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Programming Career Advice Needed

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I am 22 years old, turning 23. I graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Psychology and Anthropology.

But at the end of my university studies, I realized that Psychology is not what I want to do for the rest of my life and I suddenly became interested in programming for some unknown reason. So I picked up the book "Sams Teach Yourself C++ in One Hour a Day" (totally not possible btw), finished the book, and began on my first game project. I created my first pong clone after about 2 weeks. Then I got lucky and was accepted for a 3-month internship as a web developer even though I had zero knowledge in that area.

Now its been close to 2 and a half months and my internship is ending. My boss has offered to hire me as a full-time permanent staff at the end of my internship. However, as much as I enjoyed my time here and enjoy web development work, I feel like my interest is still more inclined towards the games sector and I know that that's where I want to end up eventually or at least be able to try to see if I like it.

My question is, should i take up his offer and continue learning web development skills? Is there any point in that? Maybe I could work and learn game programming during my free time?

Or should I move on and commit all my time to learning game programming? Maybe I could self-study at home, create some stuff to add to my portfolio and then try to find an opportunity at a games company?

Or should I go back to school and get a computer science degree?

What to do, what to do??.. If any of you programmers out there could give me some advice, I would really appreciate it. thanks!
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post #2 of 12
Well I know some people create games as their diploma thesis in my technical university (the degree is BEng and MEng integrated!) so that's a lot of years of experience to create a game. Anyway... you'll never been asked to create a game on your own but you could be asked of programming, animating and stuff (I dunno all of the game developing sectors) so that might be not a problem.
You can think about making programms that serve psychologists too wink.gif.
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
hmm, that doesnt really answer my question hehe
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post #4 of 12
Games development requires a lot of theory (vector mathematics, understanding how the hardware manages certain types of loads, etc). Now I'm not saying that you need to do a CS degree to learn this stuff nor that it's vital for all types of game development (eg writing a Freecell card game for iOS wouldn't require a working knowledge of vectors nor hardware acceleration).

However this is also a very competitive market and thus the tuition fees plus time out of employment might not be worth the gamble.

So we cannot tell you whether to go on the course or not. Though personally I'd stick with my day job, learn to write games in spare time and then see if I wanted to go back to uni and scope out the opportunities available for me. However I like to hedge my bets as I'm not a gambling man.

Your decision mate smile.gif
post #5 of 12

Coming from a BS-CS and a diploma in Digital Media Arts, I would say...honestly? Stick with the job for the mean time to fund your studies, you can negotiate a schedule where you work as a web dev and at the same time going to get a course on game design/programming/etc. The fact that you are offered a job is important right now...

 

Web dev is starting to get more and more powerful right now as a programming platform, from java games to flash games etc. etc. The way I see it, 20 years from now your browser is your console so to speak and it will be the platform you'll be programming games for IMHO.

 

So my suggestion would be, negotiate a schedule where you can acquire some time to learn game programming and work at the same time...maybe get a masters degree in game programming. You already know the psychology of a human being, it'll be put to good use when you program the logic of a game or how a game works.

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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
hmm interesting, thanks guys, that really helps to clear my head quite a bit. Rep +
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post #7 of 12
Take it. Experience is invaluable, and since you don't have a degree, you will need it to get a job elsewhere. Work on learning game programming on the side.

Unless you get really, really lucky or know somebody, just learning game programming won't work, because you won't be able to land a job. That said, some companies only require a degree in any field, but having a relevant degree does give you priority in most cases.

Also, self-teaching usually doesn't result in good programming skills, because finding good sources to learn from is extremely difficult. You will, at least, need someone who is experienced and can point you in the right direction, and working somewhere with programmers is the best way to find someone.

CramComplex's idea of taking the job and studying alongside work sounds great. Go for that if you can.

Maybe look into moving into a different department that deals more with downloadable software rather than web software, if it exists, later on.

What does the technical part of your resume look like right now?
Edited by Coma - 4/14/12 at 5:47pm
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hmm, there isn't exactly a techincal skills section in my resume but it is roughly like :

Experience in the following programming languages: C++, HTML, PHP, jQuery, CSS, ActionScript.

and under work experience:

Web Developer for multiple dynamici websites, CMS bulding and integration, banners, plugins and graphic effects
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post #9 of 12

You're only 22~23...take the job and like I said...you've got enough youth in you to get 2 things done at the same time...although don't let the classes get in the way of your job as it results to bad performance.

 

As I said before...I used to be a programmer then moved to web-design/scripting...now I'm 31 and I'm looking to some other work not related to computers now a days as the competition just got harder as more and more companies are outsourcing to Asia and pay a fraction of the price they pay us now-a-days. I used to get $20/hr starting...but these days...web-designers/scripters are a dime a dozen so they basically laid-ff me and a few high paid designers and went the intern way.

 

IMHO start gathering the information about your location and study the workforce, you're pretty lucky to be offered a job after your internship. Take it...

 

Just remember, if you start loosing passion for your work...then it's time to move on. Just make sure you've got a fall-back position before moving on.

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post #10 of 12
Take the job!



Game development is such a desired field by many that not only would you have to be very competent, but you are competing in a very bad job market right now....(especially for programmers)
 
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