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Philosophical Question...

1/6/13 by Holon
Updated 1/6/13

...Y'know, the type of questions that make you think?

"What would you want to do (occupation-wise) if you cannot fail at anything."

I was recently asked this and it has gotten me wondering about my career path. My dream ever since I was a wee lad was to become a game developer, but because of my near-perfect grades ever since fourth grade or sometime around then, my mother has been pushing me to become a doctor. I know medical school is hard and probably more difficult than studying computer science, but I feel being a game developer would be harder than a doctor. Feel free to prove me wrong though.

From my experience with Basic and ActionScript so far, a lot of what I type has to depend on creativity and finding methods to do things. A lot of times, my code ends up being a huge mess of "what's that over there" and "where the heck is that, did it disappear". And naming my variables just flies everywhere and some variables disappear under an abyss of code, so "works well with others" doesn't come to me easily. Being a doctor seems like a lot of memorization of "if then" statements to find out how to treat a patient, which seems less difficult than discovering ways to do things through programming. Again, feel free to prove me wrong. Being a doctor seems like a regular routine while being a game developer seems to be a series of ups and downs.

I don't know much about the medical industry, but I do know the video game industry has been in a decline recently, with THQ being a great example. So if I do pursue a path in game development, I'll probably be unable to compete for jobs with some of my classmates who have taken the AP test for Computer Science sophomore year in high school and somehow aced it and others planning to take it soon. I'm just learning Basic now (with a perfect grade so far), so I feel behind to a lot of future game developers my age but also ahead of some others.

So my focus for the past who-knows-how-many-years has been on getting high grades to hopefully get into a good college for whatever career or subject I choose to major in. But now that I'm a sophomore, I already have to begin to decide what I want to be in the future and begin doing college application stuff. It's hard to decide. When I took the PSAT, I probably spent more time on the "What do you want to major in?" page than any other question of the test.

So I was leaning towards doctor and medical school up until I heard this question. What if I become better at organizing my code, get better at working well with others and advance my knowledge of computer programming? Could I rise in the ranks and one day maybe be like the next Shigeru Miyamoto? Doubt it, but what if?

And if I can't get a job, why not become an indie developer? I was reading an interview with Tom Fulp just a few minutes ago and what really something'd (inspired maybe? I don't know what word to use here) me was the fact that he began learning programming with Basic in high school. Yeah, I know, this probably isn't too uncommon, but after seeing students who knew Java and C++ in middle school, this made me feel like I'm not behind and possibly am on the same page as Tom Fulp was when he was younger, and maybe in the future I can create something as great as Castle Crashers or Alien Hominid. And Kickstarters have been rising in popularity lately allowing a lot of indie developers to find a place to start. So once I'm more educated, I can probably start an indie team with maybe friends, my brother and/or members of the NG community and other communities.

So that's my answer to "What would you want to do (occupation-wise) if you cannot fail at anything."

I'm still unsure though. Should I aim high to be a doctor, or should I take a gamble and aim for the job of my childhood dreams of being an indie developer (or a non-indie developer)? Is the video game industry even as hard as I make it out to be?

And if you read through all this, kudos to you. Here's a picture of a cat.

Philosophical Question...


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Oh, and are you animating the Metroid Prime thingie? How's that going :3

1/9/13 Holon responds:

Midterms are coming up, so my focus has kinda shifted for now.


First off, do YOU actually want to be a doctor? Do you enjoy the medical department?

If you do, why not do both? I know being a doctor takes up almost all of your time, but that doesn't mean you won't have alone time to make a little something something. The game industry goes two ways - being in a company and being indie. In our current situation, the company thing is difficult. If you're a real gamer and know what makes a good game, you can make a little something something to release on the App Store and make bank.

It's always best to learn many different things than to specialise in just one area.


CaduceusCaduceus

1/6/13

I had the same dilemma a few years ago. High grades used to be my number one priority, I won every school related competition, was interested in physics etc. But I also loved doing animations and games in free time. What to do, right? Go the route with high social status, get a respected job? Or lose yourself in your passion?

There's no point in filling other people's expectations. Do the thing you have always wanted to do, after all, you've only got one life to live. It's better to take a shot at living your dream than having the 'what if?' stuck in your head for the rest of your life.

Go with the games, man. It's the highest form of art.


I'd be something fun, not sure what it would be