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Old 12-07-2010, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default QA vs. School

I was wondering if anyone here has some insight for me to help me frame a decision of mine...

I have a business degree from a well-respected program (undergraduate, Canadian) and have 6 years of working experience, 4 of which was in a software consulting / project management role. I have recently decided to make the switchover into games, and I am targeting an AP role in the short term. However, it seems like my resume is not sufficient to get me a even low-level production role right off the bat, and I am steeling myself to the realisation that my previous experience will be more valuable to me as just that -- experience -- rather than a prominent feather on my CV.

Since I don't have any programming or art experience, I feel like my options right now are either to
a) get in at the ground level at a company in QA, where I can prove myself, learn the industry, make an impression and progress from there; or
b) attend a post-grad program, like Game Design @ VFS, and learn the ropes from all angles, continue to build my network, force me to commit a very large portion of a year to learning every aspect of game production in a very condensed time period, produce some portfolio material, and expose me to elements of game production that I might find are more appealing to me than a role in production, and/or might give me a head start on producing something on my own or guiding further self-directed learning.

I suppose I have another option, that is c) to try to learn a 'trade' skill on my own, or to develop a game on my own by using my coordination/leadership skills... but i don't feel like this is the best PRIMARY use of my time for me.

Does this analysis seem correct? Are there major things that I'm missing?

With respect to a),
- Are there other entry-level positions I could apply for? I could find something on the corporate side, but I feel as though they wouldn't give me as much direct experience or contact to the actual process of making games.
- Is a higher position in QA realistic as an entry point? Or quick to advance to if I can 'prove myself'?
- I realise this requires some generalizing or ball-parking, but how long can the progression from QA to an AP position be these days (it's difficult to find up-to-date info on this).

With respect to b),
- knowing that no one has a crystal ball, is it realistic to try to get an AP job immediately after that? Or to get a job in QA anyway but, all things being equal compared to going into QA right now, be able to advance more quickly than if I hadn't taken the program?

Lots of questions. Possibly some Sloperama answers I missed. Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated


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Old 12-07-2010, 01:12 PM   #2
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I ain't reading all those words.
Break in through QA. It's a perfectly fine way to go.
Unless you WANT to go back to school -- that is perfectly fine too. But you still might have to break in through QA.
Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.

PLEASE do not use this website's PM feature to contact me.
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Old 12-19-2010, 04:08 AM   #3
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QA to AP is probably the most common route; I've not heard of many APs who didn't go via QA. All I'd say, is get into a development studio QA team, rather than a publisher. You have a much better chance of moving into a development AP role from there.
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