How useful is a masters in computer science?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by fpar, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. fpar macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #1
    I live in the uk and am considering taking computer science at university but al my teacher recommend doing a straight science like chemistry or biology instead because of career prospects. I am still unsure what i want to do after university and an looking for some ore advice on if i should take computer science.

    Thanks
     
  2. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #2
    Do what you enjoy and are good at, I did physics for all the wrong reasons and dropped out to re-enter for compsci next year.
     
  3. fpar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    the reason i ask is that i am interested in comp sci but also enjoy chemistry, i would prefer computer science but not if the career prospects are worse.
     
  4. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #4
    Comp Sci has excellent career prospects. Especially seeing as (the UK at least) there is a shortage of Comp Sci graduates at the moment.
     
  5. fpar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thats what i read but at the same time i also found out the computer science grads had the highest unemployment levels at almost 10 percent.
     
  6. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #6
    Such statistics are skewed by the number of pikey kids who take it so they can "make playstation games" then fumble through the degree at a pikey university and scrape a pass. If you actually have a clue you'll walk straight into a job.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #7
    I'd agree with that. Make sure it's a real Computer Science degree, not a point-and-click with no theory course. If they are using Windows take a long, hard look and ask if they are tying you into a particular toolset rather than teaching you generic, reusable skills. A good course should teach the theory behind computing (maths heavy). It should teach general skills, not particular languages. Ideally it should teach problem solving, not block building...
     
  8. fpar thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #8
    Thanks for the advice, im pretty sure i will be applying to computer science.
     
  9. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #9
    Which Uni are you looking at? Some of the best courses I have seen are from the following:

    Sheffield (NOT HARLEM!)
    Imperial College London
    Bristol
    Oxbridge (obviously although they seem to be more maths based)
    Warwick
    Manchester
    Swansea (looks okay - seems to take people with little maths background)
     
  10. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #10
    I'm biased as I went there but I'd add Edinburgh (the University of, not either of the other two). Very solid course offering both theory and practical sides with some interesting side courses available. Also lots of joint degrees so as you can branch out a little. I did a joint degree in AI/CS...
     
  11. jv17 macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2008
    #11
    just choose the right course/masters that you like..
     
  12. darkwing macrumors 65816

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #12
    I have a masters in computer science here in the USA, and I hate it. The government won't send me welfare checks because I'm too successful or something. I didn't even get in on that stimulus we had last summer because I made "too much." How lame is that? I'm going back to flipping burgers.

    All jokes aside, I think it gives me a leg up on people with a BS degree. I worked as a software engineer while I went to school, and I find that most job listings want x to y years of experience with a BSCS or (x-2) to (y-2) years of experience with an MSCS. Since it only took me a year to go through the masters program (double time, while working!) I think it paid off.

    Ultimately, however, it depends on what you want to do as a career. Do you have your bachelors yet? It should be easy to double major in CS and chemistry if chemistry is what you love. That gives you time to think about which one you'd like to specialize in. Of course, you could always get two MS degrees. :)

    Why not just combine the two and work towards a career in bioinformatics? You'd need some biology, too, but then you can use your computer skills to help develop cures for things.
     
  13. fpar thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #13
    Im still looking at different comp sci courses. What do you think of a sandwich course? I am not sure is the extra year is worth it. At this stage i don't know what sort of career to go into, but i am sure i want to work in the it industry. I would much rather do comp sci to chemistry but was only thinking about chemistry as i heard that it had a much higher earning potential. Thanks
     
  14. da2005pizimp macrumors 6502

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    Gilbert, AZ
    #14
    agree 100%, there were/are too many kids who think that they can play xbox games all day and then get a degree and start making them. I had a ton of kids i went to school with who thought that.
     
  15. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #15
    Look for statistics. Not sure where you are hearing that. Chemical engineers can make a lot of money, but so do comp sci folks. :D
     
  16. nadyne macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Earning potential isn't just about what degree you get. It's about how good you are and how much you love your job.

    If you get a degree in something that you're not really interested in, you're probably not going to make as much. People who aren't really interested in what they do usually don't do as good of a job as people who are really interested in it. Going into something that doesn't really interest you is a great way to burn yourself out. Your happiness is more important than earning potential.

    You'll find your way as you go along. Pay attention to yourself -- what do you like to do? What are you really good at? What gets you excited? This will help you figure out what you should do next. Don't pay attention to the statistics, pay attention to what makes you happy.

    Personally, I've got a BS in maths, a BS in CS, and a MS in human-computer interaction. I've got a job that I completely adore. I get paid very well for doing it. I'm sure that there are professions out there that would pay me more, but I'm good at what I do and I think that I've got the coolest job in the world. :D That's what's important.
     
  17. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

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    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #17
    I did computer science at Manchester and really enjoyed it. I also applied to Edinburgh so I would second that as a good university too. Everyone I know from my course is either doing a masters or has a good job now, so I wouldn't let that worry you.

    One thing to remember, and this isn't apparent to a lot of people, is that computer science is not really about using computers. There is a lot of maths, physics and other sciences in there with a slant towards how they are used for making computers. You won't be learning to make a spreadsheet and probably less than half will be about programming.

    As for the masters, if you are worrying about career prospects I would suggest you try and get a years experience in a real job rather than an MSc. Whether this is from a sandwich course or from getting a job straight after uni is up to you. I went for the second approach (you get paid more!).
     
  18. foidulus macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 15, 2007
    #18
    I agree with some of the other posters on here

    do both. There are plenty of opportunities for chemistry folks who can do CS(and the other way around!)

    And even if you don't go into that field per se, having both majors will certainly turn some heads come recruiting time!

    However, not sure how common doubling up is in the UK....
     
  19. nakamuramori2 macrumors regular

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    Aug 14, 2008
    #19
    do major in bio and apply to dental school. computer science major is faded down.
     
  20. fpar thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #20
    As i mentioned i am not sure i want to study computer science, i have made a rough decision as to which universities i wish to apply to.
    UCL
    Sheffield
    Southampton
    Lancaster
    Glasgow

    Im hoping for some feedback on these unis, the guardian league table ranks them highly but I feel the community would know better.
     
  21. james221 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    #21
    Can I ask here about masters in computer science?

    I have an undergraduate degree in economics and am looking for a computer science masters 'conversion' course. How much knowledge is required to get onto these courses?

    Which courses would you recommend?
    Also can you recommend reading / prep to allow me to know what I’m letting myself in for!?

    Any advice suggestions really welcome.
     

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