I'm looking to do a games programming course somewhere in Australia. I've already completed a Bachelor of Comp Science at Uni and have 2+ years experience as a software engineer (but not in the games/multimedia industry).
Which colleges/unis are the best options to do extra study?
It seems like most courses available are designed to train people straight out of high school :(
I know Edith Cowan Uni has a graduate diploma - but thats in WA... The Advanced Dip at AIE looks interesting, but i am not sure about the entry requirements. I have no professional experience or study in 3D programming (only personal projects at home). Will i still be able to qualify for direct entry to 2nd year of the course? Has anyone been able to qualify for direct entry into 2nd year at AIE without much 3D programming experience? Or is the first year (Cert IV) really that important...?
Any other unis or colleges offering good post-graduate study in games programming?
I've thought about just
I've thought about just teaching myself everything and building a good demo reel by myself. But currently i dont have - what i would say - a good portfolio :(
I'm thinking that going to a college/uni, i will be exposed to more industry ideas/processes, experienced people and team environments which could help (and motivate) me to build these demos. And schools like AIE supposedly have strong links with studios, so it would be an easier entry in. Basically I'm trying to increase the chances of getting a job in the industry.
I've read in these forums that many have done further study at AIE/QANTM after graduating/working, so i thought it'll be a good approach for myself. But if you say an outstanding demo reel could easily get me a job - then maybe i should take time to do that? Its a lot of work - if only i weren't so lazy about it...
Yeah, I'd give AIE a call.
Yeah, I'd give AIE a call. They often have experienced programmers and bachelor's grads in their programming courses (even though they often look like they're targetting out of schoolers, they actually want you to already have skills in C++). More importantly, their industry contacts mean you'll be able to network into the industry while you're studying.
While you look into this, fire off some letters to some of the major developers. Explain you're looking for work in the industry and you're keen to learn and put in the effort. They're always complaining about a skills shortage, so I reckon lots of companies might be happy to at least give you a go.
Also, I'd get involved in a mod team or a good ongoing community game effort. Pick one you like and email the team leader/s. They're often in need of programmers. You'll learn a lot and get practical stuff that basically proves you've got the skills to hit the industry running.
Good luck, and let us know how you go.
I'm doing the Adv Dip Games
I'm doing the Adv Dip Games at AIE this year as a programmer. I started there two and a half years ago as an Artist and have finished the dip games as an artist. I started getting interested in the programming side about halfway through last year and basically started teaching myself C++ and some shader language. They put me straight into second year based on a 3D model viewer I wrote after about 2.5 months of programming and the promise I would get all the foundation skills of C++ up to scratch.
I can highly recommend the course, it doesn't only focus on the skills, but it puts you into what is basically a games studio scenario, so once you graduate and get a job it's like you never left class, and someone's paying you for it (hopefully).
Hope that answers some of your questions.
What employers want
Well, I'm not actually sure about employers in general, but I handle the recruitment for one game development company (I'm a frequent lurker around here) and I can tell you what WE want, anyway ;) The most highly desirable candidates for graduate programmer roles have a Computer Engineering degree from a tough Uni, with top marks in maths and physics, and have worked their guts out on a brilliant demo because that's what they love to do more than anything else. If you find that you can't motivate yourself to work on a demo in your own time, maybe you need to find out where your true passion lies before choosing a career path - are you sure you really want to make games, and not just play them? If you want to make them, how come you don't want to make a demo, where you have the freedom to work on the things that most fascinate you? It doesn't bode well for a paying job where someone else will decide what you'll work on.
Having said that, it's possible to have a comfortable if somewhat average career without being particularly brilliant at maths, or even particularly motivated.
Not an Australian course, but...
(and I'm a little late to respond) you could try Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand. They offer a graduate diploma in game development which has a programming stream (http://www.mediadesign.school.nz/courses/game-development).
Something which sets them apart from other schools is that the course covers middleware such as FMOD and Gamebryo, and also includes both Gamecube (very similar to Wii architecture) and PSP console development so you get a lot of hands on practical experience in "real world" tools.
Our studio has hired 6 programmers who have graduated from this course, 2 of whom are now in lead or senior roles.
(don't take this the wrong way) I'm curious why your wanting to do more study rather than try and get yourself a position in the game industry. You're a Comp Science grad, AND you've had a couple of years of real world experience. Thats what most employers are looking for :)
I don't know if there are many course options out there for you which would be challenging enough for you... have you got a good demo reel of your code/previous projects that you could submit with a resume to any game studios looking for a Jr. programmer?
If study is really what you want to do, best thing would be to call up AIE and discuss your entry possibilities and see what courses you can credit toward their program. You could also do the same thing with qantm and their Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (majoring in programming). QUT also has a game programming degree, but AFAIK its a major on their bachelor of IT degree.