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    So, my little brother is in y11 and he wants to be a computer games designer, or failing that, do some other computing related job that isn't as difficult to get into. He's thinking of doing computing, applied ICT, maths and maybe DT: product design, art or business studies A levels if he gets the grades. So firstly, is doing both ICT and computing a good idea? The sixth form he's applying to doesn't recommend it, but I think they allow it. Does anyone know just how much the courses overlap and whether it will cause problems later (not looking at top unis)? The 6th form also asks for B in art, which he wasn't able to take due to timetabling problems. If they'll allow him to take it, would not doing GCSE create a significant disadvantage? Thoughts on the other subjects (not so much maths, but the others) would also be appreciated.

    If he doesn't get the grades for that, there are a few BTECs in areas he's interested in. He was wondering what people do alongside a BTEC, if anything? Also, does anyone know what sort of prospects they offer? For instance, there was one in something like Games Development, but do those who take it actually have a realistic chance of getting into that field (already difficult) or a related degree? Would he be better off doing IT Practitioners? If anyone has taken any of these and knows what they're like that would be helpful.

    Thanks

    Edit - Also, I don't know how this works as I just stayed on at the sixth form of the school I was already at... If he missed the grades for 6th form but still had enough for a BTEC, would he have to try and get a place at a college after results day (having presumably already applied and rejected a place there earlier in the year)?
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    I cant see that there would be any overlap in Computing and ICT. Im doing a Level 3 in ICT (A level equivalent) and its totally irrelevant to any sort of Computing/Computer Science content. It is just using a PC to do stuff, theres no theory or anything like that.

    If he wants to keep his option open then id recommend doing Computing, Maths and any other 2 subjects, of course the top unis will want analytical subjects and ICT doesnt count as one.

    As for Art and not doing it at GCSE, it probably wouldnt be the best thing to do as he would be at a disadvantage, although im not sure whether it would be significant or not. I only did Art up until I was 13 and it was a doss with nothing being taught as such. But I dont know.
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    (Original post by THRASHx)
    I cant see that there would be any overlap in Computing and ICT. Im doing a Level 3 in ICT (A level equivalent) and its totally irrelevant to any sort of Computing/Computer Science content. It is just using a PC to do stuff, theres no theory or anything like that.

    If he wants to keep his option open then id recommend doing Computing, Maths and any other 2 subjects, of course the top unis will want analytical subjects and ICT doesnt count as one.

    As for Art and not doing it at GCSE, it probably wouldnt be the best thing to do as he would be at a disadvantage, although im not sure whether it would be significant or not. I only did Art up until I was 13 and it was a doss with nothing being taught as such. But I dont know.
    Thanks. I don't think keeping his options open is really something he cares about. He's pretty sure he wants to do something with computers and just wants to fill up the other options with something he can pass and won't completely hate. That makes me wonder if he'd be better off with BTECs. They also seem to be easier to pass. What the top unis want is irrelevant to be frank, as I said before. It's more what employers want, perhaps other unis.
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    Thanks. I don't think keeping his options open is really something he cares about. He's pretty sure he wants to do something with computers and just wants to fill up the other options with something he can pass and won't completely hate. That makes me wonder if he'd be better off with BTECs. They also seem to be easier to pass. What the top unis want is irrelevant to be frank, as I said before. It's more what employers want, perhaps other unis.
    Well employers will want you to go to a good university!
    I wouldnt recommend a BTEC, maybe an A Level in Media or something like that. Art might not be difficult but theres so much work, my girlfriend does it and spends a few hours after college, staying at college, to finish of pieces of art. I wouldnt like it, especially when doing difficult subjects like Maths and Computing.
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    I took a BTEC in IT Practitioners and managed to get into Nottingham Uni. There are some uni's that won't accept them though so he needs to get a rough idea of the uni's he wants. If he took A Level Maths alongside it then he'd be in a very good position.

    Why not take a look at the BTEC modules and see if they're of interest? Out of our group we had several go to uni (including one guy at Durham), another on the stupidly competitive BT apprenticeship, and some working the IT departments in schools.
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    (Original post by THRASHx)
    Well employers will want you to go to a good university!
    I wouldnt recommend a BTEC, maybe an A Level in Media or something like that. Art might not be difficult but theres so much work, my girlfriend does it and spends a few hours after college, staying at college, to finish of pieces of art. I wouldnt like it, especially when doing difficult subjects like Maths and Computing.
    Oh yea that's true... I didn't think about the amount of time art takes up. My best friend spends all her time doing it too. I can't really imagine my brother doing that...

    Media... I'll ask him what he thinks of that.

    And, yea employers might like top universities, but for someone who's struggling to pass GCSEs it isn't realistic. I think he could do them if he put the work in, but he refuses to do anything until the last minute and even then it's only if forced. He's just got his mock results though and he wants to go to sixth form, so hopefully that'll encourage him to actually revise for the modules he has left.
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    (Original post by snoogy)
    I took a BTEC in IT Practitioners and managed to get into Nottingham Uni. There are some uni's that won't accept them though so he needs to get a rough idea of the uni's he wants. If he took A Level Maths alongside it then he'd be in a very good position.

    Why not take a look at the BTEC modules and see if they're of interest? Out of our group we had several go to uni (including one guy at Durham), another on the stupidly competitive BT apprenticeship, and some working the IT departments in schools.
    Cool. I looked up BTECs earlier and he had a look at them. He seems to want to go for A levels first though and then do BTECs if he can't. I'm under the impression that he sees BTECs as being not as good as A levels and so he should try and do A levels. Maybe he'll change his mind if he finds out that good unis accept them. What are BTECs like? I've never really come into contact with them. Are they mainly coursework or exams? Is there less to memorise than with 3.5 A levels? (My brother's main problem is that his memory is very poor.)
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    Cool. I looked up BTECs earlier and he had a look at them. He seems to want to go for A levels first though and then do BTECs if he can't. I'm under the impression that he sees BTECs as being not as good as A levels and so he should try and do A levels. Maybe he'll change his mind if he finds out that good unis accept them. What are BTECs like? I've never really come into contact with them. Are they mainly coursework or exams? Is there less to memorise than with 3.5 A levels? (My brother's main problem is that his memory is very poor.)
    It's all coursework. I found it extremely interesting because it's all computing, all of the time instead of battling with IT (boring as hell and no help at all for anything remotely computer based) and other qualifications I'd never really want. There's nothing to really memorise but there's usually quite a bit of variety so there's the occasional practical or presentation to give. They're very good for future employment and apprenticeships too if he decides uni isn't for him.

    My GCSEs were made of epic fail but I managed to get triple distinction (AAA) in the BTEC and get a scholarship at uni for it. I really would suggest getting the A Level Maths too though. That's my only problem at uni and it opens the number of uni's that'll have him much wider.

    It's probably best to make a pros and cons list for both qualifications.
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    (Original post by snoogy)
    It's all coursework. I found it extremely interesting because it's all computing, all of the time instead of battling with IT (boring as hell and no help at all for anything remotely computer based) and other qualifications I'd never really want. There's nothing to really memorise but there's usually quite a bit of variety so there's the occasional practical or presentation to give. They're very good for future employment and apprenticeships too if he decides uni isn't for him.

    My GCSEs were made of epic fail but I managed to get triple distinction (AAA) in the BTEC and get a scholarship at uni for it. I really would suggest getting the A Level Maths too though. That's my only problem at uni and it opens the number of uni's that'll have him much wider.

    It's probably best to make a pros and cons list for both qualifications.
    That sounds great, thanks a lot. So a course called IT practitioners is actually all computing, no IT? And it hasn't caused any problems coping at degree level, apart from the lack of maths? This sounds just right for him. I'll talk to him about it.

    Edit - Just noticed your course is in your sig. Artificial intelligence... sounds interesting (though I prefer this neuro/philosophy side to the actual technology).
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    That sounds great, thanks a lot. So a course called IT practitioners is actually all computing, no IT? And it hasn't caused any problems coping at degree level, apart from the lack of maths? This sounds just right for him. I'll talk to him about it.

    Edit - Just noticed your course is in your sig. Artificial intelligence... sounds interesting (though I prefer this neuro/philosophy side to the actual technology).
    Yeah, my lecturers at college always said it should have been called something more Computer Sciencey. It's almost 90% computing and 10% business, communications and other gentle things. There's usually quite a bit of programming, databases, signal theory and networking in there depending which route you take (there's routes within the course - I took the hardware route ).

    I've had no problems at uni at all except for playing catch up with the maths but I'm getting there. Sometimes I forget that everyone around me has A in their A Level Maths so I'm always going to be at a slight disadvantage but three months in that gap is much smaller.

    I love AI from both sides - I adore philosophy and discussing the more theoretical side but to get there I need to get through the hardcore programming bits. I took psychology and CS at another uni before settling at Notts and mixing them both was awesome. And it helps when I'm babbling at neurons in my actual AI classes now. I'm leaning towards medical AI in the future :yep:

    I get to play with robots too which helps
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    (Original post by snoogy)
    Yeah, my lecturers at college always said it should have been called something more Computer Sciencey. It's almost 90% computing and 10% business, communications and other gentle things. There's usually quite a bit of programming, databases, signal theory and networking in there depending which route you take (there's routes within the course - I took the hardware route ).

    I've had no problems at uni at all except for playing catch up with the maths but I'm getting there. Sometimes I forget that everyone around me has A in their A Level Maths so I'm always going to be at a slight disadvantage but three months in that gap is much smaller.

    I love AI from both sides - I adore philosophy and discussing the more theoretical side but to get there I need to get through the hardcore programming bits. I took psychology and CS at another uni before settling at Notts and mixing them both was awesome. And it helps when I'm babbling at neurons in my actual AI classes now. I'm leaning towards medical AI in the future :yep:

    I get to play with robots too which helps
    Awesome. xD I'm doing psychology next year, but there was a psych with cog sci course at Sussex that looked awesome. The cog sci part was all philosophy and artificial intelligence and generally sounded amazing. The uni didn't appeal to me though and I knew if I applied, I wouldn't go there. I applied for psych with cog neurosci at Notts but it's nothing like it and the others are just straight psych.
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    Awesome. xD I'm doing psychology next year, but there was a psych with cog sci course at Sussex that looked awesome. The cog sci part was all philosophy and artificial intelligence and generally sounded amazing. The uni didn't appeal to me though and I knew if I applied, I wouldn't go there. I applied for psych with cog neurosci at Notts but it's nothing like it and the others are just straight psych.
    It sucks when you find a dream course at a place you wouldn't be happy I did love psychology and how you can make it suit what you want to do but I kept aiming it towards AI until the uni couldn't offer me much more. I was just too pulled by AI to stick at it and once I had my Notts offer I pretty much leapt at the chance!

    Thanks for the rep btw! And if your brother has any general questions, I'll see if I can answer them for him.
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    Generally in the games industry besides computer programmers they require illustrators and fine artists too, to animation designers. People who are generally in the game industry have degrees in Illustration, Graphics Design or Fine Art. A large portion of Japanese game designers are Fine Artists.

    I would suggest doing a BTEC in Art and Design It will help him get into it plus you can do any other qualifications or A Levels like an A Level in Computing if he was interested, alongside it. Bare in mind that it's a coursework heavy course and it can get you straight into a degree without a Foundation Diploma.

    Plymouth College of Art does a Games Design degree one of the only ones or I think the only one in the U.K.
    http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/prospec...s--/DFFH1A1011

    I think in the second year besides giving you industry links it helps you with a placement in your second year, and of course you can do a BA top up.

    I also forgot to mention that they teach you industry computer equipment like Adobe and Games applications.
    Hope this helps .
 
 
 
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