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Computer Science

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by y tho, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. y tho

    y tho Squib

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    Hey guys, I'm going to Uni soon and I am taking Computer Science as my course.
    Recently I have been taking online courses to further develop my understanding of scripts in preparation so that I won't look like a drooling idiot.
    Any other tips on how to survive the classes?

    (Also I want to know your experiences when it comes to Computer Science. Is it hard? Should I change my course?
     
  2. kinetique

    kinetique Groundskeeper

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    In my experience the biggest reason people drop out of computer science is a lack of determination to complete the studies.

    I have a hunch it's because people go into the course with preconceptions that don't match up with reality.

    Basically, you can consider a good computer science course to be some weird crossover with science, mathematics, and a small amount of engineering. If you go in expecting to make video games then it's probably the wrong thing for you.

    Check out the cs50x course that harvard/princeton has up. It should be required viewing before going into a comp. sci degree.

    If you do that and decide it's for you then the two most important things to study (imo) are discreet mathematics and algorithms. Pretty much everything else can be derived from those.

    Having done both electrical engineering and computer science I would definitely say ee is some what harder, though I did do that first so it probably helped my cs learning. Really though, difficulty is ultimately determined by how determined and talented you are. If you like maths, and are good at it then it will be fine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  3. cucio

    cucio First Year

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    CS by its own nature demands a very strong affinity for planning and preparation. If at this point you are having doubts of whether this is the right course for you, well, then maybe it isn't. :D

    Now, more seriously, if you have chosen it probably you have good reasons, and one can't plan for everything.

    Go give it a whirl and try to enjoy it. Even if you are only passable, it is a very marketable profession. Should you eventually drop it, at the very least you'll probably take from it good thinking habits and knowledge that will help you with any other endeavour you decide to take on.
     
  4. y tho

    y tho Squib

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    Thanks for the advice guys but the thing is Math (discrete mathematics and algorithms still leave me in nervous sweat) is not my strong suit and I'm just really worried that I'll just end up wasting time and money and being burned out.
    One of the reasons I took it is because I'm inclined to technical work like this and that eventually will yield future monetary compensation.
     
  5. EsperJones

    EsperJones Order Member

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    Basically anything that pays well will require a lot of work getting there - that's generally why it pays well.

    CS is easier than a full engineering degree but definitely requires a specific sort of mindset. You don't need the full theoretical math degree (I flunked out of the math program once it got into calculus by proofs) but discrete math (logic, primarily) will definitely be required for any real degree.
     
  6. pbluekan

    pbluekan Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    So, I dropped out of a CS degree in my freshman year to pursue (and eventually finish) a microbio degree, but I do remember why I dropped it and why a lot of my peers did as well.

    Professors in CS, in my experience and from what I've heard from some friends, can be difficult to work with. This is true for all degrees, especially the sciences, but CS had a particularly bad case of it. Look up your professors, and be very careful of ones with high failure rates. CS is hard, no doubt, but excessive failure rates in classes that their peers also teach with better results is indicative of the kind of issues I ran into.

    It isn't just a hard professor, it's a bad one.

    One last thing. I know it's tempting to bring a computer to a lecture to take notes, especially for a CS degree. Don't. Not unless you have to. 99% of the time people who bring their laptops to class are on Facebook, gaming, YouTube, whatever. A notebook and pen will be just fine for taking notes at speed. I managed it for orgo, you can do it for C#.
     
  7. Relic

    Relic High Inquisitor

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    Honestly as someone who came into college with no CS experience and finished with it as one of my majors you don't "need" to do anything right now if you don't want to. Likely the intro class, while challenging, will give you everything you need to succeed. But if you want to, I would experiment with whatever language your school uses (Java or Python probably) so you can focus on more of the algorithm stuff rather than struggling with syntax stuff.

    Also if you do do stuff before class dont become a the kind of fuckboy that was all to common in the beginner classes. The guy who shows off his "advanced" knowledge and criticizes the way the much smarter teacher does stuff. Be humble and assume there is a reason for what the teacher is doing and take in everything with an open mind.

    You'll be fine!
     
  8. y tho

    y tho Squib

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    Yeah, I have no intention of bringing a laptop to class because I know it would prove detrimental to my studies. I'm better with writing things out.

    Lmao I won't become a "fuckboy".

    Have you guys heard of "CodeAcademy"? I'm doing courses on there for preparation.
     
  9. Paranoid Android

    Paranoid Android Groundskeeper

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    General succeeding at uni thing is to keep on top of the coursework. It's really tempting to skip classes especially if they're noncompulsive but you're really borrowing time from your future.
    Also if you really find yourself hating the degree. Don't be afraid to pull the plug. There's nothing wrong with switching courses or taking time off and nothing sucks more then half heartedly going through the motions with something you hate. Racking up dept all the while.
     
  10. Guru Meditation Error

    Guru Meditation Error Squib

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    If you enjoy it and are willing to put in the work you can do well. I was a TA (didn't finish my master's due to health issues) and saw students who performed poorly at the start of a class that improved tremendously through effort and dedicated study.

    Don't be afraid to ask the TA or professor questions. Most are happy to answer. The only time I got annoyed was when somebody was trying to get me to do their work for them or got impatient when I was helping somebody else.

    Also, experiment with what you learn. Use what you learned from 'Introduction to Programming' and create a simple game. Maybe after a bit more experience try writing a reminder app. Maybe after taking (or while taking) the data structures and algorithms course try writing a simple database engine. Whatever. The specific program doesn't matter - just that you applied what you learned. These personal projects will really help you learn topics to a depth that you won't get from a course alone. Also, personal projects will provide you with work to show employers when you apply for internships or jobs.
     
  11. y tho

    y tho Squib

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    Do I need some kind of high tech computer to do programming? I know that the university probably has some but I don't wanna live on campus.
     
  12. Distaly

    Distaly Third Year

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    No, for most tasks a smartphone would already be strong enough. Any common computer or laptop will do.
     
  13. why?

    why? First Year

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    Why are you going to university though? Do you need a degree for anything? That is, do you want to be an academic, or get into a graduate job?

    Many coders don't have CS degrees, or any degree at all.

    If you're already a bit unsure, why not just keep learning how to code, and then try to get a job directly? You can always go to uni next term/year if you see this isn't what you wanted.
     
  14. Zlancer

    Zlancer Muggle

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    This isn't necessarily accurate perception of why many developers don't have a degree. If you decide that you do want to go into CS, it is beneficial to have the coursework down for a few reasons.

    Primarily, unless you're extremely self-motivated you won't pick up the required skills on your own, more than this, many devs who don't have a degree have many projects under their belt and can showcase their skills in either a technical interview or through a portfolio (odds are you'll see both).

    Having the coursework from a university will help you to get the skills you need and will (depending on your school and program of study) also get you started with a portfolio comprised of the projects from your courses.

    Looking at it from a hiring manager's point of view, if I'm interviewing multiple candidates for an entry-level position, I'm going to check for a few things. The first thing I'll do is look at your resume and see what experience you have. It doesn't necessarily need to line up with what we're specifically doing at my office, it could be school projects or past internships etc.

    If there is no relevant experience, the next thing I'll ask about is school, what are you learning, so on and so forth. I'll ask you to describe your relevant courses to me to get an understanding of where you are in your education.

    If you're don't have any experience, you're not in college courses, or you don't have any personal projects that show some level of understanding, I would probably not interview you. The purpose of school and grades is so that we, as hiring managers, have something to quantify your skills.

    Hope this helps, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
     
  15. This Guy

    This Guy Squib

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    I have a degree in electrical engineering and work as a software engineer.

    If you have the opportunity to study CS in college, absolutely do it. It opens up doors early in your career that you would never get from self-study or a boot camp. My medium sized public company doesn't consider candidates without a relevant degree, period. Experience-wise, get as many internships under your belt as you can. Do research with professors at your university, it's usually great experience.

    For equipment, any mid-range laptop will be perfectly fine. I like Macbooks, but they're honestly unnecessary. Run Linux on a VM if you can. Comfort working in Linux will be useful in school, and it's an employable skillset that only
    Comes with the experience of time.

    Your curriculum will baby you through the first semester, so I wouldn't sweat prior experience. Learning in a classroom is nothing like self study (IMO), and I bet you'll find yourself at roughly the same starting point as everyone else.

    One last thing-- the market is red hot right now for software developers, but that can change on a dime. If you're motivated by a pot of gold at the end of the road, I would advise against studying CS. The only thing worse than being unemployed is being unemployed and hating your choice of career.