Do you need a game developer degree to get a job, or is studying computer science enough? If you finished game design degree at known university companies would certainly welcome you with open arms. And then it would be only a matter of time till your promotion to lead developer. Or so you thought. The truth is – you don’t need a degree in game-programming (or any other) to get such job, but it helps.
Is A Game Development School Necessary?
Let’s assume that there are two candidates, one without any game design school finished, but with actual skills, and the other with school finished but without skills:
- Candidate that finished good school but lacks skills.
- Candidate that didn’t finish game design school but has a lot of valuable skills.
If you were employer, who would be more valuable then? It’s great that one of them finished the school, but the other has bigger skills. I would hire candidate #2. Let’s now assume that there are 3 candidates:
- Candidate that finished school but doesn’t have skills.
- Candidate with skills but without education.
- Candidate with both skills, and education.
Certainly here candidate #3 would be hired as the first person, and eventually if they needed one more, then they would hire candidate #2. So as long as you don’t apply to some super popular and prestigious company, there’s a chance you will get hired with skill alone. However, maximizing your chances with some education certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea.
What Skills I Need For A Job?
Although it doesn’t apply to all the game design schools, many of them won’t teach you the programming languages, game engines and other technologies that are wanted by employers. That means the school course was made without having technology popularity in mind. For example they may teach you GameMaker, RPGMaker, or how to code games in Java, while majority of game development companies require experience in either Unity or Unreal.
If you checked jobs in your city (or any bigger city around you), then requirements will be listed in job description, and they often are:
Of course there are other popular technologies that may be required by the employer, and you will only know them if you check job offers in your area. Just have that in mind not every school will teach you the technologies that are wanted by employers.
List Of Game Design Schools
Here’s the list of best game design schools. To know how to apply to each one of them you have to check their websites.
Best Gamedev Schools In The USA
- University of Southern California.
- University of Utah.
- DigiPen Institute of Technology.
- Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Savannah College of Art and Design.
- Drexel University.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
- New York University.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Carnegie Mellon University.
Top International Game Design Colleges
- Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver.
- Vancouver Film School.
- The Centre for Digital Media.
- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
- Sheridan College.
- University of Bolton.
- Abertay University.
- University of Malta.
- SAE Institute.
- Toronto Film School
Will You Apply To Game Design School?
As I said, even if you don’t do apply to game design school, there’s still huge chance that you will get hired as game programmer if you have skill. But if you want to always be the first guy to get a job wherever you apply, then apart from skill you also need to finish game design degree.
But what if for some reason you decided to not bother with universities? After all, all the tutorials, documentations and necessary information is online, so you don’t need a lecturer to learn game design. In this case if you want to get a job you need to demonstrate to your employer that you have a skill in the technology that he’s interested in. And how to do that? Portfolio!
A portfolio is a website that contains your work. But avoid two mistakes. Don’t create ugly website, because it will lower your chances. And secondly, don’t create ton of mini-projects with bad graphics, because if the games look poorly, then it won’t increase your chances. Instead, make one great game, in the technology that employer may be interested in.