Programming Degrees

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by smitty8202, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. smitty8202 macrumors member

    smitty8202

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Location:
    Okinawa, Japan
    #1
    I have always been interested in computer programming although i have never done any and am in the process of learning by reading books on mac development and would like to know if anyone on here has a degree in any field in computer science or the like and what kind of classes did you take in college. I will be starting classes next month for my computer science degree.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Why don't you go to your institution's website and look at their course catalog? It seems like that would be a fairly good indicator of what kind of classes you'll be taking.
     
  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #3
    Definitely most of your time will be spent in those core courses you have to take to satisfy your major.

    However, IMHO a well-rounded college education is all about your electives and whether you choose to use them to satisfy one or more minors. What are your interests besides programming that set you apart from others.

    B
     
  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #4
    I do not have a degree in Computer Science just yet but I will have one by either the end of 2011, or mid-2012. All my core courses are complete.

    A summary of what I took, CS-wise:
    Introduction to Programming (Java)
    Programming Concepts (Java)
    Objects and Classes (Java)
    Comparative Programming Languages (covered Python and Prolog in depth, only cursory coverage of other languages)
    Internet Programming (HTML, CSS, ASP.NET)
    Computer Graphics (Java, taking currently)
    ... and I'm sure I've forgotten some.
     
  5. lee1210, Feb 14, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011

    lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #5
    I have a BA in Computer Science. The CS program at the school I went to started out with two branches, a more practical branch covering data structures and algorithms, then a more theoretical branch covering logic, computability, complexity analysis, proofs, etc. After a few semesters there were a couple of courses to bridge these. At the upper levels we took courses in operating systems (required), compilers (optional), and automata theory (required). While I couldn't technically minor, I concentrated my electives in German, focused on business usage at the higher levels. I got a certificate of proficiency in business German my last semester as my degree was not going to reflect the coursework I did in German.

    Outside of those areas there was a decent size math component (a lot of CS majors doubled math as it was in the same college, so non-major requirements were the same and CS already required a lot of math courses). I took astronomy courses for my science requirements because I was busy and that was the only acceptable science subject without a required lab. Probably not the best reason, but I also found it interesting. For my history classes I tried to focus on cultural history (slavery and race relations in America, Jewish life in gentile America) because straight up events, people, and dates bored me to no end. One of my most interesting classes was cross-listed between CS and Philosophy, and was essentially a computer ethics class. We had books we read and were tested on, but in class we only touched briefly on the readings, but used them more as a jumping off point for discussions and debate.

    I would warn that you shouldn't hope to learn to program (certainly not well) in a CS program. CS is not about computer programming. You will write some code, but no one is going to teach you how, and it will be in service of demonstrating concepts. You will have to teach yourself to program and you will likely be bad at it when you get your degree. You'll likely learn over the first few jobs you have after (or maybe during) school.

    I'd talk to advisors, professors and upper-classmen/women about the classes you will be taking. Ask them if there are some optional or elective classes that have a bigger practical component if that's your interest. There may be classes like graphics programming or software engineering that will give you a better grounding in programming that may be lacking in core classes.

    Good luck! Enjoy and appreciate this opportunity to learn and be around others committed to learning and teaching. You may never get this kind of opportunity again.

    -Lee
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
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    New England
    #6
    This is basically what I was referring to in my post. Figuring out what other things interest you and getting into them in some depth in your electives. The core curriculum will take care of itself.

    Writing code is much easier if you actually know something about the application area you are coding for. Want to write business software, take some business classes. Want to work in graphics, take some art classes. Want to produce games, take some basic physics. Engineering software, take some engineering, ...

    B
     
  7. ehoui macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    #7
    As Lee mentions, it's common for schools to present different "concentrations" within a given discipline, e.g., CS. Also, some schools have different programs which blend various disciplines across departments. For example, I started in Computer Science, but I was not interested in the EE and some of the other "pure engineering courses". Fortunately, I was able to take a program which had core classes in CS, Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics. I was able to take my program electives in the CS department to beef up my CS classes further (esp. in AI and Compilers). Also, if your school focuses more on "theoretical cs" (i.e., proofs and what not), then you may want to take a project course here and there to keep things fun. A lot of my CS coursework (maybe even most) was in writing proofs...
     
  8. mydogisbox macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    #8
    Electives

    Take a C or C++ elective if your core courses are done in a language like Java or C#. It will make everything else make more sense.

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CollegeAdvice.html
     
  9. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    I was just awarded my BS in Computer Science. Beyond the core courses, I found the electives I took on AI to be very exciting. I am particularly interested in the ideas of machine learning, adaptive systems, and emergence, and would definitely recommend taking an elective in that area should you have the opportunity. When I go back to get a masters degree, I will certainly be concentrating on that field.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    Computer programming will be a required course, maybe more then one of them. But Computer Science is not programming. Hopefully you will learn things about computing that will remain valid for centuries. Also there is typically some math involved. The normal stuff like Calulus but in addition math classes like discrete match, theory of computation and so ion. You should hav already read the catalog and degree requirements.

    One thing many students forget is that they can talk to oe email instructors BEFORE they sign up for the class.
     
  11. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    It doesn't make sense to go to college for "computer programming". Now days that is just part of the package for just about any degree. Might as well get a degree in a field of interest and take programming classes for electives.

    FWIW, my son got a BS in Computer Science degree (with a Business minor) in the late 90's and doesn't write any programs. I graduated an eternity ago with an MS in Electrical Engineering with lots of CS courses, and probably have spent 50% of my time after graduation writing programs or doing other software related pursuits. Now days it would be called a Computer Engineering degree, and it's probably as close to the nuts and bolts of computers as you can get.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    Just like fusion power, this is the technology we will all depend on in 25 to 50 years. It will be the revolution that follows the Industrial Revolution. But they have been predicting this for the last 25 or 50 years. (and YES AI is a 50+ year old field.) I think "Hal" from the movie 2001 was what people living in 1968 expected to have by 2001. They thought at the time they could get there by straightforward enginerring. Didn't know a fundamental breakthrough would be required.

    It's a hard problem even humans had trouble. For a million years we didn't change much then in the last 12,000 we go from a technology based on sharp rocks tied to sticks to computers. Something "clicked" to make that happen so fast. If you study Ai today you might finally be the generation to find out WHAT clicked and be able to replicate it in the lab. Until we have that answer it will always be 25 to 50 years away.

    I started to seriously study AI in the late 1970's. It's a great field, a convergence of computer science, conative psychology, anthropology and even biology.
     
  13. smitty8202 thread starter macrumors member

    smitty8202

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Location:
    Okinawa, Japan
    #13
    Thank you for all the info and input it really helps.
     

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