While researching some of the development companies I'd like to work for in the future, one thing kept catching my eye; they all wanted previous AAA experience I will have an enormous struggle obtaining. I currently live in an area with no AAA developers nearby, so an internship is next to impossible. Is this requirement a killer, or can this be looked past if I have an 8-year degree? (I am planning on getting a Masters in Computer Science or a similar field anyway for permanent job security.)
If this requirement is that important, I have also heard that you can compensate by having a homemade demo of a game you created on your own. If this is true, how complex must it be? As involved as an indie game? Deeper? Must it be in 3D?
I know this is a few questions too many for one post, but I'd appreciate any advice (preferably for people who have hired other developers in the past or have bypassed a similar issue.)