Should you go to college for Game Development

Should You go to college for Game Development?

Going to college for Game development is not a must. You can learn game development through Bootcamps, Youtube tutorials, Udemy Courses, or on SkillShare. There are plenty of free, and paid resources online to help you learn game development.

There are basically three paths that you can take to become a game developer, you can choose to become a self-taught game developer using thousands of free, and paid resources available online. You can choose to go for a Bootcamp or you can go to university and study computer science or related courses.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the paths you choose. We are going to examine each one of them to help you understand what would be suitable for you.

GOING TO COLLEGE FOR GAME DEVELOPMENT

college for game dev

When you go to university to learn Game development, you are most likely going to study Computer Science or Software Engineering. You will learn technical skills including working with programming languages such as C++, C#, and many others. These languages are the ones that you will be using for Game development.

ADVANTAGES OF GOING TO COLLEGE FOR GAME DEVELOPMENT

Here are some of the advantages of going to college for game development.

  • EXPOSURE

One of the advantages of going to college is a wide exposure to your program of study. In your 3 to 4 years of study, you will be exposed to operating Systems, Data Structures & Algorithms, programming, Electronics, Math, Management, Graphics, and networks to name a few.

This exposure to a lot of courses will help you to have a broader understanding of programming and Game development. It will also help you improve your non-technical skills such as communication, leadership, and management skills.

  • DEFINED CURRICULUM

Each university has a set curriculum for a program you are doing, this will help you to know what to learn and what to leave out. A curriculum will guide you on the general path of your program and what to expect going forward.

Although you may not directly take a Game Development course, a defined curriculum guide will help you to study and understand many things that are relevant to game development.

  • SUPPORT AVAILABLE

In university, you will have access to Professors who are experts in your field, they can help you clear your doubts and provide you with expert knowledge. You can also be helped by your coursemates. You will also meet other game developers with whom you can work together.

  • A DEGREE

A degree will be a mark of evidence that you are a trained computer scientist or software engineer for all of your life after graduation. This can be very useful when looking for a job, a degree may speak for you where your words fail.

In Some countries, a computer science, software engineering, or related degree is needed to work as a game developer, this is a great advantage for college graduates.

DISADVANTAGES OF GOING TO COLLEGE FOR GAME DEVELOPMENT

There are some disadvantages of going to college for game development, here are some of them;

  • EXPENSIVE

Tertiary education is hugely expensive; you will spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars just to become a game developer. Others will acquire thousands of debts in student loans which are a thorn in the fresh when paying back.

  • TIME

It takes a lot of time to finish a degree program, three to four years in most cases. That is a lot of time, especially if all you want to learn is Game Development.

  • TOO BROAD

Many universities and colleges are notoriously known for providing more courses than you ever need, (Imagine I had to take a Biology class en route to studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering). You will be required to take classes that you will never apply in your lifetime.

In light of these, you can weigh whether to go to university or not for Game development. Let’s further look at the advantages and disadvantages of being a self-taught Game developer.

BEING A SELF-TAUGHT GAME DEVELOPER

self taught developer

You can learn Game development all by yourself using free resources available online. Here are some of the advantages of being self-taught.

ADVANTAGES OF BEING A SELF-TAUGHT GAME DEVELOPER

  • SAVE MONEY

You can learn Game Development for free on youtube and other free online platforms. Youtube has amazing Game development channels that provide great content. Some of the best include FreeCodeCamp, Brackeys, Game Maker’s Toolkit, Snoman Gaming, Noclip, AI and Games, Thomas Bruch, and many others.

You can also pay for courses on Udemy, Skillshare, etc. Some of the courses on these platforms are far much better than those offered at universities.

  • SAVE TIME

If you are consistent and disciplined, you can save a lot of time and learn a lot within a short period of time. You don’t have to take years to become a good game developer. You can learn more in our article Tips to Become a Better Developer.

  • CHOOSE YOUR PATH

As a self-taught Game Developer, you can choose your own path to focus on, which will save you a lot of time and resources. Instead of focusing on the entire broad Computer Science field, you can just focus on Game Development, etc.

Within the game development field, you can further focus on either Mobile game development, Computer games, or Console Games. Focusing on one field at a time will help you to put together all the tools you need to effectively learn.

  • FLEXIBILITY

Being a self-taught game developer is more flexible than being fully in University, you can learn at your own time, choose your own instructors, your own path, you set your own deadlines, no exams, etc. Although some of these can be weaknesses, the flexibility in being self-taught is unparalleled.

DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A SELF-TAUGHT GAME DEVELOPER

Being a self-taught game developer comes with its own disadvantages, here are some of them;

  • NO CURRICULUM

When you are just starting out, you may not know what to learn in the absence of a curriculum. It is possible to learn things that are not relevant in the absence of guidance. Game development can be very challenging, and involving. It is a good idea to have a defined path to follow.

  • NO ACCOUNTABILITY

When you are learning on your own terms, it is hard to be accountable, you will need a great deal of discipline to keep learning, otherwise, you might just give up when it becomes hard, and there is no one to be accountable to except yourself.

  • NO RECOGNITION

When you graduate from University, you will be given a degree as a recognition by the University, but when you are self-taught, you must unrelentingly seek recognition on your own.

You must put in a lot of work and prove yourself through projects to be acknowledged as a valuable game developer. Recognition for self-taught game developers does not come easy. You will have to unrelentingly work your way up.

Thankfully, many game developers have done it and they are in huge demand in the game development industry. Just be disciplined, consistent, and keep learning.

  • JOBS MAY BE HARD TO GET

In some countries, you can get a job as a game developer even without a Computer Science, or related degree as long as your work can speak for you. In some other countries however, a Computer Science degree is a must to get a job as a game developer.

BOOTCAMPS FOR LEARNING GAME DEVELOPMENT

game dev bootcamp

You can also go for Bootcamps to learn game development, Bootcamps are mostly fast-tracked, there is a curriculum to follow and coaches to help you through the program. Most Bootcamps programs run anywhere from three months to a year.

Bootcamps are highly practical and focus on filling the gaps in the industry. Bootcamps may be very expensive, but they are a great way to learn and understand an in-demand skill like game development quickly.

CONCLUSION

In light of what we have looked at, it can be seen that it’s not a must to go to college for game development. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each path, you can easily choose which path to take looking at your priorities.

If you have cash and you want to learn the in-demand tech skills quickly, go for a game development Bootcamp. If you want to save on money and time, be self-taught, and if you want the security and the benefits that come with a degree, go to college.