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Computer Programmers vs Videogame Programmers


Tyrell

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Right now I'm heading into my Sophmore year of college (2nd Year) at Kansas University. Good thing for my Track & Field scholarship cause I don't have to pay a penny! :unsure:

 

Anyways, I'm majoring in Computer Science with hopes of getting a programming job when I get out. I might get my Masters, but I don't know yet. Anyways, last night I was looking on the internet about computer programmers and I found out that a computer programmer (not videogame programmers) average about $40-$60,000 a year. Now there is some exceptions as some my be lower then $40,000 and some might be higher then $60,000. Hell in High School my C++ teacher told me that she knew someone who was a programmer that made like $200,000 a year. Anyways all of us in that class wants/wanted to be a videogame programmer but she made a comment saying that videogame programmers actually make less then an average computer programmer. Is that true?

 

I know both require the same s***, both require atleast an associates degree while a Bachelor's is mostly recommended and a Masters surely won't hurt. Some companies MIGHT take some with a HS Diploma but I believe that is really really really rare. They both require you to know the same s*** like C++, GUI, Java etc...

 

I know the difference between the two is that a Computer Programmer works on normal everyday programs and debbuging while videogame programmers....works on videogames.

 

On the main page of this site it talked about how Obsidian is hiring and one of the things open is a programmer and they said that they offer competitive salaries.

 

So tell me, does a videogame programmer really make less then the normal everyday business type programmer?

 

I'm only a 2nd year college student but I want to know as much about my future job as possible. I don't want to be like those Seniors in college who wait til there is like 1-3 months left in their college career to take more notice on their job and stuff.

 

I always wanted to be a videogame programmer rather then just a normal programmer, but right now I'm leaning more towards being the normal programmer....

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Right now I'm heading into my Sophmore year of college (2nd Year) at Kansas University. Good thing for my Track & Field scholarship cause I don't have to pay a penny! ;)

 

Anyways, I'm majoring in Computer Science with hopes of getting a programming job when I get out. I might get my Masters, but I don't know yet. Anyways, last night I was looking on the internet about computer programmers and I found out that a computer programmer (not videogame programmers) average about $40-$60,000 a year. Now there is some exceptions as some my be lower then $40,000 and some might be higher then $60,000. Hell in High School my C++ teacher told me that she knew someone who was a programmer that made like $200,000 a year. Anyways all of us in that class wants/wanted to be a videogame programmer but she made a comment saying that videogame programmers actually make less then an average computer programmer. Is that true?

 

I know both require the same s***, both require atleast an associates degree while a Bachelor's is mostly recommended and a Masters surely won't hurt. Some companies MIGHT take some with a HS Diploma but I believe that is really really really rare. They both require you to know the same s*** like C++, GUI, Java etc...

 

I know the difference between the two is that a Computer Programmer works on normal everyday programs and debbuging while videogame programmers....works on videogames.

 

On the main page of this site it talked about how Obsidian is hiring and one of the things open is a programmer and they said that they offer competitive salaries.

 

So tell me, does a videogame programmer really make less then the normal everyday business type programmer?

 

I'm only a 2nd year college student but I want to know as much about my future job as possible. I don't want to be like those Seniors in college who wait til there is like 1-3 months left in their college career to take more notice on their job and stuff.

 

I always wanted to be a videogame programmer rather then just a normal programmer, but right now I'm leaning more towards being the normal programmer....

Generally, salaries are slightly lower than 'out-of-industry' salaries. A programmer that has a good resume and several years in the industry won't be starving, that's for sure. Out-of-industry experience and salary history won't really earn you much when applying, hence you can be making 60k writing accounting apps for a consulting firm, but you will likely need to take much less to 'break in'.

 

It's a reality that we make less, though, and most people don't do this for the money. It's not bad cash, but you can make more doing something else.

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Anyways, I'm majoring in Computer Science with hopes of getting a programming job when I get out. I might get my Masters, but I don't know yet. Anyways, last night I was looking on the internet about computer programmers and I found out that a computer programmer (not videogame programmers) average about $40-$60,000 a year.

 

I am 28 and I make considerably more then your max, although slightly less then double your min. Althouth, I am not technically a programmer, its just what I do. I also work for a company that contracts with the government. Technically I am a physicist, but many physicist are adept programmers.

 

Anyhow good luck with whatever you choose to do. BTW, if you don't work in the game industry, don't worry there are a lot of really fun jobs out there.

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I mean if I had the opportunity to pick a job:

 

1 -- Working as a programmer for some game company

 

2 -- Working as a programmer for some business firm.

 

I would mostly pick the game one cause thats what I'm into. I like to program, plus I'm into games so those two kinda go together. BUT I did find out that game programmers (And for why I don't know) make less then the average programmer. So then it came to me, I like videogames and ever since I was little I wanted to make them. But if I could make more $$$ doing basiclly the same thing (programming) but with a different motive (something other then games) then why should I limit myself to just games?

 

Yeah, I might be coming across as some money hungry 18 year old, but hey! :lol:

 

Picking to not work in the gaming field and picking to work in another programming field really isn't showing that I'm just about the money and that I'm sacrificing something that I like to do something else just to make more $$$. It isn't like that cause I'm not sacrificing anything, yes I love gaming but my #1 love is programming.

 

Maybe things will change though, I'm only 18 and I still have 3 years left of school (Maybe 2 more if I go for my Masters) so I have plenty of time with this.

 

I think it is just better for me to learn about this type of stuff now and not wait til the last minuete when I'm about to graduate to then educate myself on my field of profession.

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Just make sure that whatever you do, you have a real passion for it. Programming is one of those careers that if you dont absolutely love it, you can burn out on fast. As far as game programming, you can find a lot of the same uses if you build 3D software for universities, simulations, etc. So you may find just what you want. There are lots of options out there, and picking one that you love doing is of the utmost importance. Generally speaking, someone who loves their job is more likely to earn higher wage either way, as they'll put in that above and beyond effort that someone who is just "surviving" will not.

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2 -- Working as a programmer for some business firm.

What about option 3, making war game simulations...

or option 4 making real flight, or tank simulators for real pilots and military personell.

or option 5 righting the onboard software for tomohawk guidance system.

or option 6 making the latest CG software for the latest CG film.

or doing software for special effects in non-CG movies.

 

And I have probably only touched on 0.1% of everything outsided a business firm. Try not to make it sound so dry...

 

I hate to break it to you, but video game programmers come close to human right violations. Long hours, so so pay, despite what Feargus says. I talked with an ex_BIS employee who mentions many programmers leave for a brighter future. I am into games, but just playing them. Making them seems way too stressful.

 

Sorry, I think all you young'ns need to know there is a bright future for you, even if you you don't get into the gaming industry.

 

BTW, why doesn't anyone want to be a designer?

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BUT I did find out that game programmers (And for why I don't know) make less then the average programmer.

I would think the answer would be supply and demand.

 

The demand for working in the gaming industry is quite high while the supply of game industry jobs is quite small. Since the supply of game industry professionals are much higher than the number of jobs for them, the wages fall. If the day comes when the demand for game industry jobs exceeds the supply of game industry professionals, the wages will rise to attract more people to the industry.

 

Ultimately, you need to work doing what will make you happy. I pursued a career in the gaming industry because that is what I am passionate about. I wake up every morning EXCITED to go to work. I have so much fun doing what I am doing that I don't even notice the time. Before I know it I have put in a 12 hour day and I have to force myself to go home.

The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false.

--Paul Johnson

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I don't want this to seem as if I'm doing something that probably won't make me happy. Computer Programmer or Videogame Programmer, either way I'm going to be happy. Its the the word programmer that makes me happy. I want to be a programmer. Computer/Videogame is just the prefix but as of now I'm liking the "computer" prefix right now because now a computer programmer makes more. Maybe 3-4 years later when I graduate things will change.

 

Again, its the programming aspect that I love, not the computer or videogame aspect of it. So it isn't like if I pick computer programmer over videogame programmer, I'm going to be sacrificing something that I really love to do something else that I love less just to make more money. It isn't like that.

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Hehehe, I plan on going to the local JC to brush up on my higher math a bit before trying to get into gaming school. I hope to get into Digipen, hence why I'm brushing up on math first, as I figure from what's been said, the aggressive math is the reason for the high drop out rate. :) But I'd rather be a sort of Jack of All trades than just limited to programming. Most of all, I want to work on the models, and art. Not the actual concept art sketches, but the stuff that comes after that. It looks fun. :)

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Hehehe, I plan on going to the local JC to brush up on my higher math a bit before trying to get into gaming school.  I hope to get into Digipen, hence why I'm brushing up on math first, as I figure from what's been said, the aggressive math is the reason for the high drop out rate.  :-

I know of two people who followed that course of action and they were both accepted :). It should work!

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I know here in Omaha the big money is in programming COBOL and FORTRAN because very few people know those languages. They are antiquated, and horrid to program in. So pick your poison and spent 60 hours a week doing something you love, or 40 hours a week doing something you hate.

 

And who is to say FORTRAN and COBOL programmers don't put in lengthy hours either.

 

And there is a different making $70,000 a year in the Midwest, or a place like Edmonton (Bioware) than making $70,000 out in Irvine (Interplay, OE).

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I know here in Omaha the big money is in programming COBOL and FORTRAN because very few people know those languages. They are antiquated, and horrid to program in. So pick your poison and spent 60 hours a week doing something you love, or 40 hours a week doing something you hate.

 

And who is to say FORTRAN and COBOL programmers don't put in lengthy hours either.

 

And there is a different making $70,000 a year in the Midwest, or a place like Edmonton (Bioware) than making $70,000 out in Irvine (Interplay, OE).

Aye, $70,000 where I live is a salary to die for. :(

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I know here in Omaha the big money is in programming COBOL and FORTRAN because very few people know those languages. They are antiquated, and horrid to program in. So pick your poison and spent 60 hours a week doing something you love, or 40 hours a week doing something you hate.

 

And who is to say FORTRAN and COBOL programmers don't put in lengthy hours either.

 

And there is a different making $70,000 a year in the Midwest, or a place like Edmonton (Bioware) than making $70,000 out in Irvine (Interplay, OE).

Tell tell you the truth, I know how to program in COBOL. :(

 

I know:

 

COBOL

Java

C

C++

 

C/C++ I learned in HS and the other two I learned in my first year of college.

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I know here in Omaha the big money is in programming COBOL and FORTRAN because very few people know those languages. They are antiquated, and horrid to program in. So pick your poison and spent 60 hours a week doing something you love, or 40 hours a week doing something you hate.

 

And who is to say FORTRAN and COBOL programmers don't put in lengthy hours either.

 

And there is a different making $70,000 a year in the Midwest, or a place like Edmonton (Bioware) than making $70,000 out in Irvine (Interplay, OE).

The location is pretty imporant, so keep in mind that in California we do pay a lot more for real estate and in taxes (successfully Saves against rant). However, a lot of things are very convenient out here as well (access to mountains, ocean, culture, and 'other culture'). However, with the number of companies strewn along the highway from Calabasas to San Diego, your odds of remaining employed are better than say, Madison WI, where your choice is Raven or nothing. You will generally make slightly more (10% or so) living in a higher cost of living region.

 

As far as 60 hour weeks go, some companies require it. Some positions require it. I've worked for companies that encourage 40 hour weeks, except in the event a milestone is in danger--or the 'crunch' is on.

 

You will never avoid the 100 hour weeks near the end--every project insists THIS WILL BE THE ONE to avoid the crunch,but even with the most careful planning, the team's passion for wanting to make the best game possible will be stronger than their desire to catch their favorite TV shows (thank you TiVO).

 

Summary:

 

You will make less money and work more hours. No way to sugar coat that.

 

Otherwise, it's a lot like working outside the industy. Except you work with geeks. Making games. No suits. With the occasional span of months where you forget where you live or who you live with because the office IS your life and home.

 

It really comes down to work satisfaction--I don't regret taking a HUGE salary cut to get into the industry (about 4.5 years later, I'm still below what I was making, but not too far below) . What's money when your miserable for 8 hours a day?

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I know here in Omaha the big money is in programming COBOL and FORTRAN because very few people know those languages.  They are antiquated, and horrid to program in.  So pick your poison and spent 60 hours a week doing something you love, or 40 hours a week doing something you hate.

 

And who is to say FORTRAN and COBOL programmers don't put in lengthy hours either.

 

And there is a different making $70,000 a year in the Midwest, or a place like Edmonton (Bioware) than making $70,000 out in Irvine (Interplay, OE).

I amazed how some peoples fortran subroutines even work. Not sure about COBOL, but there are many incarnations of FORTRAN, such as FORTRAN IV, FORTRAN 77, fortran 90 and fortran 95. Its an ugly language, and I learned it fairly quickly, it was very popular among science and engineering types, and I feel sorry for anyone who one day has to read it.

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Otherwise, it's a lot like working outside the industy. Except you work with geeks.

I think geeks haunt every aspect of industy as well. Heck, I even work with some people that wear those really thick glasses like the people in the Apollo 13 movie. B)

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Otherwise, it's a lot like working outside the industy. Except you work with geeks.

I think geeks haunt every aspect of industy as well. Heck, I even work with some people that wear those really thick glasses like the people in the Apollo 13 movie. B)

But those folks rock. Geeks Rock!

RS_Silvestri_01.jpg

 

"I'm a programmer at a games company... REET GOOD!" - Me

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