Computer Science

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Squilly, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
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    PA
    #1
    Who here is in some form of computer science? I'm a freshman in college and compsci is one of the options I'm thinking of. I just don't want to regret my final decisions so looking for some first-hand feedback. For those of you in the field, plain and simple - do you enjoy what you do? It's between compsci and business for me.
     
  2. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
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    #2
    You're a freshman; surely you don't need to declare already?

    Take a course or two, what's the harm? It will be useful and may even satisfy some degree requirements.
     
  3. macrumors 65832

    wywern209

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    do you rly want to know?
    #3
    Im doing comp eng right now. it's similar. it isnt bad but dont expect it to be a walk in the park. Expect to spend significant amounts of time on weekly programs as you get into some of the more tough classes.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
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    #4
    Not yet I don't but I'm dually thinking about it. I haven't taken any Compsci classes in high school either - pretty much clueless. Bad?
     
  5. macrumors 601

    fireshot91

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #5
    I'm a freshman in CS, however, I've taken two Java classes already.


    It's not going to be easy, that's for sure. Especially your junior/senior years.

    But, look into it - see how you like it. Maybe go for a CS minor?
     
  6. Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
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    #6
    I've been employed in the field at the same company (over 40,000 employees across the major continents) for 13 years now doing software development and recently started on my Comp Sci degree (backwards I know, but I had been programming for fun for many years prior). I'm about halfway through and am learning things at least which is great! Fortunately I've been doing Java development for most of those 13 years so actually coding is easy for me at this point and I can focus on learning the science.

    It sounds like you've not coded before. Why is that? Why do you want to get into comp sci? Be honest so we can make an honest assessment.

    You'll likely want to be a self-learner. Comp sci is continuously evolving and not being able to adapt to that will hold you back. I have colleagues that are of the mindset, "I know what I know and that's what I know". You can get away with that but eventually your technology will get replaced with new technology. If you can't adjust you'll be stuck updating the old system until a new system is built and then politely shown the door. Work likely won't train you for what you need so you'll need to learn that on your own time. It likely won't be as difficult as pulling a full degree off of course, it'll just be applying old techniques to a new language or feature set. But you'll have to do some digging for sure.

    Math is obviously important. So far I think discrete math and combinatorics has been the most helpful for me.

    A lot of comp sci I think is knowing what is available and being able how to use the tools quickly along with being able to ensure your research is up to date. I certainly don't know everything about computers and never will, but I try to keep up to date with what's going on so in the future when a problem is presented to me, I can think "Hey there was that thing I read about briefly a bit back, I wonder if that would help here?"

    There are some really good opportunities in comp sci and some really poor ones, I imagine just like any other field. You can potentially travel quite a bit if you go the contractor route. That's not for me but some really enjoy that. Most larger companies these days need comp sci people for something so you have potentially good opportunities to try for a company that interests you.

    If you have specific questions, feel free to ask.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
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    PA
    #7
    I was thinking a minor in business + major in CS or vice versa. How do you like it?

    ----------

    Thanks for the response. Honestly, it came from selling something on Craigslist to an App Developer for iOS Android and C++ & C#. I was curious ever since (6 months or so) but don't know much of anything except for HTML. He went the contractor route, as you said.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    fireshot91

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northern VA
    #8



    I actually really like it. Business + CS is a great combination to have, so I've been told. I'm planning a minor in Math, Economics, with a major in CS - so, I have my plate full :p.

    CS has been the only thing I've been wanting to do since sophomore year in HS (And before that, I knew it was something with computers). So, now that I've finally taken a few CS classes and am starting to get into the in-major classes at college, I'm starting to like it more and more. But, with that, comes an increase in the level of difficulty in the courses. Keep that in mind, these classes won't be easy.
     
  9. macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #9
    I'm a EE, but most of my friends are CS.

    Looks very neat, and the expense for projects isn't there like there is for EE tinkering. All you need is a PC and IDE, lower cost to entry. Eval boards, simulators, etc. I'm pretty much restrained to tinkering as boss directs.

    Competitive market, Very competitive. Lot of jobs being pushed to India, Phillipines, etc.

    Some entrepreneurial skills could be vital.
     
  10. macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #10
    I'm a code monkey software developer for a living but I wasn't comp sci. I went the Management and Information Sciences route. I knew how to write code before going into college though and had internships to prove out my skills before getting hired. Some of the people who graduated with me with an MIS degree couldn't write a Hello World program if their life depended on it.

    I started out as Comp Sci, but the math was really kicking my ass, so I switched. Now I do Comp Sci stuff anyways, and I think the most complicated math I do in my code is i++ :p
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
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    #11
    That's something that really REALLY scares me... Outsourcing.

    ----------

    That's what I'm thinking too. I despise math, just got out of Math (literally), have two math classes this semester - it's gonna kill me.
     
  12. Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #12
    You can for sure get by pretty well without advanced math. I did for quite a while. When I started taking discrete math and combinatorics I thought "Man I'll never use this..." but holy crap... after having coded for so many years and then seeing the new possibilities with this... it was nuts. Do I use them every day? Heck no. Probably a few times a year... but when I do it's so very very nice.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 68020

    Squilly

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    #13
    Compsci goes all the way up to Calc III. I'm not prepared for that :/
     
  14. Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #14
    Calc I and II will prepare you for Calc III. :)
     
  15. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

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    #15
    You've got a rough road ahead of you then...
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    NJ USA
    #16
    Does your college offer Information Systems as a major? If you are interested in business, an IS or MIS degree may be a better fit for you. You will learn some coding, systems analysis and design, database design and requirements gathering. Then you will also take courses on management, marketing, accounting, etc.

    Back when I was in University in the early 90's MIS was offered in the business school while Comp Sci was in the College of Science.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
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    #17
    Yeah, just checked - it does. IS is Information Systems (guessing?) but what's MIS?

    ----------

    Taking Algebra II & Trigonometry this semester. Haven't even started Calc yet.
     
  18. Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #18
  19. macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
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    St. Louis, MO
    #19
    I think Information Systems, Information Sciences, Management and Information Systems, Information Sciences and Technology (what my major was called) are all pretty much interchangeable.
     
  20. macrumors G5

    jav6454

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #20
    Are you good at math? Can you think abstractly very easily?
     
  21. macrumors 601

    fireshot91

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #21
    You're a freshman taking Alg2? Got a long road ahead of you...

    There's...Precalc, Calc1, Calc2, Calc3, Matrix Algebra, Discrete Math, Comb., Stat.

    I'm pretty sure I'm missing a few there also...
     
  22. macrumors G5

    jav6454

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    #22
    Not to mention the minor EE courses...
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #23
    I have my bachelors in in Computer Science and Engineering.

    My degree involved more EE classes than just a Computer Science programming degree would. With that being said, I spend almost none of my work time messing with/using the Engineering part of my degree.

    I was hired into the company i currently work for about a month after I start my internship with them. I was basically working full time for them while finishing my last quarter and a half of classes... they even paid for one of my classes my last quarter.


    There are usually a lot of math classes in and computer science/computer engineering degree. When i first started in I start at basically eh Calc II/III level and went up from there. I loved the quarters that I did not have to take a math classes, though I like math.

    If you really want to try the programming thing I suggest you start looking into it on your own time. Get a "Java for Dummies" type book and start doing the examples they have in there. If you like doing the examples and end up on other tangents because of it you will likely be OK in the programming field.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Location:
    PA
    #24
    I'm decent at Algebra, not so decent at geometry.

    ----------

    I'm at Penn State. The "Flow Chart" of CS is something like:
    Algebra I (21)
    Algebra II (22)
    Trigonometry (26)
    Calculus I (140)
    Calculus II (141)
    Calculus III (210, I think).
    Might have missed one...

    ----------

    Do you like CS?
     
  25. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #25
    yeah I would not be surprised if you missed one. I have a degree in CS and yes work in the field.
    In terms of math almost all CS degrees programs I have seen is they require 15 hours of math min starting from Cal I. That is not counting the classes that are CS only math classes but that is just from the math department. I have something like 21 hours of math under my belt and the only one I have taken that was not required for my CS degree was Cal III.

    Far to many people think CS is all about programming. Sorry to tell you but relatively little of the stuff is in programming. It is more theory and design standards. In school I did Java and C#. In near 1 year in the field I have not touch either of those languages. I have learn 2 others that I had no experience with and program in those.
    Now the design standards I learned in school yeah those carry over but it not the programming that I pull on for that.

    In the real world in software development you need to always be willing to learn what is new. As it stands I have 5 languages under my belt and can program in all of them and each time I learn a new one it gets easier as I have the others to pull from for little tricks and what terms to search for in the documentation. I learn the documentation quicker and how to read them better.

    Now for a CS degree expect a LOT of math. Chances are you will earn an automatic minor. Only reason I lack one is because I did not have enough hours at either school to earn one but I have 21 hour of higher level math and that is not counting the 9 hours of leveling work I had to do just to get to Cal I.
     

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