You could consider getting the source code of open source games like 0ad and Xonotic to learn from them as well as to modify them. I would recommend modifying a game you enjoy before making your own because you could get faster results and therefore faster recognition for when you want to work in the "real world." I'm not a games programmer or someone with experience in the path you want to take but I am a strong open source supporter just listing a few advantages in case you want to take advantage of them. As you may already know, the only "disadvantage" is that the open source games tend to use OpenGL whereas Direct3D is used in most gaming industries. Exceptions are with Mac/Linux games but they currently hold a minority of the market though Valve's (a very good video game company) supporting of Mac/Linux might start to change that. Also, if it interests you, Android/iOS use OpenGL ES and you could make games for those.
Good luck with whatever you do!