G’day GameDev. I am in my late 30’s and considering returning to school to study Game Design. I currently have no applicable/transferable knowledge, skills or experience and I will be 40 years old when I have finished my studies and looking to find my first job in the industry. Am I too late? Will I be wasting my time (and money) trying to enter the industry at that age?

There's some major questions that you need to answer for yourself.

First and foremost, I think it really depends on what your own goals and responsibilities are. What is it you want to do with your life? Do you have any other major goals outside of your career? Is doing game design professionally what you really want, or would doing game design as an amateur hobbyist be enough? You need to be sure that this is something you want to commit to for years, not just the studying and learning, but also the doing. Remember, getting an entry-level job in the game industry isn't the end of the road but the beginning. Once you get hired, you don't just ride off into the sunset while the credits roll. There's a whole career after that first offer letter, and that kind of career really isn't for everyone.

The second major question you need to ask yourself is "Do I really need to go to school to study game design?" I'll tell you now that I never went to school for game design. The majority of designers I work with didn't go to school for game design. Game design is a field where being self-taught still works just fine, especially if you engage with the game dev community. You can build a game or mod yourself, get it out in front of people, learn from it, iterate on it, and use that as experience to get yourself a job doing it. It is fully possible to learn game design without significant school debt (which will have a large effect on your life as well).

I could go on, but I think this should be enough food for thought to chew on for a bit. Take some time to consider your answer to these questions and about your life. Consider the tradeoffs from making these choices - what you are giving up to move forward with this, especially if you have to take on several thousands of dollars in school debt. If you have further questions, my inbox is always open. I wish you good fortune.

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