Importance of a Degree?


#21

Although your portfolio or reel or experience, etc. are what really matters, there are advantages in having a degree. It’s not necessary–but there are computer game jobs listings that do say that a degree would be preferable. Also, as has been said, a degree will help if you do anything other than art/cg.

For any art job, the actual portfolio/reel is the most important thing.

Actually–really high up there and not very discussed is personality. Smaller studios look at that almost more than your work, since you need to get along and fit in well.

I’ve got a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. It’s semi-useful for networking purposes.


#22

One thing that a degree will absolutely NOT do is gaurantee you will be paid more. Here is why:

If you acquire $70,000 in college loans, by the time you pay it off with interest it will have cost you at least $80,000 (if not more).

Now lets say that you graduate school at 24 years old and apply for a job. Another 24 year old self taught artist applies for the same job. Luckily for the two of you there are two openings. You both have equal skill level and experience. You have a degree and he does not. Since the hiring manager at this particular job is a college man himself, and values a degree he decides to pay the ‘educated’ candidate a higher salary than the ‘uneducated’ artist. The graduate is hired at $45,000/yr. The self taught artist is hired at $40,000/yr.

You both excel at your positions and do a great job, and your boss notices. However when it comes to giving performance based raises and yearly increases your college education no longer factors into the equation. It is now your work performance that is the determining factor in how much you are paid.

A business does not operate by rewarding it’se employees for their personal accomplishments (contrary to what it may look like through the goggles of an employee). Businesses operate by acquiring valuable assetts, and a good employee is a valuable asset. When you get a raise it is not because the employer wants to make you happy or because you need to buy a new house, it is because they want to insure that you remain an assett to their company, and they believe that the investment they make in your salary will pay dividends when it comes to productivity and profit.

By the time you have both been working at the company for three years no-one will even remember which one of you went to college and which did not, the only thing they will remember is how well you performed the prior year, and how much money you made for the company. You may get away with being rewarded initially for your diploma, if you find an employer that values education, but once that initial “bonus” is over you are faced with the cold hard facts. The fact is that although your paycheck may have a higher number on it you still make less money than the self taught artist, because his expenses are less. It does not matter how much money you make, it matters how much you keep.

If you work for 10 years to pay off your loans you can expect to reduce your annual salary each year by $8,000. That is paid with after tax dollars too! So basically what that means is your yearly gross income is being reduced by $8,000 + 30% = $10,400 each year for the first ten years! You are paying this huge penalty for what? For the privelage of working?


#23

>>>If you work for 10 years to pay off your loans you can expect to reduce your annual salary each year by $8,000. That is paid with after tax dollars too! So basically what that means is your yearly gross income is being reduced by $8,000 + 30% = $10,400 for the first ten years! You are paying this huge penalty for what? For the privelage of working? The privelage of having a job?

I think you are exagerrating a bit… for one at least in the US you get a tax break if you have loans and dependignon how good you are you can earn alot more than you are saying… For exampleif you are interested in being a Flame artist… well none is going to just go out and buy a flame system but if youa re talented you can earn over $100k doing that… so if you can get on one of those systems in school and that is yoru goal it’s worth it…

This industyr invovles some risk… you can take risk then maybe another industry would be better for you.


#24

You pay for school because you’re investing in yourself. Not for the privilege of working.

I received two degrees and I ended up with $30k in loans. It’s interesting to me that the arguments presented here against going to university always have a $70k+ pricetag attached to them.

Unless you’re planning on going to Harvard or Yale, the cost of school is not that much. That is unless you’re suggesting a person be a bonehead and not work their way through school, and simply rack up loans for no reason.

I guess getting an education is no longer viewed as a commodity any more…


#25

im sorry , but why is this thread here every week?

Leigh , Please make A ‘should i go to school or not’ FAQ Thread :slight_smile:

-Will:thumbsup:


#26

My thoughts exactly Will…
Why people don’t just post a link to this thread instead of coming up with the same replies over and over is a mystery to me.
:shrug:


#27

u guys r scaring me… i plan to move out of state just to go study CG this winter… ahhh…
plus i live on my own, i basically support myself (no help from parents:thumbsdow oh well that’s life). i’m
22 yrs old , but i feel like a 44 yrd old about to make a life splitting decision like "getting married " :annoyed: … i’ve read many threads here about how much artists make and how competitive the industry has become… and frankly i get a not so uplifting feeling.:rolleyes:
decisions, decisions … u guys need to be mmore optimistic, at i need to be. i won’t get disencouraged though :buttrock:
i love CG as and art form and/or industry.


#28

Originally posted by anoe_nomus
u guys r scaring me… i plan to move out of state just to go study CG this winter… ahhh…
plus i live on my own, i basically support myself (no help from parents:thumbsdow oh well that’s life). i’m
22 yrs old , but i feel like a 44 yrd old about to make a life splitting decision like "getting married " :annoyed: …

Ha. I wish I knew what I know now when I was 22! Just wait until you hit 30 then it will really sink in. Okay you are too young allready. I did some worrying too but things will work out.

Otherwise give yourself some breathing room… I don’t wish to give too personal advice but you are in the middle of a career path dumping marraige on top of that is confusing.

Do not make a decision based soley on what you hear here.

If you know that this is what oyu want to do with the rest of life then be strategic get yourself close to where the work is and make contacts. Starting doing freelance and teaching yourself can be rough.

If those that are telling you not to go to school are inthe UK and you are in the UK they may be right… about the schools and work situation there but it’s not the same here in the US… degrees can make a huge difference and there are some very quality programs.

But the bottom line is that it will only be as good as you make it. School is fun…I had a blast, learned alot and have no regrets.


#29

There are countless threads here all outlining everything covered here…

do a search for school threads and the sort and you will find that most of the people that answered in this thread have the same [if not cut n paste text] opinions in other previous threads.

anyway, good luck with your descision. and for me, having a degree means that I can look for work worldwide. UK, NZ, France, Canada, US…it does not matter…since most immigration procedures are generally the same and require a degree or equivalent experience.


#30

Alright, guys - lets finish this…

Those of you who are already signed on with a course - see it through. It will teach you at least one lesson of working in an enviroment - getting your projects done on time, and without excuses! I have to agree - a degree on your CV is better than no degree. Just make sure you have a kick-ass demo-reel/portfolio at the end of it all! That is what will get you into that dream-job…

To those of us debating over the importance of a degree - all I know is that the education system in the UK is doing shit for its students. That much I do know - and that is from an Industry perspective NOT my own “maded-up” bullshit…

I still stand by my opinion that fees for courses cater for the super-rich.


#31

Originally posted by DigiLusionist
[B]You pay for school because you’re investing in yourself. Not for the privilege of working.

I received two degrees and I ended up with $30k in loans. It’s interesting to me that the arguments presented here against going to university always have a $70k+ pricetag attached to them.

Unless you’re planning on going to Harvard or Yale, the cost of school is not that much. That is unless you’re suggesting a person be a bonehead and not work their way through school, and simply rack up loans for no reason.

I guess getting an education is no longer viewed as a commodity any more… [/B]

I don’t believe that getting an education is viewed as a commodity anymore, it’s viewed as a requirement. Look at how many college students go to school that don’t want to be there, and just screw off for four years, then come home with no skills and no experience. They don’t value it because either their parents pay for school, or they get a loan. And since debt it so common people start to think of loans as free money. The average American has 14 credit cards, $8,000+ in credit card debt, and pays over $80 a month in credit card interest alone. This does not even include automobile and mortgage debt.

Coming from a person that has no debt this seems like complete insanity! It is no wonder there are people out there making $100,000 a year who can’t even get ahead. Because they have already spent all of tommorows money! You are supposed to spend yesterdays money, not tommorows! Getting in debt for schooling is a great lead into the rat race. It’s the first step onto the track of constant consumerism, supported by and reliant on constant employment. Most people wish to get out of the rat race once they’ve been in for a couple years. Why do you think you see all these get rich quick schemes on late night TV? But if you never get into the rat race in the first place , then you won’t have to worry about getting out later.

About 10 years ago automobile insurance was an optional purchase, somewhat like renters insurance, earthquake insurance, and other supplemental insurance policies are today. Like those types of insurance it was relatively cheap, you would pay maybe $15-$30 a month for your car insurance. This was just enough for the insurance companies to stay in business, cover their claims, and make a moderate profit. Then the insurance companies sucessfully lobbied the government to make it a requirement to purchase their product. And since then what has happened? Car insurance rates have gone through the roof!

What does this have to do with college? In recent years college tuitions and fees have also been going through the roof, much like insurance rates they are accelerating well beyond the pace of the economy. Why? People attend college for the same reason they buy car insurance, because they think it is a requirement. If something is required it doesn’t matter if it cost $100, $1000, or $1,000,000. You simply do not have a choice. Colleges have done their best to promote themselves the same way insurance companies do; as the only viable option. The brainwashing campaign starts as soon as you are old enough to know what college is.

I remember when I was in elementary school the teacher asked for a show of hands. “Who want’s to go to college?” she asked. All the hands in the classroom went up. “Good for you” was her response, “because if you don’t go to college you will never get a good job, and if you don’t get good grades here in elementary school you will never go to college”. The teacher didn’t ask us what we wanted to do for a living first. She didn’t ask how our families financial situation was. She simply made a blanket statement. “Go to college or else you will be stupid and poor”. This sentiment is repeated to us througout highscool, on tv, from the government, from our parents. The bullshit flies in from all angles, and every time someone falls for it the colleges collect a check.

Politicians tell about how their dream is for “every student to be able to have a college education”. Well 100 years ago some politician’s dream was for every student to have a high school education. And now that that is true no-one values it. As soon as an education becomes both accesible to everyone and a requirement it is no longer special. When my dad was in school his teachers used to lecture him much the same way they did me. But instead of saying “If you don’t go to college you will never get a good job” they said “If you don’t graduate high school you will never get a good job”. Today that statement is laughable since according to popular opinion a high school diploma is now completely useless unless acompanied by a college education.

Soon a 4 year college degree will become a useless, expensive, requirement just like car insurance. More money going out that never comes back in. Another rung on the hamster wheel. Another reason to keep you working every single day of your miserable life as they push back the retirement age and invent new drugs to keep you doped up, alive, and still working.

Some people like to think that humans are the most highly evolved species on the planet. I disagree. I think that bees and ants are the most highly evolved. As an ant you are born, you work mindlessly your entire life supporting the sytem, then you die. This is the evolutionary path we are on right now.


#32

:beer:

I dont think alot of people even bothered what you have so eloquently said.

I agree with you 100% College is more about getting you locked into the paying off your debt with your income , than it is education now. But it is a catch 22 , you do need it for the Secure Job that pays well , that will take care of your family.

But if you want to go out there and gamble with your future , then you dont need one.

Needless to say , You dont need a college degree to be sucessful (bill gates). But its a good idea to have a plan b , because the house always wins.

Anyone thinking about not being in debt forever read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” or “Who Stole My Cheese?”

  • Will

#33

I always thought a person goes to school to learn things they will never have a chance to otherwise learn.

The view that you can learn all you need to by “experience” would negate my argument if it weren’t for the fact that college grads also learn from experience, in addition to being educated.

Hey, if a CG artist does not wants to be formally educated, that’s jis choice…


#34

Originally posted by DigiLusionist
I always thought a person goes to school to learn things they will never have a chance to otherwise learn.

You should want to learn other things while in school besides a piece of software. But many peopel think that what school is these days :shrug:


#35

Originally posted by WillJohn
[B]:beer:

Anyone thinking about not being in debt forever read … “Who Stole My Cheese?”
[/B]

man. some yuppie rail of a woman was reading that aloud to her 10 year old daughter on the beach a few weeks back…I wanted to punch her in the trachea. What a pile of pandering garbage. Yuppie books like this make me almost as mad as having to go to the damn business section of the book store just to find Sun Tzu. :annoyed:


#36

Originally posted by bentllama
man. some yuppie rail of a woman was reading that aloud to her 10 year old daughter on the beach a few weeks back…I wanted to punch her in the trachea. What a pile of pandering garbage. Yuppie books like this make me almost as mad as having to go to the damn business section of the book store just to find Sun Tzu. :annoyed:

Y’know there’s a companion book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” … there’s also the author’s unpublished “Who Cut The Cheese?” It’s about 3 mice who try to examine the age old adage of who ever smelt it dealt it.


#37

Criminy! When those of us on this forum who have degrees advocate going to university, we’re not automatically saying it should be for a degree in CG, so get over that assumption already.

Seems to be a huge chip on some shoulders around here about higher ed. What’s that about?


#38

Originally posted by Leonard
[B]Get a degree.

You’ll be likely to get paid more with a degree.

And pick up hotter chicks.

:beer:

L. [/B]

(clueless voice) if you’re not doing CG that is! (does barbie motions ala Jessica Alba in Never been kissed)

**

try picking up the current 3D world mag… it covers this issues over 10 glorious pages. Issue 44 with nemo.


#39

Bah! You don’t need a degree to do CG, if your hot stuff you’ll land a job guaranteed. If you can produce the goods no one is going to care.

Now if you are going to get a degree, go get a business or law degree in your spare time, so that, 5 years down the track of modelling the same ol shit day in day out, when your eye sight is officially shot, your back is hunched, your skin is deathly white and you’ve had enough of CG you can at least have a different career path open for you, cos let’s face it there aren’t too many 40 year old CG artists around (unless your in managment) so ya better think ahead!


#40

Yep, and who knows what will happen to the industry. Maybe some new technology will come along that renders CG artists obsolete, kind of like what happened when CG was introduced and wiped out many of the traditional entertainment industry jobs like hand drawn animation, animatronics, prosthetics, and others. A lot of people say “Well I will just adapt and learn the new technology” but you might not want to. It might be completely different. If you spent 40 years making rubber monster masks for movie special effects in a workshop working with your hands, the idea of sitting in front of a computer all day may not appeal to you. That’s why I don’t pay my bills with money from the future, because the future might never come, and if it does it might be a lot different than you expect.