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.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hold on: a Masters gives you permanent job security? I'm not sure where you live but it's a lot different to where I live! \$\endgroup\$
    – Groky
    Mar 16, 2012 at 8:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have had an old lecturer of mine agree with me when I said, "we need to re-train people once you are finished with them." All a Master's will do will help you with your first job - "I actually managed to stick through with this degree until the end." says a lot about a person who has nobody else to say something about them (references). Your second/third/etc. jobs all depend on what your previous employer has to say about you. I would personally skip the masters and get some real-world experience. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2012 at 9:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JonathanDickinson +1 for "skip the masters and get some real-world experience". In experience reqs a masters is normally treated as being worth 2 years experience; but for all but the most specialized programming fields I can't see how two more years of formal education would as valuable as two years experience in how the Real World(tm) works for an entry level position. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2012 at 12:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ or get masters while programming games in your spare time, college can be tough on you, but only at times, TBH you have so much free time on your hands you can easily code a complete game and have a social life and finish your courses \$\endgroup\$
    – dreta
    Mar 16, 2012 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just so you know the deal going into it, game development is not a profession with job stability. Be prepared to be a part of a bunch of layoffs and have to find a new job every couple years. The average stay at a game company was 2.5 years a few years ago, not sure if the metric has changed. The good news though is after a few years exp it will be easy to find a job. Programmers have the easiest time in layoffs and job hunting. Also, game Dev doesn't pay as well as business programming but it is a lot more fun. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan Wolfe
    Jun 14, 2015 at 15:29

3 Answers 3


I work in security software for a large company. If I saw an 8-year degree I wouldn't even bother reading the rest of the résumé. Degrees don't teach you how to program, experience does. Make a game.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Amen!! Only recently did people stop pestering me to do a degree instead of "wasting my time" programming on my own. They stopped when I earned good money out of my own little company and walked into a perfect job I applied for. I do eventually want to get a degree, but only to advance what I've learned on my own. I'm guessing hardcore CS stuff and some math does coming in handy at the big companies right? \$\endgroup\$
    – gideon
    Mar 18, 2012 at 12:19

Obviously they wouldn't be able to get enough employees if the AAA industry only allowed people in who are already in the AAA industry, so you can ignore that requirement. What you can't ignore is that you have got to show them something that you have made. If I were to decide you'd have spend the majority of those 8 years programming, which would have left you with a decent portfolio on top of all that much needed experience.

It doesn't have to be 3D to count, it doesn't even have to be a game, though the closer to your desired job function, the better. On the other hand the quality of what you make is probably more important than what it is, so make something that you are confident making.

And if you are not used to programming be prepared to scrap and start over a lot, you are not going to put out the needed quality while learning to do so.


You can do a game with your resumee:



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