By December 12, 2019

5 Reasons To NOT Study GAME DEVELOPMENT In College


Video game development is not for the faint of heart. It’s an extremely difficult and demanding line of work, and the rewards are not nearly as great as you might think.

I would guess that at last 70 percent of professional programmers have fantasized about becoming video game developers at some point in their lives—hell, I’m fantasizing about it right now.

video game development is difficult. Really difficult. There is a large amount to learn and so much of it is art.

You can easily get in way over your head, where you don’t even know what you don’t know or what is important.

You can certainly teach yourself video game development (I did), but are you going to teach yourself how to make video game graphics, how to design a story and level, 3D modeling, how to use the latest graphics engine, and all the other countless areas of speciality that are required to build one of the complex video games of today?

The thing is… You can actually do that. And the funny thing is that you don't even need to go to college to do that. #GameDevelopment #GameDesign #College

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should NOT go to college to study game development.

Transcript Of The Video

Jonathan Thompson: Do you want to be a video game developer but don't know where to start. I'm Jonathan, and I studied video game development at California State University, Chico, and in today's video, I'm going to be giving you my top five reasons why you should not study game development in college.

Recently, I created another video where I'm going over my top reasons of why you should study game development and college. So definitely go check that video out. There'll be a link down in the description, as well as up the info card for that video. All right, so let's get right into it. The first reason you should not study game development in college is the cost. Now, college is very expensive and the price of tuition keeps going up and up every single year.

And especially here in America, we have the huge, huge student loans crisis and it's putting all sorts of people in debt at a very young age, and it can be extremely hard to get out of this. Basically what I'm trying to say is don't make any poor financial decisions when you're young that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life.

Also just be aware that different types of colleges have different types of tuition rates, so there are public colleges, private colleges, and for-profit universities. And so, all of them are going to be structured a little bit differently about how you can pay for them and how much they're going to cost you for tuition, cost of living and everything like that.

Also, it can be pretty tough for a college student to find anything better than a part-time minimum wage job, which frankly, isn't going to cover all your bills and tuition. So as with any other major decision in life, just make sure you're being smart about your finances.

The second reason you should not study game development college is that a degree does not equal a job, nor does a job actually require a degree. Having that checkbox requirement for having a degree might get you past HR, but really, if you're getting hired, they want to see that you're experienced in what the position you're applying for. So experience is really what matters.

Employers want to see can you actually do the job that you're applying for, and if you can show them some really cool project that you made or some awesome work that you've done, doesn't really matter whether or not you have a degree. Now, for most job postings within the games industry, under the requirements, it'll typically say degree or equivalent experience.

So if you can show them, again, an awesome project that you made or maybe you have a blog that's related to the position that you're applying for, those kinds of things are going to increase your chances of getting the job and it's going to be pretty much irrelevant whether or not you have a degree.

Now, the third reason you shouldn't study game development college is because game development, as a subject, is just far too broad. Game development is comprised of several different disciplines that are typically pretty unrelated. So you have art, programming, design, marketing. The list goes on. And if you wanted, you could get a college degree in any one of those disciplines, and you're going to be a lot more highly skilled in that particular discipline.

And most of the job openings at the bigger game development companies are going to be for these highly specified positions where they want someone who's an expert in that area. So in general, it's going to serve you better to specialize in one of these areas and then maybe occasionally step into a game development related things when it makes sense for you. So for example, if you want it to be a game programmer, it'd probably be better off for you to study computer science. And then, if you have some open ended projects, maybe you make a game or maybe you make something that could be a nice tool for game developers.

All right, the fourth reason why you shouldn't study game development in college is because all the skills that you learn in college are things that you can easily learn on your own. The important thing to know about being a game developer is there's no one that can actually tell you whether or not you're a game developer. You're a game developer if you make a game, and that's something that you can easily do on your own these days.

There are a huge amount of free and cheap resources available to you online that can teach you how to make your own game. Also because of the large amount and variety of programs available to game developers, it's impossible for teachers to teach you all of the features of all the different applications that you're going to be using. So one thing that they really focus on teaching you in college is learning how to learn. In college they teach you how to go out and get your own resources, which is something that you can easily learn how to do on your own.

Now, typically, in most cases, the instructors are going to have industry experience, whether that be in the games industry or related field like animation, and they can certainly provide you a solid guidance and get you going in the right path. But again, you can find these resources online if you're looking in the right forums and things like that. Most of the issues that you face as a beginner game developer have been addressed many times over in all different kinds of forums across the internet.

Now the fifth and final reason why you should not study game development in college, and this one's a little bit of a double edged sword, but college is full of distractions. Now, on one hand, a lot of these things that can be categorized as distractions can make you a more well rounded person. However, on the other hand, it can be pretty easy to fall victim to these things and then you get caught in a bad spot. And it can end up having a huge impact on your performance in school or even your ability to graduate.

Now, college is a great place to learn about all sorts of different things in school. However, it's also a great place to work on your social skills. And in college there's certainly going to be a lot more people working on their social skills rather than working on school. And these people are all around you. When you go to college there's going to be student housing and apartment complexes, where the apartments are really close together, and there's always going to be people throwing parties and keeping you up at night and just distracting you from your work in general. And you, yourself, can easily get caught up in partying and having too much fun, and that can be a major distraction from what your real goals are.

Now, outside of the partying, another huge distraction is completely unrelated classes that are required to take for your degree. Colleges require you to take a certain number of classes for math and history and all sorts of typical things like that. And it is good to make you a more well rounded person. But again, some of these classes just can cause you a whole bunch of stress and anxiety. And again, it's a huge distraction from your main classes that you really want to focus on and things that you're interested in.

Anyways, those are my top five reasons of why you should not study game development in college. And don't forget to check out my other video that I made where I go over the top reasons why you should study game development in college. And so, let me know if you're interested in getting into the game development industry and if you have any questions related to that. But that's going to wrap up this video. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, make sure you hit that “like” button. Also, feel free to subscribe to the channel for lots more videos like this one. And I'll see you in the next one.

Why You SHOULD Study Game Development in College –

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."