5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Taking Up Game Technology
The games industry is pretty huge and dynamic. As aspiring game developers, your journey begins with taking up the right course at the right institution. It begins by asking yourself these 5 crucial questions.
The decision about what you want to study and where is crucial. Not to mention – quite tough! After all, it is going to affect you for years to come.
This is even more true of an industry as huge, creative and dynamic as the games industry.
There are a lot of things to consider and most of them often come down to your personal choices. Is cost the most important factor that affects your decision? Does the reputation of institutions matter above everything else? Or are infrastructure and faculty your major concerns?
The decision is completely yours. But how you arrive at it matters. Here are 5 absolutely crucial questions to ask yourself before studying Games Technology.
1. What Does a Formal Education/Degree In Game Technologies Get Me?
One of the latest trends we see in the education sector is the seeming decline of formal education.
It’s the 21st century. And there’s no dearth of educational resources on the internet. Whatever it is you need to learn, you can, on the web.
So, where does that leave game technologies? Is the same true for students aspiring to make it big in the video game industry?
Does that make enrolling for a game technology course at a formal institution a bad idea?
Formal education is still the biggest facilitator of your journey. And the buck doesn’t stop here. Formal education gives you:
- Credibility. A lot of of companies and studios still find this more valuable than anything else.
- Resources. Formal institutions tend to have readily available resources to help you make the best of your course. It’s also far easier to know which ones work best for you in a formal, university context.
- A well-formed, structured path from A to B. Chances of being completely lost about what you have to do with the course are less. This hastens skill development.
- Networking opportunities. Formal contexts are great opportunities for building the best networks. You can’t learn in a vacuum. And formal institutions ensure you get the best support systems.
- Industry connections. Big universities often have industry connections. This works great for landing good job opportunities.
- Peer motivation and support. When you’re surrounded by like-minded people, you tend to stay motivated. Healthy competition always inspires you to action as well.
In other words, formal education is a great place to begin your journey and build a solid foundation for a fulfilling career. Online education sounds too easy but it’s still formal education that has the potential to make a real difference for you!
So why wait?
The Diploma in Game Technology at MAGES is a comprehensive course designed to guide students through the entire game development cycle, from pre-production to finished product. The focus is to provide them with focused knowledge of the games industry useful for relevant employment opportunities in the future.
Learn more here.
2. Is There a Course That Offers Me Specialisation?
If we haven’t mentioned this yet, we’ll do it now –
Specialisation in any course or field is key to making it big in that industry. It’s key to standing out and differentiating yourself from the crowd.
Because let’s face it – competition will only get fiercer. You’ll have to up your game too.
The Games Industry LOVES specialists – early in your career, if you can proudly say “I’m an Engine Programmer with skills in C++ and OpenGL”, you’ll have a smooth start to your career. This makes it easy for employers to fit you into a role that’ll suit you very well.
And that begins with choosing an institution that offers such specialisation – especially in a field as creative and vast as the games industry.
Before applying do check if –
- The institution does not have a one-size-fits-all curriculum policy. A great institution would always have flexible options that suit your needs and strengths.
- The institution has a small class size with a low student-to-teacher ratio. That defies the purpose of spending a fortune on formal education. Low student-teacher ratio ensures specialised attention and constant feedback from the faculty. This is even more important for creative fields.
- The institution offers equal access to opportunities. Any institution that only favours the highest achievers is not specialised or skill-based. On the contrary, it limits the scope of what everyone can get.
Here’s more on why specialised or skill-based institutions make for great learning institutions, especially for creative fields like games, art and animation.
3. What Kind Of Jobs Would Be Available To Me?
Or in other words, what is your end goal?
Your end goal could be –
- To get a job in the industry
- To qualify for further education
- To start making games on your own
If you want to get a job in the industry, you should consider the specializations and roles available to you.A career in games technology usually entails jobs in the following positions:
- Generalist Game Programmer
- Engine Programmer
- Gameplay Programmer
- Graphics Programmer
- Physics Programmer
- Software Engineer
- Audio engineer
- Technical support specialist
- Game designer (Yes, engineers do sometimes end up in Design roles!)
These are the roles that best suit Games Technology Programmers. These are
the subjects you’ll probably take up and specialize in.
To qualify for further education, you’ll have to think about what the next step is for you and what it requires of you. Some opportunities will require you to have perfect grades. Others might require some experience with research projects.
How about the third options – making games on your own?
Well, if you pick the right course, you’ll be doing this from day one anyway.
Doing this at a commercial level involves a lot of factors though – keep an eye out, we’ll cover this in a future blog post.
4. Can The University Provide An Experienced Faculty?
If reputable courses were enough to have lucrative careers, everybody would be successful.
But that’s really not the case.
Any specialised or skill-based institution will offer AT LEAST two things – a reputable program and an experienced faculty.
The latter is the foundation of a great institution. It’s the faculty that tends to make the actual difference. This is why it’s crucial to find out the kind of skills, knowledge and experience a faculty has.
Do they have skills relevant to your course? What kind of industry-relevant experience do they have?
An institution with a highly experienced faculty has a lot to offer. They know what they’re talking about. They know what the real deal is. And this is especially true for creative industries. Someone with industry-relevant experience will be able to give you far better insights and knowledge about games than anyone else.
Imagine such people teaching you. Would that not make a difference?
MAGES offers 50 years of combined experience through our lecturers, who have real games industry experience. Find out more about our programs and faculty here!
5. Am I Ready To Take On The Challenges Involved?
If the answer to that question is yes, then there’s no stopping you.
No amount of formal education can help you with a career in the games industry if you’re not determined enough. Yes, a strong faculty can guide you and the right institution will enable you. But, you need a certain level of focus and determination, because you always have to be working on new projects on your own.
The journey will often get tough. There’d be moments you’d feel nothing’s working. But you’d have to stubborn and determined and above all, passionate.
Formal institutions will provide you with everything at their disposal to facilitate your career and life. But ultimately, you’d have to put in the work.
So, are you ready to give your best?
In conclusion: Should Cost Matter?
Once you’ve decided to make a career in the games industry, there are so many things you have to think about as well.
Apart from learning about the scope of the field, affiliation of the university you want to study in to the amount of time it’ll take to finish the course, what’s the biggest factor that matters?
Cost matters. In fact, it’s one of the biggest considerations for people before they pursue a career in any field – games – in particular.
And it should.
Spending a fortune on formal education is not easy. More often than not, it’s just not possible. Does that mean you lose your chances to get one?
This is purely a matter of discerning what kind of institution is genuinely interested in providing you with what you need. Without burning huge holes in your pockets (or in your parents’ pockets).
At MAGES, our focus is to help students make a living doing what they love. We provide a clear route to the Games, Art, and Film Industries through skill-based and affordable education focused on employability.
Do you want to do what you love and make a living off it? Begin your creative journey with us now!