If you harbour an ambition to become a games coder, NUI Maynooth offers a course in general Computer Science and Software Engineering which can provide training in most of the skills and concepts required. As is the trend with these kinds of courses, the course director Dr. Adam Winstanley specified that the course is not specifically aimed at games production but certainly has relevance.

From first to third year students have no options and cover a core which includes programming, mainly in JAVA and object oriented development. In third year students go on a 6 month work placement in industry and in the past some have worked for Microsoft as part of their Xbox team here in Ireland.

In fourth year there are no compulsory modules; instead students must pick nine out of an available seventeen, although this varies from year to year depending on resources. There is, Mr. Winstanley told us, a proposal for a fourth year module in computer gaming being processed at the moment, but this is not certain to be approved. There is a fourth year module in Computer Graphics.

The course is relatively new, having had only one graduating year at time of writing To date there is no record of any graduates going to work in the gaming industry. There is a maximum capacity of 100 students per year, most years however, take-up of the course is lower due to the minimum requirements set by the faculty.

The final project requirement makes up 25% of fourth year marks. Suggestions are posted to the class and students choose from these suggestions. There is also the opportunity for students to come up with their own proposal but they need to get it approved and supervised by a faculty member. Most final year projects concentrate on web applications and scientific computing. Games related projects are very rare.

There is no part time option but interestingly, Computer Science is available under the arts system at Maynooth so students have the option of combining Computer with another arts subject e.g. music.

The course has no specific games industry links but through work placement has developed a relationship with wireless operators 02 and Motorola.

Location: National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
Duration: 4 years
Course: BSc. Computer Science and Software Engineering
Course Strengths:
Industry placement, transferable skills, artificial intelligence, computer graphics.

Course Weaknesses
Constraints in final project system, limited industry links.

More info: www.cs.may.ie