Why You Should Avoid College For Game Design


At least, not as your first degree. I say this having learned this lesson the hard way, and wish to steer others away from that same mistake. Simply put: that degree is worthless to you if you’re looking to break into the game industry. Not that the skills are worthless, mind you, they can be quite valuable in a general sense, but the degree itself will bring you little value on its own.

See, here’s the deal, and it’s something a lot of game design colleges won’t tell you: There’s not really any such thing as an entry-level game design job. Why? Because game design is not what most people think it is and is not what some of the shadier colleges try to advertise it as. Game design is, first and foremost, a project management position. Being a game designer means you’re in charge to some extent. You’re the ideas man, you’re in charge of a team or a whole project, and you try to lead everybody else to the proper conclusion of the project (be it your vision or someone else’). People fresh out of college are never put in leadership positions off the bat. Not unless they put themselves there by forming their own team. That leaves you with a degree in something nobody will want to give you a chance to use without more concrete experience in the industry. No company wants to entrust a whole project or team to somebody with no work experience.

Pic entirely unrelated to universities that may or may not mislead potential students about a lot of things.

Particularly if that game design/project management degree is all they have.

Now what you DO want to do instead is consider going into game development courses, or some kind of art college (if you can draw, model, or write you’re an asset), or just general coding and programming courses. These will take you a lot farther because they give you a concrete role on any team. You bring something of value to a company, gain experience, and maybe then you can lead a group. If not, you still have a set of valuable, hard-earned skills to bring to the table.

Because to be honest, the “soft skills” you learn in a dedicated game design course are things you can learn by doing or taking individual certification courses alongside regular work. And game developers and publishers know this. They’re valuable skills but unlike coding or art, they’re something that can be used professionally by either learning intuitively (if you’re a talented people person) or with a little instruction. Project management can be learned on the fly. Coding can’t (from scratch, anyway, if you have the fundamentals down you can do it a bit).

Also, it should go without saying, but…if any place still markets like this, run. Run far. Run fast. Don’t look back.

This is just a short PSA from someone who’s been there and is still working off that debt. It’s not really worth it. If you want to work in games, find some other talent to work on first. You’ll be happier, wealthier, and more accomplished in the long term.

What do you guys think? Let us know down below

#Why You Should Avoid College For Game Design

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