Provided by DeVry University
Even if you’ve written a go-to book in your field, have hands-on job experience, and hold academic credits from multiple schools, you still might need a degree to qualify for the biggest project of your career. That’s what happened to game designer Jonathan Weinberger, who wanted to maximize academic credit from prior studies, and to ensure his education would apply to his career. “I was able to achieve both,” Weinberger says.
A New Degree Dawns
Weinberger’s story is a familiar one to Amy McCann, assistant national dean at DeVry University, especially among transfer students.
“Gone are the days of waiting in line for the registration office. Once the applicant has decided to go to DeVry, they’re immediately given an advisor who walks them through critical components like academics and financial aid,” McCann says. “We discuss all their options, be that an undergraduate certificate program, an advanced degree, or whatever, and determine what best suits that student. Then, we’ll do an initial evaluation and let them know how many credits will transfer toward their program.”
In Weinberger’s case, he was able to build on his past experience, and complete his Bachelor’s degree in Technical Management in two semesters at DeVry. He then tied together his career and his education with his senior business project, which he applied to his work with Unity Technologies, the developer of Unity, a cross-platform game engine.
The Student Becomes the Teacher
“I had been a teenager trying to get my first job, and not having a degree held me back,” says Weinberger, who originally built off success on YouTube with a book that has become an industry standard, Learn Unity Programming With C#. “Already being a programmer, I wasn’t sure if I really needed to go to college for it.That book gave me an opportunity to get my first job in the work field, with [The Cartoon Network’s] Adult Swim. One of the hiring managers discovered my book, saw I lived in Atlanta, and contacted me.”
Weinberger explains, “Unity wanted a one-of-a-kind course that helps new developers feel comfortable exploring their platform and developing games. As excited as I was, I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. But the management skills I learned while taking the senior project course at DeVry have been invaluable to me and were significant in helping me orchestrate so many people and project details.”
He was able to come to an exclusive agreement with Unity to create a series of courses. The first, “The Ultimate Guide to Game Development with Unity,” was released in November 2017. “Now that I have my degree, I’m working directly with Unity, and have job offers coming in left and right.”
Games are Weinberger’s primary focus, but he’s also creating courses dedicated to film, photography, virtual reality, augmented reality, and more. “I taught myself how to use this engine eight years ago and it’s my whole career now.”
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