Get the latest Education e-news
  • My First Semester as a Game Engineering Student in Germany

    - Jakob Raith
  • This is a summary of my experiences during my first semester as a Bachelor Game Engineering student at the Technical University Munich. How I moved to Munich on my own, met other fellow aspiring game developers and of course what I actually learned.

    How I got there

    I basically know that I want to be a game developer since I was twelve. Since then my dream is to be part of the gaming industry. I always knew that there is no one single road to get there. But back when I was twelve I started to be interested in coding. I decided that this fascination with programming will be my way to fulfill my dream.

    But living in Austria faced me with some challenges in getting closer to the industry. Firstly, there are no public game dev schools. There are several very small media design courses at universities that cover a bit of game development and you could find private colleges that offer game dev courses but my family cannot afford fees of several thousand euros per semester.

    Secondly, the Austrian game dev community is small. Really small! There are a couple of medium sized companies and teams but it is not an area where you can be sure to land a job in Austria.

    So, I knew I was in for the long run. I changed to a technically oriented school with programming and software engineering classes when I was 14 and got out of school when I was 19. During my last two years in school I started to seriously look for possibilities to study game engineering. Back then I knew that coding was my strong suit and that this could be my entry ticket into the gaming industry. It was then when I found out about the Bachelors program "Informatics: Games Engineering" at the Technical University in Munich. The TU Munich enjoys a really good international reputation (9th place in the Times Higher Education Computer Science Ranking as of 2017) and it was not too far from Austria too. The only problem that remained: Munich is a expensive place to live and my family could not afford to sustain my life there. So, I decided to get a job and save money before starting that program.

    The school I went too also has a good reputation in my area so I had no problem to find a great job as a System Analyst working in 2nd level software support for a great company focusing on telecommunications software. After a year working there another company, that I had also applied to during my initial job search, came back to me with another job offer. Not only could I work as an actual programmer, I was also going to be a game developer. I changed company and worked for another year on casino games for slot machines.

    After two years, I had saved up a nice pillow of money and prepared my application for Munich. I had relatively good grades back in school and got accepted for October 2016.

    Arriving in Munich

    Apart of having a quite high cost of living, the rent in Munich is enormous and the chances of finding a place as a student for the beginning of the semester are tiny. I started to look for rooms as early as May (university starts in October). Luckily my cousin moved to Munich the year before so I had this emergency possibility to crash on his couch... which I needed. But once I arrived in the city I was much more flexible in my search for a room and I was able to get a place a month after moving to my cousin's.


    Coming to Munich I knew that my program still was an Informatics program. That means that Math is a big and important part of it. Since I had a two-year break from school I enrolled for a math preparation course that started two weeks before the official semester start. Not only did it help me to get my brain back into the mode of mathematical thinking, but even more importantly it was a perfect place to get to know new people. I knew no one in the city apart from my cousin, my girlfriend an all my old friends live at home and I was really nervous about making new ones.

    But sitting in a small room with around 20 people for the better part of two weeks and brooding over mathematical problems is a good way to find like-minded people.

    After only two weeks I was part of a cool group of people with the most different backgrounds. I also learned quickly that university really is a place where you can be friends with almost everyone. Everyone seems to be happy and excited to be here and in a technical school, the chances of meeting people with similar interests and hobbies are very high.


comments powered by Disqus