Is Bachelor’s Degree Necessary In Game Development

I got this question from one of you readers.

Question:

I would like info on making my first game. A hidden object game. I have the story board but no clue as to where to go from here. I have Bryce5.5 (thanks for the heads up on that) but I am wondering if there is a better product available for beginners that would be more specific for my project.

I have been considering going back to college for game design and development. Is a 4 yr course and a bachelors degree necessary for what I what to accomplish?

I have given the game a twist that I have yet to see out on the market and would really like to get it in motion before someone else comes up with the same idea. If you can direct me to affordable software or courses specific to my needs I would greatly appreciate it.

Answer:
Before going deeper to answering about the necessity of having a degree, I’d like to remind about the breaking in the industry interview that was conducted with several producers. There’s plenty of insight about what one needs in game production.

Secondly, I recommend checking out articles how to create your first game and recommended resources for game creation. Both of these article can help you out on creating your first game.

Now, in my opinion, getting a bachelor’s degree isn’t perhaps the most optimal solution for getting your game done. While schools can teach about game production, I think many courses aren’t very practical – or take very long to finish. There are most likely some good courses, but I think there are better alternatives.

What I would recommend is to think about your own skills. If you know how to use Bryce and are willing to start programming, then I see no reason why you couldn’t pick some low cost game engine and make a prototype of your game. If that prototype looks good, then proceed.

If on the other hand you don’t feel qualified to do programming (which can be a major problem if you want to do games by yourself) then you either need to find somebody to work with – or hire a coder.

Bottom line is: degrees are good, but I believe there are faster ways to get started – and the fastest way is to simply take some action.

3 thoughts on “Is Bachelor’s Degree Necessary In Game Development

  1. Get the degree… School, for me, was fun. But that’s not the reason I would recommend a degree. A degree helps because when you are interviewing for a new job, or if you are being considered for a promotion, you’ll have that degree. I think that’s important because this industry puts a high value on experience. So, if you’re up against someone with comparable experience, the degree is what might very well separate you. It’s not the end-all-be-all, but it’s certainly another tool.

    Ultimately, if you just want to make hidden object games, skip the schooling. If you want to work for studio, they’ll probably want you to have a CS degree.

  2. Put me in the “don’t bother” camp. A degree is expensive, and there are other (faster) ways to learn the skills you need for a hidden object game. The foremost of which is to learn by doing.

    Will your code be well-designed? Heck no! But it’ll be finished. And a hidden object game doesn’t sound that difficult code-wise, provided you use existing tools as much as possible. (Don’t write your own engine!)

    The other advantage of this approach is that if you finish the hidden object game and then discover that the grass in the promised land is not as green as you thought it was, you’ll only have invested 1-2 years instead of 4-6.

    Now, if you were planning on making a MMORPG, my answer might be different. Also, if you want the degree for other reasons (perhaps you want to have a fallback career in AAA gamedev, or software engineering) then that might trump the considerations I’ve mentioned.

  3. I’d say go for the degree!

    We’re not talking about game development with this one – we’re talking about learning to learn, meeting and growing with like-minded individuals and giving yourself the best possible chance to succeed in life.

    There are a million ideas out there (of which I’ve contributed my share) but there are only a handful of people smart enough to know what to do with them.

    I know there are plenty that have made it big without a degree, but I bet if you got the stats on educated vs uneducated success stories, the learned folk would come out on top.

    In my opinion – whilst I appreciate that this fellow wants to get this done in a hurry – if he’s serious about building the right foundations for a prosperous career (whichever field that may be in) he’s first got to get his head in the right space. Choose the right degree and get it done.