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Old 09-07-2010, 08:31 PM   #1
EccentricDuck
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Default New Game Career Guide Magazine - Salaries by level of Education

Hey, did anyone else notice in the the new Game Career Guide Magazine that in nearly every category, people who had "some college" made more than their counterparts who had a technical certificate, associates degree, or bachelor's degree? By the same token, in some fields having "some graduate school" was better than having a master's or PhD.

Can anyone offer some input as to why that is? It certainly surprised me. I suppose you could assume that perhaps those were largely students who interned or got in the door sooner and decided to focus on their jobs rather than school, thus netting them extra years of experience. Other than that, the only thing I can think of is that an undergraduate degree really isn't worth the paper it's printed on (at least for direct salary compensation - I think education is valuable in and of itself but the focus of the article and these forums are on getting into a career in games).
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:24 PM   #2
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Probably because the time and money investment in the amount of years it takes to get a Master's or PhD could have been more time working and extra savings over the years.

The only reason I could think of for getting a Master's or PhD in general are careers that require them, like medicine or science.

Game careers, personally speaking, my double major diploma probably isn't even necessary. You can get into the game industry in many ways, however, my time in game design education was extremely valuable for networking and preparation for industry work.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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But still, just looking at undergrad degrees, those who had a full degree make less than those with "some college" according to that measure - and in some fields by a large margin.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:40 PM   #4
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I think some of this can be attributed to the fact that Degrees in game design and such are a pretty new thing. Most developers especially those that have been in the industry since the early days, are more than likely Art Directors and Studio Producers by now and started when there wasn't an actual "Game Design Degree." A lot of them just went and got some schooling for programming or computer software design and headed right into the industry.

Most of the Art directors I have met who have been in the industry for more than 15 years have little to no schooling at all. But that was at a time when the demands to get into the industry were nowhere near as high. If you had a computer and understood how paint software worked and showed a natural talent for art you were pretty much a shoe-in. Everyone knows that degrees are not a neccessity in this industry but for a lot of people it helps to get you in, especially nowadays when studios are partnering with colleges and hiring students fresh off the graduation runway.

For the record, I have a Bachelors degree in "Media Arts and Animation" and I make significantly more money than most of the people I know that don't have college degrees. I also work at a video game studio with over 100 people and a vast majority of my co-workers have Bachelor's degree's or higher (some lower too of course). Not to mention the fact that I can apply to jobs at companies that require Bachelor's Degrees, like lead artist positions and management positions. So I would hardly say that it "...isn't worth the paper it's printed on"
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:47 PM   #5
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After taking a closer look at that chart I noticed that although people with "Some College" have a tendency to make more money than people with Bachelor's Degrees a great deal of peopl with "Some Graduate" schooling can make just as much if not more so than those with "Some College."
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:43 PM   #6
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I'll hazard a guess that the ones with years of experience, whom are in the senior positions, are possibly the really passionate bedroom coders who didn't need a degree to help them get through the door.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EccentricDuck View Post
But still, just looking at undergrad degrees, those who had a full degree make less than those with "some college" according to that measure - and in some fields by a large margin.
I know some schools offer 1-2 year programs for game related studies, so the 2-3 years of possible industry experience makes them far more valuable than a person with a 4 year undergrad degree. The same principle applies from undergrad degrees to Master's or PhD.

The more time experiencing the industry, the more valuable you become, especially since the industry doesn't really value a degree as a way to show job-related skills.

I haven't seen the article myself, but are these statistics based on first job basis? That's probably the only way a Master's or PhD could curve the statistics because it lands them a better entry level job. With that education, they probably would be shooting for a senior level position, which is very rare to be able to get one in a hidden job market.
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwong View Post
I haven't seen the article myself, but are these statistics based on first job basis? That's probably the only way a Master's or PhD could curve the statistics because it lands them a better entry level job. With that education, they probably would be shooting for a senior level position, which is very rare to be able to get one in a hidden job market.
They're based on a general overview of people IN the industry, so I think you might have a good point there. There was still the same trend with graduate studies as undergraduate studies (some grad was better than masters... the only category for doctorate was in business).

If you have 100 people with grad education looking for positions in the game industry, and only 10 of them land jobs - but those happen to be more senior level jobs - then that would mean that those with some graduate studies or graduate degrees would have proportionally higher salaries to those people who entered in lower. Those who DO work in the game industry and went to grad school may have been more likely to have some specialized skillset that was valuable to a particular sought after role (for example, QA makes crap compared to the others until you hit master's education then it jumps substantially... probably because that's the difference between being a playtester and someone writing advanced automated scripts and streamlining the debugging process).

Also, the survey didn't look at those who made over $200k/year since, by their reasoning, the survey was aimed at people looking at the game industry from the outside and those salaries are usually commanded by people with lots of experience.
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DockRock View Post
I think some of this can be attributed to the fact that Degrees in game design and such are a pretty new thing. Most developers especially those that have been in the industry since the early days, are more than likely Art Directors and Studio Producers by now and started when there wasn't an actual "Game Design Degree." A lot of them just went and got some schooling for programming or computer software design and headed right into the industry.
I second this, and pretty much everything else you said in this post
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