Home Forums Education, Training and Jobs CAO advice – please contribute

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    • #8672
      Aphra K

      It is the season again (CAO applications) and I am starting to get emails via gd.ie from students wondering about what third level course to do to get a job in the games industry etc.

      I have drafted up some bullet points and I am posting here to inform a general readership but also to solicit some other advice and gather it in one place.

      Gd.ie cannot recommend one course over another…but there are threads here in the education section where people post their opinions and experiences. Feel free to add to the advice here and maybe we can keep it all in one place.



      The first question is do you want to do game design or game programming?

      What type of job are they interested in? There are some game design specific courses but most of the games courses are more focused on computer programming. Check out some sites on jobs in the games industry as there are a wide variety and see what skills you need for that job- see http://www.creativeskillset.org/games/careers/profiles/

      The second question is diploma or degree?

      Check out the level of the course – most level 5/6 courses in Ireland are feeder courses into degrees which are level 7/8s. If your child is likely to get good grades in their leaving certificate then try to apply for a degree course and check out the level of the course to make sure it
      is degree level. Most programming jobs, as opposed to testers or localisation, will require a degree. There are short courses run by private colleges as well, and these might suit people who are already working and cannot take the time off to study full time.

      I am interested in game programming. Should I do a game specific degree or a computer science degree?

      This is a more difficult one to answer. You need to do some of your own research here.

      What are the lecturing staff and facilities like?
      Are the colleges/lecturers involved in running game events?
      Is there the possibility to do game related modules/projects if it is a more general course?

      A good general computer programming degree with some game relevant modules or the possibility to do a games related project will probably be as good as a game specific course all things being equal. But courses change over time, lecturers come and go, equipment gets old.

      How will I know if I am going to be able to programme a game?

      Get involved in game jams and coder dojo events. These will give you an insight into the skills, culture and challenges of working in the games industry. Attend talks, seminars and events about the games industry. Keep an eye on gd.ie as we post info on these events here.

      Any other advice?

    • #49472
      Aphra K

      some info on the smart futures website too…

      (Q&A with some Irish developers)

      (Panel with Mark Lambe, Jen Carey and Conor Winders)

      (interview with myself)


    • #50692
      Aphra K

      I had a post recently asking if the issues raised in some previous features on education and games in Ireland were still valid.

      The features in question were published in 2006!
      See http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/features/viewfeature.php?article=39 and

      Since then we have many new courses at degree and diploma levels and a lot of shorter courses in private colleges and local colleges at level 5 and 6. We also have the rise of a local indie scene.

      Do we think that the following issues raised back in 2006 are still valid (raised in the feature by T Kelly)
      1) Rebranding of courses without appropriate content development
      2) Involvement of industry
      3) A lack of industry experienced lecturers
      4) Keeping pace
      5) Lack of involvement with industry in placements
      6) Too many short courses
      7) A failure to include team based projects.

      Are there new ones?

      Ideas welcome. Maybe another feature.

      I know that Games Ireland now has an education and training sub-committee.


    • #50694
      Aphra K

      And for those not familiar with the different levels of training and education see this framework – http://www.qqi.ie/Pages/National%20Framework%20of%20Qualifications.aspx

      Levels 5 & 6 are certificates
      Level 7 is an ordinary degree
      Level 8 an honours degree


    • #50695

      Most programming jobs, as opposed to testers or localisation, will require a degree. [/quote:3a94e46034]

      Most testers I work with have a degree. Its seems to be common (in the UK at least) for graduates to get whatever job they can and then progress within a company to another discipline.

    • #50696
      Aphra K

      what type of degree do they have? to be a tester?


    • #50697

      Since then we have many new courses at degree and diploma levels and a lot of shorter courses in private colleges and local colleges at level 5 and 6. We also have the rise of a local indie scene. [/quote:d679ebd946]
      True. However, the quality of some of the courses at various levels and durations has improved over the period, at least anecdotally. A big issue is the lack of transparency/metrics – something various folks have been pushing for at academic, and government levels.

      The majority of these issues go much wider than games dev courses, and apply to most tech/CS courses too – as a review of the various ICT Action Plans of the past few years will attest to.

      Although I haven’t looked into this in depth as yet, there was a recent & welcome announcement from the HEA re: rating educating courses:- http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/hea-unveils-third-level-profiling-system-618272.html. The Games Ireland education sub-committee has similar proposals.

      Do we think that the following issues raised back in 2006 are still valid (raised in the feature by T Kelly)
      1) Rebranding of courses without appropriate content development[/quote:d679ebd946]
      Doesn’t seem to happen as much as previous years (the boom is over?) but anecdotal evidence would suggest it still happens occasionally. Perhaps the various govt-led re-training inititatives (i.e. JobBridge, et al) have contributed to this

      2) Involvement of industry [/quote:d679ebd946]
      With more indies and homegrown companies, and greater solicitation to and participation from games companies, provision of guest lecturers, etc.
      this is much less of an issue than in 2006.

      3) A lack of industry experienced lecturers [/quote:d679ebd946]
      Not nearly as much of a problem as previously, I would guess, due to increasingly involvement in education by former games industry folks seeking work after studio closures, etc. Dublin IT, Tipp/Limerick IT, Trinity, Pulse, etc. all work closely with experienced industry folks and/or have them on staff. There may well be more than this short list would attest to

      4) Keeping pace [/quote:d679ebd946]
      Better, but still an issue. There are obvious logistical issues with this requirement on colleges/education providers, and standardisation is inevitable and necessary for them to operate – but the pace of change in all tech industries continues to accelerate – new platforms and business models, for example – so this is not one easily solved.

      5) Lack of involvement with industry in placements [/quote:d679ebd946]
      Again, we see many, many more courses seek to place students in work placements, hothouse programs,etc. in order to gain some practical experience. However, despite the sharp rise in the number of companies active in the field, most of these are small 1- 3 person teams and not able to support internships, etc.

      It’s an ongoing issue across tech education in general and has been a big focus of the ICT Action Plan over the 2012 – 2014 period.

      I would also suggest this is a mostly an industry problem to solve.

      6) Too many short courses [/quote:d679ebd946]
      Not sure ‘to many’ is the main issue to focus on here, rather the quality of content & education provided. (See well publicised concerns on JobBridge and similar re-training courses, especially how success is being measured. The Indecon report contains some commentary on the issue but fails to tackle it in any material way.)

      7) A failure to include team based projects. [/quote:d679ebd946]

      Another one that has improved substantially for the most part – althoguh more could be done. Work placements and hothouse type initiatives help here

      Are there new ones? [/quote:d679ebd946]

      Can’t think of any myself off the top of my head

      I know that Games Ireland now has an education and training sub-committee. [/quote:d679ebd946] The education sub-committee is being chaired by Andrew Deegan of Sugra Games. The group has only met once to date, and is currently working on the 2014 plan, using inputs from the forthcoming reports from the Games Industry Cluster Development team and the 2014 ICT Action Plan.

    • #50698
      Aphra K

      welcome back Idora. You are almost positive there in your post!

      I do wonder about what we are looking for when we ask for greater transparency and metrics in the education and training sector?

      [And of course education is not exactly the same thing as training – and certainly some skill based aspects of game dev are probably most appropriate to training via short courses.]

      Publicly available knowledge/information at present includes
      1) the ‘levels’ of the course (i.e. fetac level 4/5/6/7/ etc indicating that it is a cert, diploma, degree etc.
      2) detailed module descriptors which all accredited courses have to publish (which tell people about what is taught on a course)
      3) public research information systems (combined with linked in and web profiles etc.) which publish each lecturer’s experience and qualifications (at least in all publicly funded institutions, esp unis).
      4) Publications – which are generally double peer reviewed by peers internationally and indicate where a lecturer’s research is situated in relation to international standards.
      5) Points/levels for courses which indicate (albeit not directly) the prior levels of certain types of knowledge and learning of students before they enter a course
      6) and the stuff in the HEA report on staff/student ratios etc.

      So I think we need to think about what information we are talking about when we talk about metrics because a lot of this information exists. It may just be about formatting it in another way.

      Speaking as someone whose work is constantly being ‘quantified’


    • #104250
      Aphra K

      Since we are heading into the CAO season again I am going to bump this up.

      I am starting to get emails via the site asking some questions re courses.

      We will get our database of courses (currently 140 of them!) back on stream asap and then start posting some answers here. We don’t make recommendations though….


      Core questions to ask yourself/son or daughter..

      1. Art/design or programming/tech type course
      2. Part time/full time
      3. Any prior experience
      4. Level – diploma, degree, beyond?
      5. Any preferences re location

    • #104472
      Aphra K

      Happy to announce our new database of game related educational courses and training. Just in time for some serious deadlines.

      This actually became quite a big job and we haven’t finished all the formatting…so bear with us.

      Hopefully this is use as an overview of the sector and what is available.

      If you have a course and it is missing let us know…[a few of the newer ones have to be added I think]

      If you spot mistakes let us know…

      Thanks to our volunteers and to K. Vesikko for their hard work.


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