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Old 12-16-2013, 06:28 AM   #61
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Many thanks again for all the good posts. Lots for DS to consider! In looking at some of the UW programs, I've come across a couple of dual degree programs, where you can obtain a CS degree and a Masters in Software engineering in 5 years. Any thoughts on this? Not sure how this would work considering it seems to take many students close to 5 years to get their B.S.

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Old 12-16-2013, 07:27 AM   #62
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My school actually had a four-year BA/MA program. I didn't go down that path, but it could be a tremendous opportunity for some. You basically had to come in with some AP credit, take summer courses, and forget about taking electives outside of CS. I think you also had to maintain a 3.5+ GPA (no trivial matter at an institution wary of any grade inflation). I chose a less focused path, almost obtaining a minor in a foreign language, and doing a variety of things with my summer breaks. Ideally, my employer will send me to get a master's at some point.


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Old 12-16-2013, 08:49 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by panacea View Post
Many thanks again for all the good posts. Lots for DS to consider! In looking at some of the UW programs, I've come across a couple of dual degree programs, where you can obtain a CS degree and a Masters in Software engineering in 5 years. Any thoughts on this? Not sure how this would work considering it seems to take many students close to 5 years to get their B.S.
5 years I don't think my son will make it in 6. His problems are associated with transferring from a liberal arts college after two years into the engineering department in computer science at a major state engineering university. I'm willing to put up with more semesters because with the wage potential I may be able to live in his basement when he is 30!
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:31 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by timwalsh300 View Post
Wow, this outlook is certainly at odds with everything I've seen/heard elsewhere. When did things change? My graduating CS class was tiny (the program was hardly "flooded") and everyone lined up full-time employment or at least a paid internship before the end of our senior year. It seems that every list of "highest paid undergraduate majors" ranks CS among the top five (all the others being engineering, with petroleum engineering on top).

Sorry your nephew has had such a tough time, but I also know a kid with a mechanical engineering degree in a similar situation four years after college. Individual mileage may vary, I guess.

I think what Al is saying is game business is much different than the rest of the market for computer scientist. As you say job prospect for CS major are good and at least in Silicon Valley, you can get stock options which can if not make you rich at least greatly accelerate your path to early retirement.

But because programming games is considered fun by lots of folks the supply of game programmer exceeds the demand. As rule game programmer earn significantly less money than programmers with comparable experience in other fields, and end up working in crunch mode for extended periods of time (many months not weeks).

When I was an my early 30s I had lunch with the editor of the top game magazine, his top writer, and a well respected and successful programmer/game designer. I talked about how it really wanted to get into the game business, I'd even be willing to start writing code again. The editor told me that I would be an absolute idiot to leave Intel to join a game company, the other two agree completely. I protested and they went over a litany of reasons why I would stupid to go into the game biz. It was hard to see my dream crushed, but it was excellent advice. Now part of it was because I had pretty fun job at Intel, but most of it was generic to the business. By all accounts the game business is to programmers, what the modeling business is to pretty girls, it looks a hell of lot more fun and glamorous than it really is.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:46 PM   #65
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In the Midwest ( east coast NYC or west coast pay is higher) a mech eng starting salary is between $65-$70k coming out of school. Not sure how that compares with a CS grad salary out of school. I think most of those jobs are probably in a higher COL area like Silicon Valley.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:24 AM   #66
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My career is in the elearning space... "serious games" where interactivity or simulations train people on operations, troubleshooting or other skills. We would always welcome intern/staff with programming or mobile development skills. Project cycles are weeks to a few months so there is much opportunity to build experience.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:42 PM   #67
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Software Engineering or general CS degree is great. If he's also interested in art, he should definitely pursue that as well, because most programmers don't know much about art, but art is very important in video game or application design.
I would really encourage him to take a programming or computer art class at a local community college in the spring to start learning stuff. iPhone app and game design is really hot right now, and he doesn't have to be a college grad to publish something. Even a small app that doesn't sell well will look really good on his resume, and if he can say he did the programming and the art, it would be even better.
I'll also echo that the video game companies have so many people that want to work for them that they pay worse, have horrible hours, and treat their employees badly. DH worked for one and it was the worst job he had. And his company just laid off the last of the people he knew there, there's been a lot of shrinkage in certain gaming fields.
But he also has a friend that quit a 6 figure job to run his iPhone game company full-time. And even DH makes $20-$40 a month for a couple of quick apps he wrote.

Get some general knowledge, follow his interests, and start playing with it all now.

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