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Devry - Game and Simulation Programming degree program?

exoplasmexoplasm Registered User regular
edited January 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have an opportunity to get a degree at Devry in their Game and Simulation Programming program. I think it's a new program because the guy said they don't have any stats on the graduates yet or something. I'm kind of wary about it, but it does have plenty of regular programming courses in it. My goal is to develop games independently and maybe work for a few big companies here and there along the way. I do like to do programming as well so I figure either way it'll earn me some good knowledge.

I do like that they (claim to) have a high rate of job placement relating to the field of their degree programs, and they have a deal with Vivendi and apparently some students end up working at Blizzard in Irvine while taking the program. This is appealing to me because I'd love to see Blizzard from the inside.

Does anyone have experience with this particular program at Devry? Should I take a general CS program instead and get some game-related electives? The fact that I get a degree is besides the point for me: I'm mainly interested in the knowledge and skills I'll gain, since I plan to go independent and not need to wave a paper at potential employers. Are there better choices for me? Note that I'm not a good self-teacher and depend heavily on interactive learning (i.e. classrooms).

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Posts

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Perhaps I am missing something, but I can't see any listed faculty at all. Is DeVry like some sort of University of Phoenix, giving it's name to campuses everywhere for vocational training of undergrads, and no research?

    If you can find faculty, I can tell you whether I've heard of them or not. I'm in a CS-geared games research lab right now, and have a fair idea of who is doing this stuff properly.

    If it helps, I've not heard of DeVry at any conferences I've been to.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Perhaps I am missing something, but I can't see any listed faculty at all. Is DeVry like some sort of University of Phoenix, giving it's name to campuses everywhere for vocational training of undergrads, and no research?

    If you can find faculty, I can tell you whether I've heard of them or not. I'm in a CS-geared games research lab right now, and have a fair idea of who is doing this stuff properly.

    If it helps, I've not heard of DeVry at any conferences I've been to.
    DeVry is a chain of universities, similar to University of Phoenix, geared towards technical degrees.

  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I formed a negative opinion of Devry. Heres why:

    When looking for schools to attend online I happened across Devry and noticed all things that you mentioned in your post, so I asked for them to send me info. They then proceeded to light my phone up at least five times a day; I can understand that they need students. I finally talked to one of the academic counselors and he wanted me to drive for 2 hours for me to see their campus in Crystal City VA. I live just north of Baltimore. Me being naive at the time decided to go for it. Appointment day rolled around and I drove through an ice storm for close to 3 hours to see these people. Then made it very clear that they were irritated that I was late.

    Then they did their little presentation about how one of their students went on to invent Teddy Ruxpin etc etc etc. Mind you the entire time I had made it clear that I wanted to be an online student. I told them that it was impossible for me to travel for 2 hours to get to class. Then the person said it was too late in the day for him to do anything so I would have to come back tomorrow. For the life of me I have no idea why I went back a second time. Well when I get there for the second time the counselor want to process me for a student ID. I told him to wait a minute and asked why I need a student ID if I am going online. The counselor said well we figured you would go half online and half in-class. I asked him how he developed that idea when I made it specifically clear that I wanted to go online only.

    He then took me to see the Dean of Admissions, who again wanted to sign me up for in-class classes. That was the last straw, my spider sense had been tingling the entire time and I had my fill. I said thank you very much and left, but not before they could tell me the huge mistake I was making by not attending their school. I walked and have not since regretted it.

    TL;DR Devry is shady.

  • exoplasmexoplasm Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Well someone close to me works for Devry and is very excited about me going there - they're not gaining anything from me going, but basically it sounds like a good deal.

    Their site seems to be heavily marketing driven and not really useful in general. I don't know anything about the faculty there, but again I'm close to someone who works there and I'm told it would be perfect for me. The big deal is they have a vested interest in getting students and graduates employed in their field since they are a publicly traded company. Or something like that.

    From what I understand Devry is better than ITT tech when it comes to showing your paper to people, and they do transfer credits to other universities (though I'm not interested in going to school for 4-6 years). I have no idea about University of Phoenix in particular, but they've always seemed cheesy to me.

    Again I just want the programming/game development education - I don't think I'll get this at a community college where I'd be taking a year or two of general education before getting anywhere else with it. Bigger colleges are probably out of my league, too. Plus I'll be directly interacting with other people interested in game development and who knows a little studio might spring up.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The accreditation is better than ITTs. Make no mistake though, they are one in the same type of entity. This entity is called fuck your face and rape you for all the money you have in turn for not getting a real education.

    You'd be better off paying some schmoe in your field $30,000 from a personal unsecured loan from a bank and learn from them for 2 years.

  • DelzhandDelzhand motivated battle programmerRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I got my associate's degree from Kaplan College. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made. A useless degree from a a school with a reputation for lax educational standards. Still paying the student loans from that...

    jk0Btsj.png
  • DVGDVG Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    DeVry Grad here. (DVG used to be DeVryGuy). You'll generally get a lot of negative opinions about DeVry for various reasons, I'm sure a lot of them are good reasons. The truth of it is, it's not a bad school. It's not amazing, but it's not bad. I had good teachers and bad teachers, with, I expect, the same frequency of good and bad that you'd get at any school.

    What you have to ask yourself when considering a school is what kind of an education is it you want? If you want loads of practical skills and don't care much about theory, than DeVry is probably great. If you want to understand the underlying theory more, well, you can probably do better elsewhere.

    I have a pretty low opinion of "Game Programming Degrees" in general, DeVry's being no exception. I'd do your research on what sorts of degrees actually get hired into Game Dev jobs and go from there.

    Final Note: DeVry is a private school, and it's fucking expensive. Even though I'm happy with my degree, I would do state school in a heartbeat the second time around.

    Diablo 3 - DVG#1857
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    DVG wrote: »
    DeVry Grad here. (DVG used to be DeVryGuy). You'll generally get a lot of negative opinions about DeVry for various reasons, I'm sure a lot of them are good reasons. The truth of it is, it's not a bad school. It's not amazing, but it's not bad. I had good teachers and bad teachers, with, I expect, the same frequency of good and bad that you'd get at any school.

    What you have to ask yourself when considering a school is what kind of an education is it you want? If you want loads of practical skills and don't care much about theory, than DeVry is probably great. If you want to understand the underlying theory more, well, you can probably do better elsewhere.

    I have a pretty low opinion of "Game Programming Degrees" in general, DeVry's being no exception. I'd do your research on what sorts of degrees actually get hired into Game Dev jobs and go from there.

    Final Note: DeVry is a private school, and it's fucking expensive. Even though I'm happy with my degree, I would do state school in a heartbeat the second time around.

    Yarr, there be the treasure.

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Delzhand wrote: »
    I got my associate's degree from Kaplan College. Biggest financial mistake I've ever made. A useless degree from a a school with a reputation for lax educational standards. Still paying the student loans from that...

    What did you do you associate's in?

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    four year degrees from State Institutions are cheaper and better recognized. I don't know why anyone would get a degree from DeVry or UoP rather then a 4 year state school.

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  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Damn, I just looked it up out of curiosity and tuition at DeVry is more expensive than it is at the University of Minnesota (or substitute $STATE_SCHOOL for your region).

    How the hell do they stay in business?

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I don't have enough information/experience to judge DeVry itself, but I do know plenty about these new gaming degrees that are popping up. My advice to you is pursue it only if you're dead-set on it and you're not interested in anything else at all. I have multiple friends who went to places like Full Sail and they completely regret going for the degree, as it didn't do anything to get them a job in gaming that a degree in CS wouldn't have done. Plus, if the gaming industry doesn't work out for you, you won't be trying to shop around a degree in Game Development to people outside of the industry.

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  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Are they more expensive then University of Phoenix? They charge $1500 a class. Worst financial mistake ever (glad it wasn't my money).

  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Damn, I just looked it up out of curiosity and tuition at DeVry is more expensive than it is at the University of Minnesota (or substitute $STATE_SCHOOL for your region).

    How the hell do they stay in business?

    They convince people that they can get a job programming games off the bat.

    Which is not only unlikely, but even if they did I suspect your skillset learned from Devry would pretty much qualify you to "tighten up the graphics on level 3" for the rest of your life.

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  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
  • ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Flo-ridaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    for-profit education is, in general, a huge scam.


    I have yet to meet a single enlightened person who attended in a for-profit program that ended up with an overall positive opinion of it.


    I will go ahead and second the feeling that if you have the ability to go to a state school then do it, you will not regret it, and you will actually enjoy an at least somewhat selective student body, whereas the ITT Tech's of the world will take anyone with a student visa and an AMEX.


    This is coming from a person who graduated from one of Devry's primary competitors.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Isn't this a pretty bad time for game develpers anyways?

    Spoiler:
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    noir_blood wrote: »
    Isn't this a pretty bad time for game develpers anyways?
    Yes, but will it be in four years?

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    exoplasm wrote: »
    Does anyone have experience with this particular program at Devry? Should I take a general CS program instead and get some game-related electives? The fact that I get a degree is besides the point for me: I'm mainly interested in the knowledge and skills I'll gain, since I plan to go independent and not need to wave a paper at potential employers. Are there better choices for me? Note that I'm not a good self-teacher and depend heavily on interactive learning (i.e. classrooms).

    I thought this was a very important thing to stress... Independent / Freelance anything is not as easy, or as "payday" as you think it is.

    In fact, I'd encourage you to read this article: "Ten Independent Development Myths Debunked".

    edit: I should not that that article is from 2000. The situation then was a touch better than it is now.

    Most of the value of your degree comes from the name that is attached to the school when it's on your resume. It could be the greatest and program with the best professors in your area, but if it doesn't have a strong name/reputation it won't amount to much.

    If you've read around there appears to be more than a few cuts going on in the field that you're trying to break into. This means when you come out you'll be competing with a lot of people with experience and more importantly, connections, when you're searching for a job. It also means that there is a large base of people who have more experience than you do who may be putting out independent projects of their own.

    I say this from experience. Buying the shit to do games (legally and ethically) isn't cheap. You have to spend money to make money, and should you decide to pursue this course as a professional without any financial base (Read: JOB) to support it you're doomed to failure. Yes, you can make it happen if you're lucky... but you should strongly consider the choice you make in your higher education to compensate for the realities of the world around us.

    If you would like to learn how to formally code/develop games, go for it. But do it in a state college or established university in addition to learning the regular ropes of the computer science/software engineering field. A lot of colleges now offer game development courses as tracks in their degree curriculum. That way, you will have a better foundation to build upon in the event that your independent dreams don't fan out the way you want them to be.

    edit 2: Just to emphasize the costs of what you're doing - consider the case of Braid. Jonathan Blow stated that he spent more than $180,000 of his own money to develop Braid (Source). He didn't just pull that kind of scratch out of his ass, he had a job, albeit in the industry, as a videogame-industry consultant. That also meant that he knew people, which could have been of some help in moving his project forward. His degree was in Computer Science, btw.

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  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Go to a state school. Even if DeVry teaches you every skill the game industry values today, those skills will not be as valuable in 5 years. Learning theory is useful because it lets you pick up new skills more quickly because you know the concepts behind them. It's like learning math through memorization or rules versus knowing why things work the way they do.

  • ilmmadilmmad Registered User
    edited January 2009
    From what I've gathered, game studios prefer degrees in straight-up CS to the somewhat hokey "game college" degrees.

    Ilmmad.gif
  • EriosErios Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    A CS degree will serve you far better in the long run than a game college degree. The industry burns people out very quickly and once you have the understanding of computational logic, then you can adapt your skills to new languages. You are more likely to gain these skills in a standard CS degree than in a game design degree. Also, a CS degree will qualify you, as I implied above, for jobs NOT in the games industry. Being able to fall back on general programming is a very, very nice safety net.

    Game design classes are about as boring and theory oriented than CS classes anyway. Plus, you probably have to bust your ass twice as hard for a specialization that may not help you at all.

    Also, I'd say community college -> state school is better than going straight to a technical degree. Especially if you can get into a state university off the bat.

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  • exoplasmexoplasm Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Thanks for all the feedback guys. I didn't think I would be so surprised at the negative outlook on Devry; I guess I figured it would be a mix of "lol falling for daytime tv commercials" and "well it's better than nothing".

    Anyways, ironically perhaps, the people who were all "go for it!" the other day are now thinking it may not be so great for me.

    So back to the job hunt while I try to find other ways to get a good education (it would all be paid for even). I understand the problem with making money as an independent developer - games or otherwise, but I see that as my "do what makes you happy and money won't matter" job.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    exoplasm wrote: »
    ...I see that as my "do what makes you happy and money won't matter" job.
    This just simply isn't true. Sorry, man.

  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    exoplasm wrote: »
    ...I see that as my "do what makes you happy and money won't matter" job.
    This just simply isn't true. Sorry, man.

    however, if you're passionate about something, you're likely to succeed.

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    NotYou wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    exoplasm wrote: »
    ...I see that as my "do what makes you happy and money won't matter" job.
    This just simply isn't true. Sorry, man.

    however, if you're passionate about something, you're likely to succeed.

    I don't think anyone would doubt the passion of someone who works doing indie games. But they are not making a lot of money, if any. These are also the people who will eventually have families to support and will have to move to something with more cash.

    I'm always surprised when I read the back of Edge magazine, where they do the interviews with designers of amazing games. More often than not, they say something like "and then I had a family, couldn't work 16 hour days for months on end, so now I do Java development." I would never doubt the passion of those people either.

    Life gets in the way of things sometimes.

    I would only consider Digipen of the gaming universities, and in terms of programs at more traditional institutions, you've got really few real undergraduate "programs". You'll want to take CS at a school with good video game researchers, like USC, Georgia Tech, UCSC, University of Alberta (Canada).

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    NotYou wrote: »
    however, if you're passionate about something, you're likely to succeed.
    Since I'm steeped in noir and old westerns a lot these days, I feel compelled to point out that many people take wild risks in order to "make it big" and just don't. It's the gold rush, Hollywood to the dreamy-eyed boonies brunette... and all that.

    The safer and more prudent route would be to do it proper. Like Erios said, a CS degree gives you knowledge to be able to intuitively figure out most full on languages, scripts and tools that you'd end up using, because of that familiarity with how they function from the base up. but I guess I'm kind of biased towards a CS degree since I have one and all. :P

    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
This discussion has been closed.