I’ve been teaching myself Blender and learning about the video game industry in my free time, but I started worrying that there might be gaps in my knowledge, so I enrolled in a degree for Simulation and Video Game Development at a local community college. I don’t have the money to go somewhere expensive, and I’ve seen lots of advice from people I respect to avoid paying a lot of money for a degree. I thought a cheaper school might round me out and direct me toward what I need to learn next without breaking my piggy bank.
However, my experience so far has not been good. I’m learning some useful techniques in my photoshop class and gaining a lot of confidence in my skills, but it’s entirely self taught. The teacher literally hasn’t taught me anything. I just read the book and do the assignments on my own. These assignments are riddled with typos and self contradictions. In the other introductory class, I’m already way past everything they’re teaching. My teacher wants me to use some antique program called Wings3D to do the assignments, and he refused to let me use Blender or any other modern software instead. If it were Maya, I might understand his logic, but it’s just so backwards and I have to wonder if he just doesn’t know how to use any other programs himself.
Now I’m thinking about transferring into a different community college that has had some positive media coverage, but I’m wondering if my experience will be just as bad anywhere else I go. The college experience just doesn’t seem well suited to a motivated adult who has already put in time and effort into learning the subject. There seems to be little flexibility in terms of placing out of courses or otherwise fitting your coursework around your pre-existing skills. Even if I choose to just cherry pick classes without getting a degree, the course descriptions are extremely vague, so there’s no way to know what specifically they’re actually teaching until you actually register, and staff have just been terrible at answering my questions so far. The communication at both colleges is just consistently poor. They seem to have zero ability to think outside of the box and don’t even know how to talk to someone who isn’t some fresh faced 18 year old who doesn’t know anything about anything.
What I’d really like to do is just get a list of the books and assignments they have and just do it all myself, but of course they don’t list any of that information publicly. You have to register for the courses to get access to it. So, my question is, do you think it’s worth my money, and especially my time to try and pursue a degree, or even classes, at a community college? Or, would I be better off trying to find a mentor, watch YouTube videos, etc., and continue learning that way? If the latter, where is the best place to find a good mentor for 3D modeling and animation? I really want to make sure I don’t have any gaps in my skills that would prevent me from being hired. Thanks to anybody who can help, because I’m in a quandary.