Originally Posted by KRowley
if I were personally looking to hire a designer; I wouldn't filter applicants by if they have a degree or not. If their portfolio can demonstrate their understanding of game design and I can see they can think like a designer, I'd have no issue hiring them.
If one is looking to hire designers, then it's because there aren't any people internally who are promising enough in design, or all the existing personnel are too valuable in their current positions.
For a designer, most people want experienced people only (people who have worked in the industry on multiple projects, as designers).
Personally, I would never hire a designer who does not have industry experience, who is not credited on several games.
So the first thing I'm filtering is experience. Certainly not degrees.
But if I'm open to hiring people without experience, like for instance, junior programmers, then the second filter is a degree. So the degree is essential, for a candidate who does not have industry experience*.
My third filter is location. Actually, that's often the first thing I look at, if I'm interviewing entry-level people.
I won't even look at portfolios until a resume has passed through my filters, as I wrote in my IGDA columns for March and April 2010: http://www.igda.org/games-game-archives
*(I defined the word "experience" in my October 2006 column.)