Software vs game programming as a career: your thoughts?

This is a discussion on Software vs game programming as a career: your thoughts? within the Game Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I'm in college majoring in Computer Science. Through this hellish journey, I've had a high interest in doing both software ...

  1. #1
    Software engineer
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    Software vs game programming as a career: your thoughts?

    I'm in college majoring in Computer Science. Through this hellish journey, I've had a high interest in doing both software and game programming. I'm not necessarily sure which one to really go for as a career. Job-wise, it seems like there's more 'steady' jobs as a software developer, but I thought I'd get your thoughts on this. Which is the better route to go these days? I would do both at the same time, but there's a point where you gotta admit you gotta devote 100% of your time in games if you ever want to get that 5% chance of a career in it. I just feel stuck. Some thoughts are very welcomed.

  2. #2
    Call me AirBronto
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    Both are just fine as a full time job, you just have to ask your self which one you would really like to do for a living. Really the only difference between them is the fact that game programming will not be taught to you in school, you have to learn it on your own. What college are you at?

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    I'm at Chemeketa C. College in Salem, OR and about to transfer to Western Oregon University. I see what you're saying. I guess I could learn gaming at home and continue learning software at school. When I graduate, I'm more flexible at the end perhaps.

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    Well, I decided to flip a coin and see what the future holds, and it's games I'm actually glad, too. Life is short, so live your biggest dreams.

  5. #5
    pwns nooblars
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    It can't hurt to go for a year or 2 in software development, it will teach you just as much as the first year as a game programmer. I program software allday at work, I do my gaming stuff at home and am learning that stuff from books and on my own. I haven't dedicated myself to it yet, but I am considering going full on towards game development. Both parts of the programming has been fullfilling to me.

  6. #6
    Call me AirBronto
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    i learn my game progarmming along with all my college school work, i am always willing to sacrafice my grades a little to teach my self tons of programming stuff. I acually think you learn it better by teaching it to your self as opposed to learning somthing in class, which results in you just trying to memorize it instread of apply it. what year are you by the way?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by loopshot
    Really the only difference between them is the fact that game programming will not be taught to you in school, you have to learn it on your own. What college are you at?
    Not true. I am currently enrolled in a Software Engineering class with an emphasis on game programming at UAT. The first class I took was an introduction to game programming using DarkBasic.

    Quote Originally Posted by dxfoo
    Through this hellish journey, I've had a high interest in doing both software and game programming. I'm not necessarily sure which one to really go for as a career.
    If I could do it all over again I would have went with plain old software engineering. Going the software route does have a lot better potential for landing you a job. Also, being a software engineer for x amount of time will make game programming that much easier.
    Last edited by RealityFusion; 02-21-2006 at 02:59 PM.
    Knowledge is power and I want it all

    -0RealityFusion0-

  8. #8
    Call me AirBronto
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    I think every one is getting confused here, software engineering is game programming. It is one facet of it.

    learning to make a competant game engine will easly trasnlate over to other types of software engineering.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the extra thoughts. I'm definitely learning game programming on my own time outside of school. Right now I'm learning software rasterization which is really cool. It reminds me of a virtual graphics card in software. It's pretty fun to mess with. I'm sure it will take me several years to become good at game programming, so I'll get a software job during the mean time. I think the more you learn game programming, the more you stand out from the software company. I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong, but it seems like you'll be more advanced than the regular Visual Basic developer. I'm on my second year, btw.

  10. #10
    chococoder
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    You may find that you're shunned in the businessworld if you express an interest in writing games.
    You're a guy they can't trust to be a longterm employee, since you already let it shine through that you'd rather be doing something else and only consider them a jumpoff point to your chosen field.
    Of course you can't trust them either to be longerm employers, but remember they're the ones who have to let you join them and they have a long line of people willing to work for them on their terms, many of those people more experienced than you are.

    And then, when you get a bit older, you find that the game companies no longer want you because you're no longer the 25 year old wizzkid who is eager to do anything to please including working 20 hour days for months at a time with no overtime pay (which happens in game development a lot more than anywhere else).

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