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Old 01-20-2011, 08:44 AM   #1
kahanejosh
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Hi

Im in my last year at sixth form in the uk at the moment, and my A-Levels don't feel like they will be great. I am definitely taking a gap year as well from summer time this year and Im 18 years old.

A few questions.

If I wasn't to go to university, whats the best place to start?

The closest developers for me are in Cambridge, Media Molecule (Little Big Planet), Frontier Studios (Kinectimals), Jagex (RunesScape).

Should I look at getting jobs with companies such as these, starting at a low level such as QA? Or look at far smaller developers from the start?

Is QA the best way to get in without a degree? Do you think they would give an internship to someone without a degree?

I really love video games, I want to be a programmer, currently have a good knowledge of Objective-C, iPhone programming but certainly will start learning C++ as it seems to be the most used in the industry (or do you suggest something like c#?).

Can QA jobs lead somewhere? Or are they an easy way in but have few prospects?

Hope you can help! Thanks.

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Old 01-20-2011, 09:30 AM   #2
yaustar
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Quote:
If I wasn't to go to university, whats the best place to start?
Honestly, you are then a bit screwed. It is extremely difficult to get a job as a programmer without a degree. Not impossible but damn difficult.

The short answer to all your questions that to become a programmer is to get a degree.

The long answer is yes, QA is the only place you can be realistically be looking unless you have some skills in other areas you haven't mentioned. Getting a job in QA is a case of more demand then supply, you be against other people who have been to college and University. QA jobs can lead to somewhere but it is the exception rather then the norm. It isn't even an easy way in.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #3
kahanejosh
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Bugger. Well how do companies look at degrees? Say someone having a degree from a lowly recommended uni to a highly recommended one?

Or is it more experience of getting one?
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kahanejosh View Post
Hi

Can QA jobs lead somewhere? Or are they an easy way in but have few prospects?
QA jobs definitely can lead to other positions in game development. However those positions fall primarily into Design and Production.

I don't see why they would bring you on as a programmer up from QA if you don't know much about programming and don't have a degree.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:34 AM   #5
yaustar
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Originally Posted by kahanejosh View Post
Bugger. Well how do companies look at degrees? Say someone having a degree from a lowly recommended uni to a highly recommended one?

Or is it more experience of getting one?
Both. some companies won't care as long as you have one. Some will. The degree is more of proof you have done a form of standardised education, your portfolio is what will get you a job in the end.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:41 AM   #6
kahanejosh
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Would they prefer a computer science degree or game specific degree? I have heard mixed messages on this.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:55 AM   #7
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A comp sci degree is a better bet, a lot of these game degrees are not very good. Besides, with a comp sci you can work on something not in game development while you build up your stuff and try to get a game job.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:56 AM   #8
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A lot of programmers will tell you to go for straight Computer Science and in your free time dabble in game programming as a hobby and, if I was a programmer, I'd probably do the same.

You're then more marketable in case you don't find a job right away, and some game specific degrees skip over really important programming curriculum because they don't necessarily apply to games as they (the school) see it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:26 PM   #9
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The general advice is to go for a CS degree and dabble with the game stuff in your own time although there are some very good game-specific degrees out there such as the ones at Hull and Derby in the UK.
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