Developing for Mac in College

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by machead1210, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. machead1210 macrumors newbie


    Feb 15, 2010
    Pittsburgh area
    First, thank you for providing your knowledge to this forum to assist others.

    I am currently looking at going back to school for a computer/technology-related field. Some of my interests are software design and development and implementing efficient systems for businesses.

    I have been a Mac user for a few years and am completely enthralled with the UI and amazing capabilities. I think that Mac is a fairly untapped resource on the whole. I assume many of you, like me, could see benefits from Apple extending their reach into more businesses. That being said, this leads me to my question(s):

    1. Very simple but would a degree in IST rather than CS allow me to fulfill one or both my goals? I am learning C right now on my own using XCode and "Learn C on the Mac" and am doing wonderfully. A lot of programming/development seems to be self directed.

    2. Most courses are Windows based. Requirements usually include MS Office, .NET, etc. I understand that being well versed in Windows based development will provide me a greater myriad of job opportunities and will make be a better developer. Can I run most of the programs (.NET) with Windows installed on my MacBook Pro?

    3. I will be learning more programming languages on my own such as Objective-C and Cocoa. Classes in college will be Java and Unix/Linux and SQL. So how does becoming a proficient Mac program/app developer differ from that of a Windows developer?

    I apologize if I worded something here poorly. Please feel free to ask for clarification. Thank you very much for all of your assistance in this matter and I look forward to being able to contribute to the site.

  2. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    1. IST? Information Systems? What does that stand for? Computer Science will be more maths based and is (as the name implies) a science degree. It won't spend time worrying about business systems (or shouldn't) but will concentrate on algorithms, language design and other fundamental elements of computing.

    2. If you have Windows installed you will be able to run everything.

    3. It doesn't. All those technologies you mentioned are available on Mac OS X. SQL has numerous options on the Mac (PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, SQLite, DB2 etc etc). Java is obviously available with the same popular IDEs (Eclipse, Netbeans, IDEA, BlueJ).
  3. asciimov macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    First, I am not quite sure what IST is, but Penn State has this IST degree, I am guessing that is what your talking about.

    Short answers.
    1. See Below.
    2. Yes. (look into virtual machines, boot camp, emulators)
    3. The only thing that differs is your potential employer/customer base.

    1. I am hesitant to make any recommendation on this, because this is a job of a career councilor, and most colleges have these people that are free to talk to regarding this issue. However, you might look at Software Engineering or Business Computer Information Systems (different colleges call this different things, but these classes are usually found in a universities college of business).

    You sound like you want to be a programmer, and there are many degrees that utilize programming (note i didn't say teach). Programming is just a tool, and different fields use that tool to do different things. So you need to find a field that fits your needs best. If you want to be a manager you might want to know more about software development patterns and designs (that is more of a software engineering thing) but if you want to run a company or eventually be upper-level management at a company business related programming might suit you better.

    1. visit with a college or university, they have good information.
    2. Don't be afraid to pick one, changing a degree plan is pretty easy early on if you find it doesn't meet your needs.
    3. Most Important, network with people. Take as many internships as you can and get "real world" experiences. All too often it is who you know, not what you know, that gets you that first job.
  4. machead1210 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 15, 2010
    Pittsburgh area
    IST is available under different nomenclature at many colleges and universities. It really is best described as Computer Information Systems. The purpose of the programs, and in particular the one I am looking at associated with my state university (cheaper believe me) would have a significant amount of programming including C, C++, Java, OOP, VB, and .NET. There are a few options for COBOL, FORTRAN, and Python as well as a class or two in Linux/Unix. However the remaining classes are in DB management, System Analysis, and Networking including CISCO. Throw in a few business classes like Finance, Accounting, and such. This would give me a broader range so to speak when it comes time to secure a job. I really don't think this is a bad thing. Pus, I will have the basic programming languages on which to build more skills upon.

    Let me say that I am 24 with around 100 cr under my belt. I've been working as a Paramedic for the past few years while figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. After spending the past five or so years learning more and more about technology I have decided that I would like to work in the IT field and more specifically would like to take an active role in the utilization of Macs. Designing apps and software so far has been my goal. I think that this plan will allow me to work towards my goal. After all, that is what Steve said to do.

    Thanks again for your input and help. Truly appreciated.

  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    If you are going to Penn State go with a CS degree NOT the IST degree. The IST has almost no programming. I have a few friends who graduated with IST and are now going back for CS degrees because IST doesn't exactly have a lot of marketable experience associated with it. The stuff they found employers were looking for was all related to the CS degrees.

    Your milage may vary but I have 4 friends going back to school as we speak.
  6. machead1210 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 15, 2010
    Pittsburgh area
    Okay so let me take this one step farther.

    My LOCAL state school (~30 mins away) offers an AS in CS. Can live at my current location and commute.

    The NOT SO LOCAL state school (~2 hrs away) offers BS in CS with 4 different tracks including software engineering. But I would have to move to the area to goto school there.

    So do I go with local and go back later or just kill the damn thing and go go get my BS.

    Thanks again.
  7. bkronline macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    I'm very curious which direction you've decided to take as I'm pretty much in the same boat, other than age hehe.

    In my case, I'd need to take all of my classes online for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


    Thanks so much for your time!

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