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CS Major contemplating switching majors.

 
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Hello everyone,

I am 23 years old and currently in my 2nd semester of my 4th year of college. Regular college students are typically done after this semester, but unfortunately I still have 43 credits to go due to starting out at a local community college and dealing with pre-requisites.

I should be able to graduate by Summer 2013 even if I switch from CS to IT.

Here is my dilemma. I am considering switching from Computer Science to Information Technology. I have started becoming less and less interested in programming. I am pretty sure I do not want a career in programming. I would like to work in the I.T. field doing something like systems administration or networking administration or something like that. I just don't think I want to be a programmer.

The CS curriculum still has quite a few programming intensive courses for me (Data Structures, Operating Systems, and 24 credit hours of electives). I know the CS curriculum is difficult and its going to be even more difficult with my lack of interest in programming.

My main concern about switching from CS to Information Technology is job security. I hear that the CS degree is more lucrative and worthwhile than the IT degree and the former having more job prospects. My biggest fear is to switch to an IT degree, graduate, and face extreme difficulties finding a job and feeling regret.

I have been stressing about this CONSTANTLY even when I originally declared myself as a CS major. I started out at a community college because I was not completely sure what I wanted to major in. I decided on CS for my love of computers and technology, but I had no prior programming experience. It has been driving me crazy. I feel like I am living someone else's life and I have not been happy at all. I am starting to get tired of school (who wouldn't after 4 years!) and desperately want to work. Although, I still have quite a bit to go. I badly want to make a decision and just be happy, but I know this is a huge decision which could possibly be life altering which terrifies me.

I would greatly appreciate any advice you guys could give me in regards to changing from CS to IT.

Thank you so much for reading this and taking the time out of your day to do so.

-Adam

 
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Dont switch to IT. Its the transferrable *engineering* skills of comp/sci thats what people want, not the computer-specific bit.

 
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How difficult will it be to complete courses like Data Structures and Operating Systems coupled with the fact that I am losing interest in programming? I still have a lot of programming heavy courses in the curriculum left.

Is it worth STAYING in CS even if I do NOT want to be a programmer?

 
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Well a sizeable chunk of programmers here are non-computing i.e. engineers or physicicists/mathematicians

 
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As a CS major myself I had the same dilemma. They really grill you in school with project after project you start to lose interest when you're sleeping 2-3 hours a day if you're lucky. There is a huge market for CS majors as no one wants to do it, there are plenty of IT professionals with less job openings in my market (vancouver bc canada). My advice is to tough it out, even if you don't like it, it's a great backup.

Once I was done, the work field was much different from school. It's fun, you gain lots of interesting experience, and meet interesting people! My passion is not in programming or software development in itself but rather to create interesting apps that people all over the world can use! That's what I've transferred my skills into and I don't regret a moment of it.

I am a strong believer of do what makes you happy in life, as you'll be doing it everyday .. you don't want to be miserable! The work field and school will be 2 different experiences, my recommendation.. take a co op course if possible, see if its for you. If not then you may want to switch out.

Hope you the best in your en devours, and that you find happiness in your decisions.


Cheers! :)

 
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It's not whether you're interested in programming that's important, it's whether you're any good at it.

If you suck at programming, you should change your major. I don't see how IT could possibly be more interesting than programming.

 
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PlainOldChad,

First off, thank you very much for your input! You said your passion doesn't lie in programming/software development, but you create apps? Isn't that primarily programming/software development? What is your profession if you don't mind me asking? Did you enjoy your programming class? How difficult is it to get through classes like Data Structures and Operating Systems if you aren't that great at programming?


Rashakil Fol,

Thank you for your input as well. I don't think I am that great at programming. I struggled terribly with the concept of linked lists in my previous C class. I am currently in a C++ Object Oriented Programming class, but we have yet to touch on linked lists. I hear the course I am supposed to be taking in the summer (Data Structures) delves into this quite a bit among other data structures. I believe I will struggle in future programming classes (Data Structures and Operating Systems). It makes me wonder if I could even complete the CS degree at all.


All I know is I would like to work in the IT field. A job such as a Systems Administrator seems interesting to me. That is what I am trying to figure out (exactly what job I would like). I do not believe I want to be a programmer for a living. A CS advisor told me that pursuing a CS degree without wanting to become involved in software development isn't worth it. Some people say it is still worthwhile though like PlainOldChad.

This is a huge decision for me to make and I do not want to make the wrong one. I feel as if this decision could greatly impact my life and it terrifies me.

 
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hear the course I am supposed to be taking in the summer (Data Structures) delves into this quite a bit among other data structures

Virtually every data structure is in some way related to linked lists...

hashmaps, queues... etc..

basically every abstract data structure is some specialised form of a) list b) array or c) some combination thereof

 
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If I am already struggling with this now will I have a very difficult time with data structures?

My main concern is if I can even finish the CS curriculum. I hate to think that because I don't like to give up. I just dont enjoy the programming, but I want a degree that will get me a good job and be successful.

I also just found out I received a 65 in my Object Oriented Design programming class. That was a crushing blow because I thought I did better. I just hate being in this situation of not knowing what I should do. Most people are telling me to stick with CS, but I don't know if I can handle the future coursework with the grades I have been receiving on programming exams. I know a CS degree is more worthwhile and will open more doors which makes the idea of switching that much more difficult. Also the fact that I am not enjoying the programming classes much. I feel like I want the IT degree, but I don't know how difficult it would be to find a job wit the IT degree as opposed to CS. This is my biggest fear (switching to IT and then seeing that it was a bad move). I don't want to regret it down the road. The IT degree does have 4 more programming classes I need to take, but I would imagine they would be less rigorous than their CS counterparts.

 
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Just because you're struggling now doesn't mean you will be in the future. I know somebody who was a mediocre programmer for more than his first half of university and now he's the most productive developer I personally know.

It is not like you are some person who's just magically genetically incapable of getting better at programming. You should not simply decide to forget about CS.

Edit: However, it's not like you should be a masochist about life. Do what you want. If you enjoy IT you should go for that.

 
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I have another question.

How diverse would an I.T. degree be if I wanted to work for a business (may be related or unrelated to IT) and doing a task that doesn't have much to do with I.T. (Outside of a job like systems administration, networking etc)? Would a management information systems (business degree) be more diverse than a degree in IT?

I am interested in a diverse degree in case I change my mind down the road because I am still not 100% sure on what I would to do with my life.

 
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Sounds to me that you hate the course you're doing. I sometimes hate my job and would consider stacking shelves in a supermarket. The grass is always greener on the other side. But then, in moments of lucidity, I realise ho fortunate I am to have such a 'good' job, however stressful it may get at certain times of the year.

However, I think you are right to question what you're doing. If you can't see yourself following a course to its conclusion and then spending your professional career doing something you nigh on hate, well, I think the answer is obvious.

Making an active choice is not the same as 'dropping out', if that choice is based on a set of positive arguments. Not having been a CS student myself, I can't argue the merits of CS vs. IT, but as a general opinion (it may sound a little twee), I would encourage an individual to follow a career that they would LIKE to pursue. You're only here once. You may have been studying longer than necessary already.

Do you have a (good) careers officer on campus? If so, seek some professional advice. How about talking to your faculty administrators? With all the respect in the world, I don't think you'll find the answer to your unique position from a few random guys and gals on a geek forum. My 2p.

 
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I don't think a career center employee would have any idea what they're doing. To be more precise, every interaction with such a person that I've heard about in threads like this (based on maybe 3 or 4 examples) has revealed such people to be wrong and ignorant. The advice of people actually working in technical fields, regarding what you should do regarding your career in such fields, is apparently much better than that of general career center employees who say things without much personal knowledge of what they're talking about.

ardav's advice is probably much better.

 
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The main thing that worries me is job prospects. I am more interested in the IT degree for the sole fact that I do not believe I want to be a programmer. Dealing with the frustration and rigorousness of the CS degree will likely not be worth it if I do not go into software development.

Can I still get a good career with an IT degree or am I making a huge mistake by considering switching?

I appreciate all the input I have been getting.

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