Home Forums Education, Training and Jobs Age old question:Computer Science v Computer Games Specific?

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  JME 10 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #6042



    I am a first (moving onto second) year student at Abertay studying the BSc Computer Games Technology course. I have really enjoyed the course and am quite confident in the skills I have picked up along the way. But now I face a slight choice dilemma.

    Everyone is aware of the Computer Science versus Computer Games specific courses, and I am starting to doubt whether or not doing a computer games specific course is the better.

    I have been in communication with a member of this forum who did a BSc in Computer Science, and a MSc in Computer Games Technology, and he said (in his opinion) that doing a Computer Science degree is more worthwhile as you can always switch from games programming to general software programming.

    I am contemplating changing my course, or perhaps doing a masters in Computer Science AFTER I finish my BSc in Games Tech.

    Can anyone give me some insight into this based on their own, or others’ they know, experiences? (ie. What is better: doing a degree in computing and masters in games; degree in games and masters in computing; pure computing; or pure games).


  • #37052


    I would tend to agree with that person about Computer Science, it does give you a lot more opportunity in different directions. I’ve got a BSc in Software Development, and for my work experience I worked for TKO in Dublin as a tester, and up until recently I was working in Nephin Games. At the moment though, I’m working in a non-game related programming job, which I think would have been harder to get into had I not done Software Development.

  • #37541


    I did a BSc in Software Engineering and a Masters in Digital Media and I think the order worked pretty well. I mean, it was very useful to have the strong background in programming from the Bsc. but at the same time it doesn’t really get you into that frame of thinking that you need for games programming. In all honesty nor did my Masters as it wasn’t exactly in games programming but digital media applications.
    Anyhoo, back to the point, I know the Business Manager of a pretty big game company in Germany who said a whole bunch of Software Engineering Graduates did a test for a programming position in his company and although good programmers, couldn’t apply it to the game they were tasked to make in the test and most of them gave up after a short time. Getting the core programming skills AND ability to apply them to games programming is the best way in my opinion.

  • #37549


    Hello latot and O.Devil welcome to the forum.

    I did a digital media degree which was quite broad and so roughly equated to a standard CS course but I made damn sure any project I did was games related so I would have practical experience of working on a team and game specific programming. I would often speak to lecturers to see if I could bend the requirements to suit what I wanted to do rather than what they were expecting.

    That wider focus of the degree worked well for me opening more options. I actually went the graphic design and web development route first out of college but my game portfolio gave me that extra option. So I would vote for doing a degree in computing and masters in games. Start wide then focus in.

    I might do a masters myself in the future though to open the prospect of lecturing.

  • #37550


    I don’t have any experience with computer degrees myself, but I’ll still give you my two cents.

    Firstly it’s important to make clear that everyone is unique. For every point someone gives, someone else will have a counter-point. I personally would go for the computer science degree. It gives you a lot more room to move outside of the games industry. If you’re not 100% certain you want to spend your entire career in games, then having a comp sci degree is a great pathway into the IT sector. Abertay have a high quality of game-related degrees, but a lot of companies will be wary of a games technology degree. Many managers still want to see a computer science degree on the CV.

    Either way, you’re doing the right thing by asking different people. Well done for taking the initiative and exploring your options. Get a good few opinions and then make a decision you’re confident is right for you. It seems that you’re set no matter what choice you make. Good luck with it.

  • #37557


    Hi latot,

    I’d agree with most of the above.

    For what it is worth I have a CS BSc and am finishing up my MSc at Abertay and I must say I am much more comfortable doing the MSc knowing that I can always fall back on my degree in case the games path goes tits up.

  • #37576


    Yeah, I’ll back up what david4482 said about making damn sure you pick projects related to your interest or try to work them into something related to your interest. For me my software engineering degree was very programming based in terms of application development, but since I love visual stuff and graphics based programming I made sure I could involve that in whatever project I did, even if I had to twist the project a bit to do so. It actually went down really well because as it was a "programming" degree, most of the students were logical and weren’t good at the artistic stuff, sooo the lectures loved my visually stimulating applications (for the record I did a AI Path Finder in 3rd year and a Image Visual project converting 2D to 3D for final year),

  • #37583


    yea i am now faced with this problem , i got my HND in games designed and development (from ballyfermot which was a great two years ) and i am now sure i want to keep working on games and try to get into the industry , but now i am not sure which way to go , alot of the guys i know from the course are going to england and so on. I was looking at Carlow and Dundalk for the games courses, as i always thought doing a Computer science course whould mean i would not get to do any level design or 3d work, but i am hearing they are flexiable enough so that you can apply lot of it to games . And after talk to alot of guys i know they say the same thing as people are saying here , that computer science is the way to go . So yea i have another week to think about it , but i am pretty sure i am going to accept an offer i got from dit for computer science. I hope its the right choice anyway.

  • #37596


    Ok, I’ll tell you a secret, I’m actually leading game programming modules in a third level institute here in Singapore (I’m Irish, BSc in Ireland, MSc in a Uni in Singapore). A lot of my free time is spent researching the industry and one thing they "LOVE" is if you have a passion for what you are doing and can show it to them. My advice is, even if you can’t get your course to follow exactly what you are interested in, manage your time well and do level design and play around with game engines on your own time every chance you get. I’m working with the Source Engine at the moment (free as long as you bought HL2) but have also worked with UT2 (completely free for download from the unrealtechnology website, Educational Version) and you can get a lot of info by doing that kinda thing on your own (not to mention there is a wealth of tutorials and knowledge out there, self education is usually the best way).

    Many of the gaming schools in the states that do produce graduates who can get into the industry let their students work on Engines like Source and should the game be good enough the industry finds them! Portal coming soon with HL2 EP2 was actually a concept made by about 7 students under a different as a final year project and Gabe from Valve actually hired the guys who made it so they could develop Portal. Not to mention projects like Counter-Strike and Enemy Territory were all mods made by people who due to their success are now working in the industry. It ain’t easy to get it, but if ya know where to push, you might just get lucky.

  • #37666


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