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I am a 19 year old who has always been interested in video & computer games. I developed the interested for game programming about three months ago and started researching on the profession. The only degrees always suggested on the internet and in books are those of computer science, physics, mathematics, & game development. BSc Information Technology has been my major for the past two years; and even though my university teaches we the I.T. students computer programming (in c++, c#, java) and offers us the opportunity to undertake some computer science courses of our choice in addition to the regular I.T. courses, I am feeling insecure about my prospects in getting into the profession. My question is: Will a game development company hire me if I exhibit good math, physics and game programming skills with an I.T. degree? If NO, will I have to obtain an MSc in a much more related course.

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Potentially yes. – Noctrine Mar 18 '11 at 17:54

As stated, the short answer is yes.

The long answer: I've been in charge of hiring for game programmers, been an interviewer, etc. and can say that degree really doesn't matter. I've worked with electrical engineers, people without any degree, and plenty of computer science guys.

That being said, you're still going to have to be spectacular. Personally, when I interview, I dig into algorithmic complexity, optimization, and continually probe until I find a topic the candidate doesn't know and, at that point, have them figure it out. So, you may have some catching up to do.

Remember, it's not just about knowledge. It's about thought process, as well. You need to be able to solve problems, even when they are completely out of your realm of comfort.

Read this blog post. If you're afraid of what it's saying, challenge that fear with knowledge. You're going to need to know everything to get a solid job. You'll need to know more than this, as I'll expect you to know everything here AND as much related to games.

Write games. When I get a resume from someone who hasn't even built a side project game, I typically chuck it. I know that sounds harsh; but, I need someone who'll understand what I'm talking about when/if things are on fire. In games, there's very little time for hand holding.

Write a lot of games. You're going to need to learn about collision, scene graphs, space partitioning, networking, etc. Build games (start small) that let you understand these.

Write games with other people. You're going to need to fail, and hard. The fastest way to fail is to add more people to your team. If you can overcome these challenges, you'll learn a lot. I need people who can work with artists, designers, other engineers, and executives.

I hope that helps :)

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This post seems to prepare you for more "high"-end companies. Especially as student the required knowledge/req. skills are not that extremely as described in the blog post. It gives a broad overview of what "could come", but I assume as long as you apply to lower or mid-class jobs, at normal companies, you are not forced to know that stuff as good as you write your M.D. about it. – daemonfire300 Mar 18 '11 at 23:16
I very much appreciate your answer and the bog post. Just as you advised, I am going to challenge my fear with knowledge. – Nyarkoofori Mar 22 '11 at 10:40

Short answer, yes.

Long answer:
Computer Science degrees do have an advantage over I.T. degrees to a certain extent, since they teach more about data structures, algorithms, time and memory complexity, etc. However, if you spend enough time working on these yourself, then you'll be fine. The main thing to work on is your coding ability. Make a demo, work on your portfolio and brush up your maths. As long as you've got the skills necessary for whichever job you're applying for, the degree that you do doesn't really matter.

It could also potentially show that you're willing to go above and beyond since most of this will probably be done in your own time. If you do have the opportunity to take some data structures, algorithms or programming classes, by all means take it :)

Hope that helps.

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"Hope that helps." It really does help. Thank you very much. – Nyarkoofori Mar 22 '11 at 10:42

A short answer, based purely off what I've read here/logical thought:

As long as your portfolio is of good quality and you can prove your worth in a programming environment (and don't need tons of sleep ;) ), you should be fine. However, be warned your application may be skipped over because you would appear as an IT student rather than a CS student, and they could assume you lack the ability (and you just think programming would be cool).

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If you're in it for the thrill of programming then you would probably not have many issues with an IT degree over a CS degree, as the places where you would find the best work environment wouldn't be the same places that would pass over you because you don't have a CS degree.

At least I'm hoping that's the case when I graduate with my IT degree...

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Thanks but I didn't quite understand the response. Could you please elaborate on it? – Nyarkoofori Mar 22 '11 at 10:48
If you really love programming to the point where it shows when you talk about it and you can back it up with personal/open source projects, then you will likely end up in a smaller firm, like a startup, which won't immediately pass over you because you don't have a CS degree and will focus more on the quality of your programming and your attitude towards it rather than the piece of paper hanging on the wall in your office. If you're looking at going for a bigger firm then it's more likely that you have to clear the HR hurdles, who wouldn't know what a CS degree is beyond it being a job req. – Kenneth Posey Mar 22 '11 at 15:20
Thanks for the clearity. I appreciate it. – Nyarkoofori Mar 23 '11 at 13:40

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