Accessible tools deskilling student developers, warn industry veterans

Accessible tools deskilling student developers, warn industry veterans
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

December 5th 2013 at 1:05PM

Devs praise what tools offer, but question use in education

Accessible development tools are deskilling student developers in education, warn industry veterans.

Speaking to Develop in a roundtable of top Yorkshire developers, Sheffield Hallam University senior lecturer and former Sumo and Gremlin employee Jacob Habgood praised what can be done with such tech, but questioned its use in education.

“We’ve had lots of students that have gone straight into jobs at Activision, Distinctive, Sumo and so on,” he said.

“But it’s always been difficult to meet the industry’s expectations in a three-year course. I’m also concerned about the deskilling of tools like Unity, in terms of what our students learn. Don’t get me wrong, I think you can create fantastic things with those tools, but I wonder if you can create fantastic students.”

Four Door Lemon MD Simon Barratt also warned that if such tools are relied upon at university, Yorkshire and the UK could end up with little to no tech talent with an understanding of how such tech actually works.

“That’s the problem we see. You find less technical people that can't fix problems encountered with Unity because they’ve no idea what’s going on under the hood," said Barratt.

"It’s great for producing certain types of games but we’ll end up with no tech talent whatsoever in a few years’ time if we’re not careful.”

What do you think about the use of more accessible game development tools in education? Is there a danger this could erode technical talent? Or is it important young developers learn to use such widely used tools during their education?