Wondering whether a game degree is worth it? A graduate of a dedicated program presents an unusual postmortem of his education
at Gamasutra's education-focused sister site GameCareerGuide.com.
Dan Carreker was a student working as a tester who dropped out of college in hopes to start a career in gaming -- when he found himself hampered in interviews by his lack of experience. His decision? Return to school and finish his degree at a school with a dedicated program in Game Arts and Design.
Following the format of the postmortem -- five things that went right and five that went wrong -- Carreker offers both sides of the coin.
Some of the reasons to get a degree may not be as obvious as others, as Carreker writes:
A central philosophy of the school was that, regardless of your discipline, an understanding of the collaborative nature of game creation was extremely beneficial to the students. Everyone learned, to some degree or another, programming, modeling, animation, audio design, etc. This allowed students to explore a variety of skill sets and discover talents they had been unaware of.
However, there are obviously downsides:
In reality, those things take time to develop. Asking questions before enrolling was a good start, but I failed to separate people's ambitions from what realistically could be accomplished. It wasn't that the school's representatives were deliberately trying to sell things they weren't going to accomplish, but as a new program, some of their goals were going to take longer to achieve than the few years I was going to be there.
Most of his "what went wrong"s, in fact, form the basis of solid questions incoming students can ask of the program's staff, and should help set student expectations.
The full feature
is now live at GameCareerGuide.com.