Well ... back to studying! Darn I hate this stuff .......... someone please remind me why I'm a computer science major again.

I really think the main point of this post is to procrastinate learning the difference between the nitrite and nitrate ions.

15 Years
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Last Post by carlino

Yeah, why DID YOU become a CSC major? My reason is I got tricked. In high school they make you think that because you know how to use Windows, can write a few scripts, know some networking and can take apart/put together a computer, that you should go ahead with computer science.


Ask computer science majors how often they do that in class. You'll get a nice laugh. Also, I don't know about your computer science classes (whom ever is in High School currently), in my high school they brainwash you into thinking computer science is all programming. My 3 years of computer science in high school all consisted of QBASIC, Pascal, Visual Basic, and C++. All we did was cover programming and algorithms. In college you'll realize that there's more than programming in computer science. THAT's what I didn't know back in high school. Stuff like Networks, Encryption, Databases, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Programming, Web Development, Servers, computer architecture, operating systems (theory behind it), compiler construction, computer mathematics, robotics, the list goes on. Of course the hardcore techies will have a better idea of what to expect, but others will not. Also very little is stressed into "real world" programming in the business world (what tools they use, methods). It really is a shame.


Me and Dan have had this convo many many many times. I've also had it with many other CSC majors. Here's my stand on the matter ...

I love programming. And I really can see myself getting a job being in front of a computer 24/7. The problem with CSC is that it is taught entirely from a math standpoint. There's very lil actual coding involved. And I really do absolutely despise most of my CSC courses *sigh* The problem is that I really do want to be a programmer. And - please correct me if I'm mistaken - but the only way to get a really good programming job is with a CSC degree ... regardless of whether you actually apply anything you learned in CSC to your job.

Basically ... I want to be a programmer. And if I have to go through a whole bunch of courses which have nothing to do with programming just so the workforce can consider me a "programmer" ... oh well. :?

Dan ... comments??


Cant post from a been-there-done-that perspective, but it seems to me that prog'g is mostly about logic and math is all about logic... Anybody can learn a programing lanuage or four, but making it do what needs to be done efficiently is another matter. fft


A CSC degree is worth a lot. From what I've read, it's not so much as what you learned from it (well, it does matter in a way) but what matters is that you had the intelligence, persistence and determination to actually complete it. It's a task that is sometimes daunting. A CSC degree is something you HAVE to actually be in for a few years to actually get it... not like a certification where you can pick up a book and take the exam within one week if you really cram.

I can understand why CSC courses are so mathematically involved. "Computer Science" is a "science" (hence the name) and one of the best ways to prove experiments, theories, etc. is through the use of mathematics. I don't have a problem with that. In college, they teach you other material besides programming because they want to prepare you for ANY computer related position... not in using computers/software, but creating computers and software. I don't have a problem with this either.

What I DO have a problem with are the methods for teaching the material. What, just because you're learning something technical, does it have to boring? Not interesting? I highly doubt it. I think it comes down to just keeping a pathetic level of prestige... most college think that because other colleges teach it in a dry-boring fashion, they have to teach it that way too (hence relying on overpriced hardcover academic books). At least at the university that I go to it's like that.

Computer science does not cover "real world" topics because "real world" topics, that is IT stuff, changes so rapidly. Computer science principles, on the other hand, will always remain the same, and will always give you a good base. However, I think a better idea would be to extend the principles involved in computer science onto "real world" topics. This will give students more motivation to learn. They could apply computer science principles to whatever topic in computers they're interested in and give them a more tangible understanding of the basics principles. Half of the time when I'm learning complex theories... I take them in, spit it back on the exam, and that's it.... never grasping as to why? Why do it? Most of the time, professors don't give a thorough enough explanation (if they even explain it) and I end up more frustrated than anything else.

At my university, we use Unix systems. All programming is done under the console (vi as an editor) and compiled as well. This is good if I want to be a Unix/Linux programmer... what about Windows? Wasn't computer science about JUST principles? When was it enclined to Unix or Linux? A hash table, linked list, trees, or any ADT; the principle behind it will be the same no matter what system you use. There is more software out there for Windows... so the logical decision is to NOT use it? I thought computer science involved logic?

I have spoken with a lot of my CSC professors in the department and they all say "Unix" is better. That makes no sense. Better in which way? Economically? Theoretically? If you're there to learn the theory behind computers, does it matter what OS you use? Wasn't computer science about principles?

Sorry if it may seem like I'm pissed off. (In a way I am.) I have no passion for computer science... it has been ruined by the way it's been taught. This only refers to my university. Yours may be different. When I graduate the reason why I believe I'm going to be successful is because I'm keeping up with the current IT world by myself (learning new programming languages, technologies, servers, things that will never be covered in CSC). I suggest you do too. I'm not saying CSC should do what a trade school does, but at least try to make it more involved with the times while still concentrating on the principles. Professors might assign more work, but at least I'll be doing something more enjoyable and understand WHY things are done.

I'll also ACTUALLY get my money's worth for going there.


ahhh, the wise young man, eh inscissor?! watch out, ur making sense well beyond ur years! ;)

i agree whole-heartedly on the importance of attaining a degree, and for comp pro's, a mathematics or CompSci degree in particular; again for the then proven ability to take on arduous and difficult tasks and seeing them through to completion, which is obviously a desirable quality in a potential employee, but it also indicates that a given candidate will have an established framework, or paradigm if you will, in place with which to communicate and interact with colleagues in an expedient, proficient and efficient manner.

with academic matters sometimes things arent quite as black & white as they may appear to be. academe is rife with fads and philosophies de jour, just as in any other society - and, yes, those whom dwell within the realm of academia are, at times, seemingly from an alternative society (my Aunt - two PHd's by age 22 - included) :!: depending upon the institution, the way the curriculum is presented my be entirely dictated by departmental guidelines and/or a strict adherence to the appropriate syllabus, or there may be significant leeway for the personality (or lack thereof) of the professor to shine through. understandably that would differ from institution to institution, and epoch to epoch.

ur absolutely right about the rapidity of technological turnover and also hit it on the head that the basic premises of sound CompSci practices remain essentially unchanged through each tecnological cycle. not much one is going to do about that but, i do believe that more "real world" topics could be incorporated into most curricula, even if it is on an elective basis. i found it quite interesting that my old "alma mater" (ok, so alma mater is quoted - they kinda like for you to actually go to class and take tests before they bestow a degree - who'd a thunk it?!), Purdue U has CompSci/Info Tech degrees - steeped in the traditions and paradigms of these established majors - which are granted by the School of Science, while degrees in Database Management and Software Development, amongst others - are steeped in current if not avante garde, technologies paradigms - are granted by the School of Technology - perceptually an inferior degree? one does what one must, to be sure.

Unix based computing is the origination of nearly all academic computing and communications, so this perceptual bias comes as no surprise to me - even tho most people use some type of graphical interface to interact with the web portion of the internet, its origination, and most of it's current back-bone is still unix based - seeing how thats internet history 101 i'll leave it there. unix based OS'es are inherently more stable and more scalable than windows based OS'es, and as such are less expensive to implement, maintain and expand. the plain & simple truth is that with all of the riches that the LUXURY (see: Ethiopia, etc) an education affords us, those who run our institutions of higher learning are notoriously "frugal" :!:

ah, but for all ur wisdom u are still a bit of the angry-young-man, arent u?! :D i'd be very much interested in hearing from you in ten years or so to see if the perception of ur schools preparatory inadequacies still hold true!! :P


The degree is a means to an end. In a technical field a computer science degree means you have the basic knowledge to understand what your company is currently doing.

The degree means you have basic skills which can be expanded upon by years of training and experience. Ask 10 programmers a question and you will get a least 15 answers.

Does a degree make you a better programmer than the person next to you who is self taught and has years of experience, no. Does it mean you may get a better promotion from the company, maybe?

Get a degree in something you like doing, as it is much better going to work every day doing what you like than doing something you don't like.

By the way you’re not a real programmer until you wake up on your keyboard a time or two. OK, if the sun comes up before you finish some program code then you might be a programmer.

If you view Programming/Networks/Servers as a Challenge and like a sense of accomplishing a task or fixing problems then do it.

The language you program in does not really matter as it changes all the time. If you can program in one language then you can learn to do others.

Career progression (Degree or not) varies from place to place.

USAF Electronics (Radio/Radar) 15 years
Bought first computer (VIC-20) 1984
Starting programming in Basic and machine code (Peeks and Pokes)
Learned everything I could find on programming/Computers/Networks
Became the office computer person1985 Part Time
Became the Squadron/Department computer person 1986 Part Time
Became the computer support person 1990 Part Time
Became the wing network support person FULL Time 1995
USAF Network Administrator 5 years FULL Time
Government Computer Contractor 4 years
Sr. System Administrator (Lead Tech) FULL Time

I have been working on a Degree and certifications since 2001 to add to my resume because some companies want to see paper.

Except the ones that want experience :mrgreen:
Except the ones that want experience and certifications :?:
Except the ones that want experience and a degree :o
Except the ones that want experience and a degree and certifications :?:
Except the ones that want experience and a degree and certifications and 4.5 GPA :mrgreen:
Except the ones that want you to work cheap :evil:

Yes it is who you know (Or who knows of your work) that gets you a job.

Moral to the story get a degree in something, it removes one of most companies filters for you getting a shot at a JOB.


i have to agree too i cant stand the computer science classes im taking i understand why they teach all the theories and stuff behiind computer but atleast make it so we can have fun learning it and stuff like that. im about ready to quit my BS degree for computer science and stick with the Associate degree i have. and since i am currently a programmer right now i jst need a few more years experience and i will have the same chance of getting the job as anyone with a BS degree out there. but i guess i really cant come up with more to say since inscissor said everything i was thinking there is no point in re saying it ;)

edit: wow i just relized how old this thread is :)


Yes, very old! Almost two years have passed, and I hate computer science even more. Die computer science, die!


A very useful job to put a computer science degree to is visual effects programming. Where I work we have some fantastic programmers working in a variety of different languages (C++, Python, Perl, Maya's MEL, and so on) to create a variety of plugins and utilities for artists and animators working on big budget VFX films (i.e. Harry Potter, Troy, etc). Of course, if you don't like math it's not going to be the job for you!




(note: personal bias below; beware!)

The use of computers, and the programming and development of software and systems, is so broad and so pervasive that a CS degree prepares you only for some small aspects of it. Still, like degrees in almost everything except maybe medicine or law, the degree is just a small part of what you need to be GOOD at a field.

Back in the 70's when I was in college (!), San Francisco State was just starting to put together its CS program. The Math department championed it, because the business department and nursing/education department already had computer classes, and the math department looked down their nose at those departments. So, they wanted CS to be 'elite' and not for those fools taking MBA's or becoming nurses. Thus, the math department offered a CS major that was all of three CS classes and a dozen math classes. Sigh.

It has improved a lot since then, but I think CS departments have been mugged by math departments and tend to ignore a lot of 'real world' issues. That's fine, because there is a place for all that theory, as 'movielad' points out.

There are, however, many many jobs where you develop software full time and never use math beyond high school level. Where efficency is measured in human terms, not in machine terms. Where quality of a product is defined by how much money it makes or saves, and not by how many bugs it has. Where your value as a software engineer is measured in terms of how well you communicate, not in how complicated your code is.

I imagine CSCGal has done more good and learned more by working on this forum than on any class in school.

Just my humble opinion....


My high school has a book titled 'Intro to PASCAL for 1986' sitting on the bookshelf. Computers can never be taught in schools the way they should be. Dang :-(.


I never studied at the university so I can't realy say computer science is good or bad, but from what I've seen during the few years I've been working is that computer science graduates have a very good understanding of computing. Though it doesn't mean that they do anything related to computers that well, it shows that they have a good understanding of the logic associated with it and that they can learn whatever they need to learn to achieve the set goal.

Here in Sweden we have computer science at university level just liek yuo do but we also have a lot of courses focused on preparing you for a certain job. I myself studied a year to be a network administrator and it focused on networking and on windows systems. It gave me everything I needed to start a job like it(though no one wants to hire a network administrator with no working experience). a few years of working as a technical support specialist I got the job I wanted as a network technician. If I'd studied computer science at the university I'd probably been able to get this job as well, but i'd have had to studied more focused(maybe just from a book and then get certified) afterwards. After working as a network technician for two years I spent two years in the school bench to become a project manager. Now I'm back to being a network technician again but now I'm prepared for the next level, so to say.

Anyway, my point is that if you can put in the time it takes then the computer science degree is really good to have, as long as you focus on something afterwards and don't expect it to be enough.

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