.
This is partly true (at least in the past) in the game industry. The game industry is one of the few high-tech and high-paying business areas that will frequently employ people without a college degree. This is because, as stated by Mr. Asorson, it is possible to acquire the skills neccessary for a game job through self-teaching.
However, this is changing. More and more often I am reading interviews with game companys and seeing job postings that emphasize the need for at least an Associate’s degree if not a Bachelor’s degree as a requirement to work for them. The game industry is getting more competitive, and the needs for a solid education to distinguish yourself and demonstrate responsibility are rising. In the past it wasn’t as much of a consideration since there were no schools that taught game-specific courses/skills (at least in art and design) and very few that taught digital/3D art and multimedia. Now there are many schools which have entire 3D art and multimedia majors, some schools which teach courses in game design, and even some which are dedicated entirely to game-oriented education (like Digi-Pen.)
Going through college is time-consuming, expensive, and very demanding. Managing to get through a 4 year school is an accomplishment that takes focus, dedication, and responsibility. All traits that are valuable not just in the game industry, but any industry. It shows potential employers that you have the ability to stick with something when the light at the end of the tunnel may be far off, that you can meet deadlines, perform to or above others’ rigorous expectations, follow directions, and interact with other people. Essentially college teaches you not just a profession, but also how to be professional.
Another point to make in favor of pursuing a college education is that the game industry is very hard to break into, even for those who are very talented and ambitious. The most common stories I hear of how people got into the industry is that they knew someone already in it. I don’t believe that the industry should work that way, but it does. And since taking college courses is a great way of meeting people and making contacts, both among students and professors, this is a big plus.
And while you are waiting (i.e. striving) for that dream job with a game company, you will be very qualified with your college education to get a job in many related fields (software development, graphic design, marketing, television, journalism, technical support, advertising, administration, video editing, etc.) And should you find the game industry not to your liking once you get in (as some do) other careers will be that much easier to break into with a college degree. A liberal arts education teaches you to be well-rounded and qualified to work in more than just one nitch. Your list of job opportunities will be much broader, as will be your potential for advancement within your career field.
Other reasons to go to college:
Large, high-tech computer labs (can you say, “render farm?”)
A wide variety of the latest (and legally obtained) software.
Exposure to new ideas and different kinds of people. Tolerance and openess to others’ ideas are people skills that will take you far.
Many clubs and activities for people to get together who may share your interests and hobbies.
Access to school libraries, expensive editing equipment, and other resources.
Much more potential to get an internship or co-op at a game company or company in a related field, for that much-coveted work experience.
Feedback about your work from your peers and betters (although nothing beats posting on the internet!)
Opportunities to study abroad (trust me, this can be a life-changing experience.)
College doesn’t just help you develop as a professional, it helps you develop as a person.
and the number one reason to go to college… coeds!!! :bounce: (trust me, this is worth the 40k+ investment alone! :drool: )
This all said, I am one of those recent college graduates who has been looking for a job for the past six months. Trust me, the irony is not wasted on me. :rolleyes: But at the same time, I know that my education has not been a waste. I made an investment in my future. Through my education, experience, and accomplishments in college I have come to realize what I am capable of and honed the skills that are neccessary for success. Skills that would have been much harder to obtain without the benefit of a structured and challenging ecucation. I know that I have limitless potential, and will get as far as my ambition takes me.
Although I don’t have all the answers, I do believe that my opinions are valid and hope to encourage others who may be considering university education to do so. I have been researching the game industry for years to prepare myself, and am continuing to do so. I have interned in the past at a game company and several software companies. Although I am currently seeking full-time employment, I have for the past several months been earning a living doing freelance work in animation and design. And I will continue to work hard, constantly learning, constantly bettering myself, to my dying day. College was simply one step among many I have and will take to get me where I want to be.
Okay, this ended up being much longer than I originally intended. But it’s an opinion in the opposite direction which needed to be stated. In the end, it’s up to each person to decide what is best for himself/herself. Good luck to everybody!!!