I’ve been really interested in becoming a video game designer for the past few years now. I got really into Scratch when I first discovered it, and from that, I made my way onto Unity, where I am still working on my first platformer. I love to code as well as to make art, so I think the career choice is good for me. It’s slow going, but whenever I start to make headway on the project I get really excited. On the other hand, I’m an extremely logical thinker that loves solving puzzles in real-time. I am currently taking a Computer Science course at my school, and plan on taking the next level of that course next year. However, every few weeks or so I read more and more about cybersecurity and those types of events that occur in the world, which makes me also really want to get into cybersecurity, and possibly making a huge difference in the world one day. Since high school will be ending for me within the next two years, I would like to hear the opinions of some other people. Thoughts on which career path I should go down?
Coming from someone who used to stress a lot about what path I should go down just roll a dice if you can’t choose!
You can’t go wrong with any of those options and you can always use your education and/or background to pivot from one into the other.
Are there any majors you would recommend that would help me be able to switch to the other career if I start one and find out I don’t necessarily care for it? In other words, what majors could work for both careers?
If you want to go the university route you can’t go wrong with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science.
Most careers in IT/Software don’t actually require you to have a degree in anything specific. Having a CS degree will help you get your foot in the door.
You could also pursue these paths by being self-taught, enrolling in a more specialized program, or attending a bootcamp.
Whether you pursue a degree in CS or otherwise you’ll inevitably have to teach yourself. A degree or diploma is usually not enough to land your first job in either career path so if you want to be a game dev/designer the best way to do that is to keep building stuff even while you’re in school.
If you ever decide it’s not for you and you’d prefer cyber security (or any other path in IT/Software) the same rule applies. You’ll have to start working on cyber security projects outside school. Or maybe you get into the industry and work for 5-10 years as a game designer until you decide you want to pivot. That’s possible too.
The CS degree is the most flexible base to have but at the end of the day you pivot careers by pivoting your interests and going after jobs you want.
Sounds like the two paths are:
- Video Game Designer
- Cyber Security
Regardless of which you pick, I agree with above, that a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Degree is the safest option. It’s the degree that focuses primarily on the theory underpinning computation/programming. So it can be relevant for both paths, and possibly other paths that include programming and building software.
I will also say that why not go down both at the same time? I see no reason why you must pick a career right now, but I can see how you can split your time between both of the ones that interest you. Not only will this keep future doors open, but also give you more of an idea of what’s out there and a wide breadth of experiences.
There are a few things to consider, game development is a tough industry for a programmer. There are tight deadlines, tight requirements, and even tighter budgets. There’s nothing stopping you from being your own indie dev either, but doing it as a full time gig is much harder as there are limited positions.
Cyber Security is something that is everywhere, and every company needs to pay attention to, as at some level every company is a tech company. It requires a large amount of experience to get good, but is one of those areas that will always need more well trained people, and is a dynamic field that changes quickly.
So just to summarize, you have time to pick your career. Look into getting that CS degree to support whichever path you end up in, and split your time into looking into both paths.
Regardless of what you end up doing, good luck, keep learning keep growning!
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