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Background:

This question came to mind after I ignorantly came to the conclusion that I was driven to go into game development, because it is the only place I can do creative development without the hinderance of clients wanting things tweaked, or security needing to be extreme, or deadlines pushing away research.

I'm not talking about all cases, I'm talking about "in the end", where I've found my "final" kind of job. Game development I speak of here is indie development, where original intuitive design is important.

As far as I know, this form of game development is the only way a person with only a bachelors can do research level development [AI, original UI (like voice commands / NLP), advanced graphical development]. With a phD I understand i could do any research, but I'm still unsure that is the path I wish to take.

Question:

What type of jobs or industry can allow someone with only a bachelors degree to do virtually unhindered creative research and development? This is subjective, so I'm mainly looking for opinions and RL accounts.

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I've been working for almost 20 years and still haven't found my "final" job –  Jim Oct 3 '11 at 16:30
    
I have been a dreamer that you are. The only way to accomplish what you want is to trade stocks / options / what have you from the basement, while working on your own open source software at the same time. The catch is that you have to be good at predicting the future ;) –  Job Oct 3 '11 at 16:53
    
What I don't understand is why someone who truly enjoys pure research wouldn't want to get a PhD. My distaste for pure research is the only reason I don't have one. –  Karl Bielefeldt Oct 3 '11 at 17:53
    
@Karl: Ph.D.s require the sort of research that involves hard work. It can be very rewarding for some (apparently neither for you nor me), but there's a lot of comparatively grunt work with the creativity. –  David Thornley Oct 3 '11 at 20:01
    
@karl: There is also the issue of crippling debt. My undergrad netted me 30k, and I was one of the more fortunate ones. I am not a greedy person, but I am not a fan of being dirt poor. (Perspective: I drove alone for the first time after buying my first cheapo car at the age of 25... I've had my license since I was 16) –  Jason McCarrell Oct 14 '11 at 20:15
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3 Answers

You need to get an internship to get a good solid taste of industry.

For what you think you want, your best path is graduate school and a PhD.

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What type of jobs or industry can allow someone with only a bachelors degree to do virtually unhindered creative research and development? This is subjective, so I'm mainly looking for opinions and RL accounts.

This kind of job doesn't exist, unless you own your on company.

The only way to get into anything near this kind of work is with a PhD and tenure at Google or some prestigious University. I am sure even Guido doesn't just get to work on any old shit at Google, I am sure his research is focused on things of value to the company.

Commercial paying work is the opposite of what you are asking for. Even working for Google or some University will constrain you activities to something that is needed.

Personal Note: I have been a successful software engineer for over 20 years, but my college years were spent at in Art School, one that focused on producing deliverables on deadlines. I think my years learning this in school, something no Computer Science graduate I have met in the last 20 years has any experience with straight out of school, helped me be successful and get to where I am today.

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I hope you are not suggessting that when someone gets a job you are actually supposed work and be productive? I do not think they teach how to do that anymore. –  Chad Oct 3 '11 at 16:42
    
@Chad I didn't think they ever taught that! –  Jarrod Roberson Oct 3 '11 at 16:54
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Those types of jobs do exist, but generally if you plan on doing that as your main focus, it is for the higher ups at big companies. Those people tend to have PhDs or have lucked into major roles on highly successful product lines. On the other hand, if you keep your ear to the wall you can get to work on research projects, even if you are a newbie. You make your own opportunities. If you know what you want, then it's possible to make it happen no matter if you are at the top or the bottom. However, don't expect anyone to give it to you, you need to actively go after it yourself. –  Dunk Oct 3 '11 at 20:12
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This question came to mind after I ignorantly came to the

conclusion that I was driven to go into game development, because it is the only place I can do creative development without the hinderance of clients wanting things tweaked, or security needing to be extreme, or deadlines pushing away research.

This will exist at any major studio that creates video games. There are going to be deadlines, the only difference is, your clients are the heads of multi-billion dollar companies, and you certainly will NOT be able to find a job like this with your current amount of experience.

What type of jobs or industry can allow someone with only a bachelors degree to do virtually unhindered creative research and development? This is subjective, so I'm mainly looking for opinions and RL accounts.

Come up with an idea and request funding from hedge groups. Of course there will be a limit to what you will be able to find if there isn't a commercial use.

With a phD I understand i could do any research, but I'm still unsure that is the path I wish to take.

You need a Masters Degree, it sounds like you should get some experience before you make a decision, your view on what a job in the industry actually is does not seem realistic.

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Game companies can work their employees 100 hrs per week. Sounds like a hell job to me. –  Job Oct 3 '11 at 16:52
    
I have not worked in the game industry. My theory comes from experience in indie development. For example, if you are told to create a certain behavior in a character, you could do so in many ways, from dumb, to intelligent and from surreal to realistic. That is the creativity I am considering. –  Jason McCarrell Oct 14 '11 at 20:18
    
@JasonMcCarrell - You not working in the game industry is perfectly clear. Look into projects like Watson. I will again point out what you seem to want out of a job, does not really match whats actually going to be the case, you still have deadlines with Indie Development. –  Ramhound Oct 27 '11 at 18:26
    
Watson is not an agent AI for a video game... an agent AI for a video game is very different from Watson or a boring chess AI, it is also very different from NLP like with Siri and Wolfram Alpha. Are you sure you know what is realistic? Are you sure your vision isn't too narrow? –  Jason McCarrell Oct 27 '11 at 20:27
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