Part Time Study - does it exist?

Just wondering - is there any option for an aged programmer who wants to explore the possibility of getting into designing/programming games?

Specifically, are there any part time or online courses that are worthwhile for someone who knows what they're doing in terms of programming concepts but needs to get a grip on how it works in a gaming context?

AP

Angel's picture

I'm sure there are always options, it just depends on your situation and your skills. I've usually seen that it's hard for someone to take starting positions in the games industry if they have responsibilities like supporting a family, but if you have the skills that are needed to earn a good wage in the industry, it shouldn't be a problem.

Most companies require industry-related experience for senior positions though you may get through that if you have similar experience elsewhere. Your best bet would be to start asking the companies that you wanna get employed at - Call up or write in, give them a copy of your resume/portfolio and ask that if they're interested, could you please learn more about what positions they have that you may be suitable for.

Interviews are great because not only do they allow the employer to get to know the employee, but they allow the employee to ask a lot about the company and the position.

I'm not sure about online courses, but if you've got the time.. it may help for you to start making a small game yourself or to even join a mod group where you can get that game-related experience.

-RJ

Jacana's picture

I think one of the WA Uni's does distance courses in games related studies (Bachlors level). There is an online university that gets backings from major univerisites and I think its called Open Australian or Open University Australia, along those lines. May be worth hitting google and doing some searches for distance education and games course to see what you find.

lorien's picture

You can do pretty much any uni course part time afaik.

MrAndyPuppy's picture

quote:Originally posted by Angel

I'm sure there are always options, it just depends on your situation and your skills. I've usually seen that it's hard for someone to take starting positions in the games industry if they have responsibilities like supporting a family, but if you have the skills that are needed to earn a good wage in the industry, it shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks - you got it in one. I always wanted to get into game programming but ended up on the commercial side of development. Now 15 years into my career I feel like wanting to do what my heart always wanted but have a wife and two kids so it's not as easy to transition from a lucrative job as a senior .NET consultant to getting into the game scene other than to continue to mess around with mods/maps when I can.

Jacana, thanks for your tips too - I found that online uni, but it doesn't appear to have dedicated game dev courses, so I'll start looking at some other alternatives.

Cheerio
AP

mcdrewski's picture

I've been there Mister Puppy, and in my case I took a job working in game QA to 'skill up' in games. I had 5+ years out of uni before I finally had enough of enterprise billing software. I did look around for part-time dev courses, and could find absolutely nothing in Australia that was out-of-hours.

However before the QA job, when I was trying to get hired as a programmer my lack of hard-core C++ development experience counted against me (well, that and my obnoxious personality, but I like to blame it on the C++).

If you can actually write and *finish* a simple game as a demo, I'd suspect that'll put you head and shoulders above most applicants.

Try the PopCap framework for a nice "casual" game engine to get an idea of how a simple game lives and breathes, then you may like to make the jump to (say) Ogre.

Otherwise, stick with your modding and create (and complete) a mod of some kind. It only has to be small...

MrAndyPuppy's picture

quote:Originally posted by mcdrewski

I've been there Mister Puppy, and in my case I took a job working in game QA to 'skill up' in games. I had 5+ years out of uni before I finally had enough of enterprise billing software. I did look around for part-time dev courses, and could find absolutely nothing in Australia that was out-of-hours.

However before the QA job, when I was trying to get hired as a programmer my lack of hard-core C++ development experience counted against me (well, that and my obnoxious personality, but I like to blame it on the C++).

If you can actually write and *finish* a simple game as a demo, I'd suspect that'll put you head and shoulders above most applicants.

Try the PopCap framework for a nice "casual" game engine to get an idea of how a simple game lives and breathes, then you may like to make the jump to (say) Ogre.

Otherwise, stick with your modding and create (and complete) a mod of some kind. It only has to be small...

Cool - thanks for that. I've done a few smaller games in various environments, from pure coding to those game makers (although I would like to say that some of those are very cool).

I went down a different route and ended up editing and writing for magazines in both the gaming space and also the developer space. Now it's time for me to run with something new. :)

Didn't even realise that PopCap had an open framework - looking through their site now.

Thanks again
AP

LittleMissGameALot's picture

I know this is a bit of a delayed response but I thought I might give you some information anyway. I don't usually post on forums so forgive my previous quietness. :)

AIE canberra is running their first year of the Games Diploma course for both internal and external students this year. It is the programming stream only at the moment.

First year is aimed at people who have used C++ before and is run out of business hours. All students can access their tutorials and exercises online. All students are logged into a private chat room during class time so the internal and external students can interact with each other. The lectures are delivered to external students via meeting programs so they can hear the teacher and see their presentations, plus code they write, during the lectures.

AIE also offers an online "C++ for Games course" which can be done at the students' own pace. It is aimed at people who have not programmed before though.

Hope this helps.
[:)]