Any computer Science majors here?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by intervenient, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. intervenient macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    I'm really confused as to if I should try and do it. I'd really like a job in the future, and I've always loved computers, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to handle it. It's really the only technical major choice I have as I'm not naturally inclined to math (I can do it, and like it, I just don't have the innate ability), and you generally need a Masters to go forward with math.

    Can you get by in comp sci with just pure, unadulterated hard work?
  2. Rodimus Prime, Nov 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2010

    Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I am a CS major. After this semester I will have 21 hours of math. Depending on the programing 18-21 hours are going to be needed and at least 6 of those hours are going to be ass kickers known as Cal II and DefeQ. Wash out classes for CS are Cal II and physic. I know many of people who changed majors after those classes alone or they took it 2-3 times just to scrap a C.

    CS has some pretty nasty weed out course in it. It is very heavy math base as every CS program I have seen has an automatic math minor in it.
    I am working on getting a 2nd bacholors degree and right now I am trying to figure out if I can avoid taking Phys II over again as I have a trig based on for phys II. They are looking into it see if they can wave it for me because of my other courses I have taken but it will not work for you because I already have one degree in Engineering.

    Course that general are the ass kicker in CS are Cal II and physics I and II. All are very hard and very heavy math. Cal II most people will call the hardest math class you have to take and after that it all gets easier. For me my hardest math classes were Cal II and DefeQ.

    Now a degree I could recommend that does not require the math that you could look at is Computer Information Systems. You do not have go very far in math and science. Still a good degree and requires a lot of programing classes. I have a few friends who are in it. Some of them did it to avoid the math. You still will have some not so fun math classes but are not going to have to do the calculus.

    Oh forgot to add to help you out.

    Pay for a Computer Infomation System (CIS) vs Computer Science vs Computer Engineer (CompE). It is all about the same give or take and they all have some over lap with each other. Correct that a lot of over lap with each other.
  3. intervenient thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    My school doesn't offer a CIS program, only C.S. but the physics requirement isn't factored into the GPA, and the math classes are what I'd have to take for any math centric or engineering major. However, it's less math then my current major (Stats). I can likely get through that math, as I make up for my natural ability with hard work, but there's definitely a point in math where you can stop picking it up and working at it and you have to be a natural to move forward. Is there a similar effect in C.S.?
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Math wise I would say CS has course work in math that is beyond what hard work can do and you need some natural ability in math. I know about my limit in math. I honestly can not tell you how I got threw DefeQ. I do not understand any of it but I some how made a B.

    In programing in it there comes a point were you either get it or you don't. No amount of hard work is going to make up for that fact. There is a kid in one of my classes who I can tell you right now is not going to make it. Reason being is the things he is getting stuck on are not good things and he can not break down problems and think threw it like a computer. It comes down to your ability to break something down and learn to follow it.

    I will say i think in any major their comes a point were you just need natural ability to move forward in the respect major.

    Another degree to consider that is a lot like the CIS degree is a MIS (Management Information Systems) generally from the school of Business.
  5. intervenient thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    That's a bummer really. It stinks for the guys like me who went to a tiny high school with no AP or advanced classes. This is the first time I've had access to things like stats or C.S., so I'd have no way of knowing if I'm particularly good or not. I've been trying my hand at Python for a hobby, and it's actually kind of fun in an immersible sort of way. I know programming is only a sliver of what you actually learn though.

    Maybe I'm in over my head.
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    How bad are you at math?

    I just warn you now Cal II is the weed out class. If you can make it threw that I honest thing everything else is easier. DefeQ is hard work. Cal II sucks.
    I did not take AP classes in HS. I have a degree in Construction Engineering and now working on a CS degree.

    Right now I am in a do over phase of my education because i lost my job. I knew before I finished my first degree I wanted to go this way but I was to far invested to make the jump.
  7. intervenient thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    My exposure to math is very minimal, only offering Pre-Calc as the highest level. I made a 94% in the class I believe.

    That's another thing, I think I'd really want to do Comp Sci, but I'm afraid it might be too difficult. But then I fear that I'd major in something else and for the rest of my life regret not giving it a shot.
  8. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    then stop panicking. I would say go for it. You did just fine in Pre-Calc so try going to CS.
    Cal I is what I call basic math at this point after all the math I have done. It is not some big bad monster call Calculus. Cal is not that bad. Hell even Cal II is 90% algebra and 10% calculus.

    Also go talk to the career center at your school. It is safe to bet you are a Freshman right now in college.
  9. vastoholic macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    I'm also thinking of going back to school for a CS degree. I understand math, and can learn pretty easily how to think through a problem, I just don't always enjoy it. I too came from a tiny high school (graduated with 13) so I know how you feel, but I've been through 3 1/2 years of college and made it through calc I for a separate degree and then blew off my last semester before a deployment that included calc II. I failed not because I could understand it, but because I quite trying and stopped studying. So now I'm hoping to get back into seriously this time to finish a degree in something, and right now computer science is my interest.
  10. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    I do CS and about half the course boils down to maths. It's not however typical algebra type maths, it's stuff like discrete maths set theory and computational complexity.

    Don't take the course if you want to learn how to program, only a tiny fraction of my course is dedicated to that.
  11. dallas112678 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2008
    First off you should go for it, because any career worth while requires a lot of challenging math, thats why people make more in those majors. With that being said, the math you are going to encounter is harder than the math you would take in statistics.

    I'm an aerospace engineering major at a top 10 engineering school so i've had my fair share of math through Calculus, DifEQ (Not DefEQ like the other guys says, it comes from Differential Equations) even through vector calculus. With that being said, the highest i went to in highschool was pre-cal like you (mind you, i wasn't bad at math, i just followed the standard system.) In all of my classes there are a few people who i swear are dumber than bricks, but with that being said, if they can make it up to that point then there is no doubt in my mind that you can also (I'm not trying to call you dumb lol, i'm just saying that if some of the dumb people in my classes can make it then just about anyone can with the work.) Just go for it, if your really worried about a class, then try not to take more than 2 hard classes at a time (Ex. only 1 math and science class concurrently.) I once had to take chemistry, physics, and calc AND statics (physics on steroids) at the same time and i can honestly say that was hell, but i put in the work and came out with A's in all of them. Trust me, if you apply yourself then you will be fine, it may take more work than other people but you will get through it.
  12. bern1812 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Im a CS major. Our department isnt very math heavy apparently. We only require Calc I & II, Discrete Math and Stats. We also dont have to take physics, but they do recommend it. You have the option to take 2 semesters of physics, BMZ(a combination of botany, microbiology and zoology), or Chemistry. I chose to take the chemistry track because I was originally a chemistry major, and it was the science that I was best at.

    The actual CS classes do have math inbred into them, particularly discrete math, but I dont find those parts to be all that challenging.
  13. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    I have a CS degree, but it's about a decade old, and knowing how quickly things change - I'm not sure how relevant my knowledge is. That said, I think you should go for it. I never felt that CS was hard - just a lot of work. Yeah, you need some math - the typical calculus, discrete, maybe some diffeq, and so on, but nothing genuinely hard core.

    I think perseverance will be just fine. I found the degree to be a good deal of fun.
  14. KompleX macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2008
    Downey, CA
    i majored in statistics and you absolutely need a lot of math if you want to succeed in the field. you can't do much with a bs in statistics other than teach at the high school level or become an actuary. for the teaching position, here in california, you need to take the single subject teaching examination which requires you to know number theory, linear and abstract algebra. for the actuary route, you'll need to pass a series of examinations that are notoriously difficult (my pick :p). to actually work as a statistician, you'll need a masters, and the graduate courses usually require linear algebra or real analysis, especially measure theory.

    if you can't do the math, then switch out of statistics asap. my advice.
  15. intervenient thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010

    It's not that I can't do math, I can go through the motions and I understand it, but I think, at least for me, majoring in it is a risk. As you said, I'd need to go to graduate school, which is another 2-4 years to actually get a decent job. Not to mention, it seems at graduate school, you have to have that inner, innate ability to do math, and while I can do it, I wouldn't say that I'm naturally gifted at it.
  16. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    I think you'll probably be okay. There will be things you'll hate. Algorithms and complexity are going to give you fits, I would guess. You will have to study it in any respectable CS program, and without a deep facility with it you'll never really be one of the greats in the field, but I've known plenty of competent trench coders who never gave much of a thought to big-O notation.

    The job market is okay, but still not great, particularly for recent grads. You will definitely want to look for intern and co-op opportunities, with an eye towards impressing people such that they want to hire you after you graduate.

    Just about any degree is tractable through sufficient hard work, though.
  17. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    The reason the people at that leave seem so gifted at math is because they have done so much of it and have a huge range of tools to pull from to solve problems.

    For example geometry did not make any sense to me when I took it in HS. Hell even today still does not make any sense to me.
    I apply calculus and trigonometry to anything from geometry to get an understanding of it. But what they teach in HS I do not get. Now I understand the basic important to teaching it and at the level but does not mean I understand it. I take higher level classes and I understand it threw that.
    Another example is I was helping people in some algrebra solve for a were the graph changed direction. I applied calculus to find the solution in much quicker than they could figure it out. Now I know you can do it with algebra but I do not do it that way. I just impressed them that I did it in my head but it was an easy problem to find if you used calculus. I had to use their book to figure out how they are supposed to it.

    They seem really gifted but remember that their tool box at that point is huge. They can and will apply theories you do not know.
  18. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    To get anywhere in high tech, it's a lot of hard work. Pick your poison whether it's computer engineering, electronic engineering, CS, or yes, stats. I took one crazy stats class where we used models to come up with a flowchart for foot traffic. This sounds simple but it was ridiculously hard and only the first bit of info used for making a software program.

    Many people make any high tech project happen in the real world and as you will learn with any CS degree, it won't make you a great programmer or at least one somebody wants to hire. You may feel betrayed by what you learned in college and what is expected of you at work. To be a good programmer, it's something you have to do on your own with or without the CS degree and that will be hard work either way.

    That being said, your degree will not be wasted time whether its stats, CS, or CIS.

    Some of the best programmers I know found college a great thing by studying CS because it teaches you everything you should not do. If you keep that in mind, you will actually do well since most competent people learn from their mistakes.
  19. intervenient thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    Update 4.5 years later:

    I graduated with a CS degree last June.
  20. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    That's awesome! I'll be heading into foundation courses for maths and physics for next year(that's when I start my first year of uni) then I'll be going into the 3-4 year degree.
  21. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    That's cool to read this thread then find out the resolution years later. Were the math and physics courses as bad as you feared?
  22. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Followup thread of the year!

    I was reading through the comments, didn't even notice the dates until I saw this post.

    Most excellent, congrats. I was going to echo many of the sentiments expressed by other folks: lots of programming theory, combined with equal parts math, and some _killer_ math courses like DiffEQ.

    Outside of the formal education, how's it coming with more hands on, practical development skills?
  23. John Jacob macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

    Feb 11, 2003
    Columbia, MD
    Awesome, congratulations! :D
  24. intervenient thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    Nice. The best advice I can give is to keep at it, even when it's discouraging and frustrating. Things that don't seem easy or apparent, get easier with exposure.

    Math was, and pardon my honesty, extremely easy. I blasted through DiffEQs, Vector Calculus, and Discrete Mathematics with little pain. Once I finally understood how to tackle problems and how to learn the concepts properly, everything fell into place.

    Physics was pretty bad for me though. I got understood the calculus behind all the intro courses, but navigating through the word problems were never my strong suit. Chemistry was an alternative in the program, so I eventually did that instead of Physics.

    It's going alright. I started a job last September, but it uses a proprietary programming language and framework which I don't very much enjoy. I'm hoping to switch back to an iOS role (both of my internships were iOS), or move into a PM role.

    Thanks! :D
  25. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    What language/framework? Assuming you can disclose it.

Share This Page