Taking computer science

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by gameguy3001, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. gameguy3001 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Saskatoon, SK
    This is more of a advise question than anything. I'm planning on going to university and taking computer science and I dont know what to expect. The thing is that i've been a mac user my whole life and the university, i think uses PCs. Am I going to have to use a PC/bootcamp or would i be able to use a Mac fine. I know it depends a lot on the school, but I would like to know based on other peoples experiences with university/post secondary schools
  2. LtRammstein macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2006
    Denver, CO
    If the university offers free Visual Studios .NET, I'd install Bootcamp/XP, but being a Computer Engineering major, I find that Xcode does the trick just fine with homework and projects. When you get further in the major and start doing assembly coding, it wouldn't be a bad idea to install Bootcamp/XP.

    That's what I have found at least.

  3. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    Heh, when I went to school, the school preferred the mainframe and I wanted to use Turbo-C++ on my PC.

    I my case, it was on a professor by professor basis. More than half of the professors really didn't care. For the rest, I still used my PC but then I'd port the app to whatever the professor wanted. It wasn't too hard to make sure I was doing it in a way that would port easily (that was usful for my education by itself--before that I didn't have a good sense of which APIs were specific to which environments.)

    I did make sure never to inconvienece a professor--you really don't want to make them run around from computer to computer to get your app to compile or run. In fact, they usually won't, and your grade will suffer.

    I'd guess that you will end up needing to do at least some of your projects in a Windows environment, so you should probably get bootcamp and/or parallels.
  4. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    I'm currently studying Computer Science in my first year, and my mac is fine. Most of the modules are using cross-platform software (apart from databases) so it's handling everything just fine. :)
  5. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    Any "good" school will teach to the standards (ISO C++, Java, etc.) but provide support for the majority. Your IT staff may support OS X, though, so you never know.

    My school (UAH) is purely Windows-based (excl. the Mac labs in the art building), but my PowerBook gets along nicely and I do all of my software work in Xcode and Eclipse.

    I have a PC, so I boot it up to test in the "official" IDEs (esp. Visual Studio), but I still do 99% of my dev and debug work in OS X.

  6. mags631 Guest

    Mar 6, 2007
    You have a good shot at only needing the Mac... but there are schools/classes that may teach and use proprietary (e.g., MS) or uncommon languages for specific architectures.

    In any case, I wouldn't worry -- you'll be able to pick up the necessary software cheap through generous Academic pricing. And for the odd class that uses truly bizarre architectures / tools, they usually provide labs with necessary hardware and software to do your lab work without having to install or buy anything...
  7. SupadudeX macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2006
    My school does most of our programming assigments in some form of UNIX based OS. You will be fine with a Mac. But if you are going into computer science you might as well get use to working with and programming for windows and most likely Linux as well. The more platforms you know, the better you can sell yourself. Right now I use a Macbook Pro running Parallels when I need windows or Linux and it works good.
  8. toddburch macrumors 6502a

    Dec 4, 2006
    Katy, Texas
    You are actually in a win-win situation. First, if you can get by with your Mac, you are good to go, end of discussion.

    Second, if you have to actually go out and purchase another computer to do PC stuff, then that's the least expensive route possible. If you had to buy a Mac... that would be just a little more expensive. ;)

  9. colocolo macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2002
    Santiago, Chile
    I went through all six years of university with just Macs. I did struggle with Scheme and Oracle, but for most of the developmente classes, it was just a breeze (including programming for a Gameboy).
    I did have to use Telnet a lot to compile some stuff (back in the OS 8-8.5 days), specially to compile using gcc when building an OS (Nachos, was it called? Never heard of it again). That is not an issue today.

    Bear in mind that half your classes of computer science won't require any programming, so it's even less important what computer you use.

  10. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    What school are you going to?

    It is my personal opinion that any good foundation computer science curriculum will be based on abstract principles and not particular technologies.

    In practice, of course, the school will need to require certain technologies be used in order for students to demonstrate understanding of concepts. At my school, these were usually cross-platform tech like ANSI C, Java, or ML.

    At my school, most assignments were graded (i.e. executed) on a Unix cluster, so it was safest to develop (or at least test) your submission on the same server before turning it in.

    Owning a Mac will be an advantage in many classes because you already have Unix on your computer, but there will be some classes that are Windows only. It's up to you whether you want to spend hours in the lab to do your homework or buy Windows for your Mac to do the homework. Personally I always did the former, but I was poor and cheap and spent my discretionary income on beer and wings.
  11. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    I'm in my first year of CS and they've only taught me C++ (which I already know) and algorithms, and that's basically it. I wish they'd let me use Objective-C for my programming assignments, its so much easier.


    #import <Foundation/Foundation.h>

    int main()
    NSString *string = [[NSString allocinitWithString:@"Objective-C"];
    NSLog(@"Objective-C is awesome!");
    string release];
  12. gameguy3001 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Saskatoon, SK
    I am planing on going to the University of Saskatchewan. From what i've seen of the school, there are mac, linux, and windows computers there.

    Thanks for all the advice. I seems that a Mac wouldn't be a problem, but having bootcamp would be a good idea :)
  13. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816


    Sep 8, 2005
    London , UK
    Im in the 2nd Year of my computer science degree.

    Like others have said most if not all of your programming you can do on your mac, but they do tend to use Microsoft applications for databases (Microsoft Access) which obviously is a pain.

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