At GDC 2011 I attended an Game Educators Rant which was pretty enlightening in terms of the obstacles we are up against in developing two new concentrations in Game Technology here at Chattanooga State. Most interesting to me was Ian Shreiber’s viewpoint (or my understanding of it) that traditional higher learning institutions have lost their way, having become too focused on tuition and losing sight of their mission–teaching, research, and public service.
Ian goes on to talk about the reality of the gaming industry when it comes to education:
…The video game industry doesn’t care about degrees. At GDC you can see over 10,000 employed, experienced, professional game developers who only care about one thing when hiring: can you help them to make a great game? And if the answer is yes, they don’t care if the reason you can help them make a great game is because you’ve got a PhD in Computer Science from MIT, or if it’s because you taught yourself assembly programming at age 11 and have been constantly building your skills ever since and you never bothered with college because it took time away from making yourself a better programmer.
This point sticks with me and I was glad he posted the entire rant on his blog: teachingdesign.blogspot.com. Perhaps this is true in many other areas of the media industry. Do degrees matter when it comes to getting those illustrious jobs? Usually at a minimum we can say they don’t hurt, but I think Ian implied above that they actually could.
I do see hope for our Game program though. As Kingsley Montgomery, a consultant for our new degree, pointed out to me in an email recently, we are focused on TOOLS. It is up to the students to use them to create work that can fill their portfolios. And we are providing access to the tools and the expertise to learn them at a fraction of the cost of other schools. It’s a pretty good deal..