What to consider when choosing your game development course

What to consider when choosing your game development course

By Robert Hoare

January 23rd 2014 at 11:00AM

Confetti Institute FdSc games technology course leader Robert Hoare offers advice on getting into games education

The games industry is a rapidly growing sector within the creative industries and as a result there are many choices for students to study games at university level.

When students apply for a games course it is very important to be clear what actual content is delivered on the course and more importantly does it teach the current relevant skills that industry requires.

Don’t just go on the title, there are many courses called games design/games development/games technology which all offer different things.

When designing the FdSc in Games Technology at Confetti we spent a long time liaising with industry contacts to design a course that provides a strong foundation within the core skills that industry requires.

This includes teaching current industry standard software and practices. The design of a Foundation degree allows our students to gain a breadth of knowledge, but more importantly, allow them to specialise within their second year in their chosen field.

At Confetti it is really important for our course to be reviewed by the games industry on a regular basis. If we cannot get feedback on what we are delivering how can be confident what we deliver is relevant to our students looking for a career? Does the course you are looking at have any links with industry that will benefit you as a student? We have regular guest speakers, industry backed student projects and an industry week that features guests from some of the largest game companies in the UK.

We are also aware that alongside software skills students benefit from the business skills of budgeting and finance, project management and promotion, which will also help students if they decide to go down the route of freelancer or set up an independent studio. Finding a course that includes these business elements is as important as one that teaches you the latest game engine.

Certain roles within the industry such as programming may require a more specialist route such as a degree in computer science. Just choosing a degree with games in the title may not be correct for certain job aspirations. Again, talking to the course leader is important. If it is an art role you are potentially considering how much actual art content is within the course?

It is very important to visit an education establishment in person if you are interested in a course to see the facilities, meet the staff and speak to current students. A prospectus or website can only tell you part of the story. It is a big decision to make just from viewing a website. Ask the staff if there are any guest lectures they have and of there are any opportunities to interact with industry professionals on the course. I believe getting direct feedback from current students is vitally important so you can get an honest opinion.

Once you have chosen a course, spend some time on your personal statement. It is surprising the amount of personal statements that don’t mention anything to do with games. This is your chance to give a first impression and hopefully help you on your way to a career in the games industry.