Ask Game Producer: Which Subjects In School Should I Take If I Want To Be a Game Producer?

Which subjects in school should I take if I want to be a game producer?

First I would like to say that game producer’s job isn’t focused around programming, design or modeling. Game producer is sort of a team leader or project leader or project manager who communicates with all parties involved in development. Thus game producer needs many different skills to lead the project efficiently.

I think almost all subjects in school can be somehow used (if not anything else, at least they can give you creative game ideas).
- Math & Physics can be useful (helps in programming, problem solving)
- Art & Music (can be okay for example in creative side)
- English (learn to write press releases, documents etc.)
- Computers

I bet there are other subjects as well that can be good in some way, such as psychology, religions, biology, sports, geography and so on. They can help understanding other people, give you ideas. Geography can help you understand that there are other countries in the world… not just yours. Some of these subjects can also help you understand different cultures. And naturally sports can keep you in good shape.

My favourites were Computers, Math and Physics (besides English) and all these have more than helped me in game production, one way or another. I would still like to point out that I would suggest learning many areas in school, you never know if one day something learned from the past becomes useful in the future.

Which subjects do i have to study at the university?

Eeverybody chooses his own path, and makes decisions based on the goals one has.

I think there are many subjects which can be useful, and at least computer science & economics are most likely beneficial. You have plenty of stuff to choose from, so here’s some tips.
- Math (again)
- Physics (again)
- Leadership
- Project work / project management
- Marketing
- Computer science
- Programming
- Communication (both verbal & written)
- Teamwork
- List goes on…

These were merely some examples. There are also game design schools such as Full Sail or DigiPen. There’s a bit dated article about game design schools at GameDev.net, but it provides some useful information. You might want to check it out as well.

At which age most of the game producers quit or are forced to quit their job?

Term ‘game producer’ was first used by Electronic Arts at 1982, so the ‘game producer’ title is very new. I think there aren’t statistical data on this (tip: feel free to prove me wrong, thanks!) about when producer’s quit their jobs but I think it would be pretty much the same as with anyone in game business.

That would be: as long as they keep breathing…

I aspire to be a game producer and have just now begun my 3D Designing course at Maya Academy. What do you suggest I should add to it? C++?

I would really like to point out that game producer handles several things. Getting knowledge on 3D or C++ isn’t going to be enough – or the right path for being a game producer, you also need skills such as leadership, project management and so on.

But to answer to the question: yes C++ or any other programming language is good to learn. Learning the basics & fundamentals of programming can help you speak the ‘same language’ with other members in the team. C++, Java, even Basic are all okay for starters. Just be sure to continue learning. First it’s simple GOTOs, then it becomes functions, and finally methods. And presumably goes on and on. Pick any language (object oriented seems to be useful in many ways) and start learning the fundamentals.

What type of software should I learn?

Oblivion game producer Gavin Carter gave his opinion about this: Project management skills are really where the rubber meets the road for producers. Experience and knowledge of software like Microsoft Project and Excel for scheduling as well as bug and task-tracking packages like TestTrack Pro, Bugzilla, or JIRA come in extremely handy. Also a deep knowledge of how games are created, both from a coding standpoint and an art creation standpoint, is a necessity when planning out development.

5 thoughts on “Ask Game Producer: Which Subjects In School Should I Take If I Want To Be a Game Producer?

  1. Communication, Accounting, Marketing, Arithmatic, and Psychology is what Im going for.

  2. @Liam: Yep, good point. Added.

  3. Not wanting to be biased since I work at Full Sail (thx for the plug, the $$ will be coming shortly.. hehe), I would also add some kind of teamwork component in there as well.
    Nothing can prepare you for being a producer more than just working with all types of people as much as you can.

  4. Good point, I add that to list.

  5. Communication skills are also very important, both verbal and written.

    I used to work with several people and I quickly learned that my communication skills were quite lacking. I spend a lot of time reading several times the documents I wrote to make sure that people actually understand what I am trying to explain without coming to me asking “what did you mean there?”.

    When I’m about to make a verbal presentation about a complex topic, I first make that presentation out loud to my cat. I know I sound like a complete wacko, but it saved my butt countless times!