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tuita

UK/US Comp. Sci. Degrees

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Just wondering how helpful UK/US university grads found their Computer Science / Information Technology etc. etc. degrees. Asking because I have almost completed my studies in Australia, but honestly feel that I learn more outside of university through self-study projects, than I have inside. I feel that all I will gain from uni is a piece of paper that says "Yes, he is qualified". I guess what I''m wondering is, do people outside of Australia feel that their courses were trully beneficial to their education, or just something they had to do to get a job.

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can I just ask what uni you went to in NSW?

surely you had some subjects that were useful and interesting? did you try any game related subjects like "artificial intelligence" or "graphics"?

although I''m still studying, I think it would be far more difficult to get a job without a computer science degree here at least...

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Studying at UWS (yeah, I know everyone says its a shithole).

I studied AI as well as all of the other subjects that no-one else wanted to do. I wanted to study graphics, however, changes in the university structure recently has prevented them from offering the subject when I needed it, so I may finish my course before I get a chance to study it. (So I studied the graphics theory outside of uni instead).

Admittedly, AI is fairly interesting, but not in depth enough. I feel that subjects may be cut-back (made easier) simply to boost the pass rate. And this is my problem with university.
I''m wondering if in other countries, perhaps they go further in depth in their subjects and maybe leave us (Australians) behind.

The reason I find this to be a problem is because most computing jobs (specifically games and entertainment) are overseas (i.e. Japan, US, UK). So what are the chances of us getting a job over there, if our degrees are of such a low standard.

Perhaps I''m wrong (or just going to the wrong uni), but I can''t help but feel that maybe we''re being disadvantaged for the sake of easier passing criteria.

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I am from the UK. Just completed a BSC in Computer Studies and have to admit I learned more from my own study than at Uni. That said however the "Object-oriented methods" module I found really interesting and useful (and would not understand a lot of the fundamentals of OO without it). I took my degree to get a job (not particularly to learn to program) and that it was a means to an end. Doing an interesting final year project was fun and hopefully something I can showcase (tools for C++ Builder to allow RAD of games in DX).

Neil

WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN THE LARGEST ARMS IN THE WORLD RUN WILD ON YOU?!?!

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Studying Comp Sci BSc @ Loughborough Uni (one of the top unis in UK for sports, engineering and design)

In Basic AI we have basically learn''t,

Basics of Problem solving,
A* algorithm,
AS* algorithm,
Basic Neural Networks.

Outside the course I looked more into pathfinding which basically extends off these subjects.

We have an advanced AI module in the last year

The basics graphics module contained basic maths for 2d graphics using matrices, and certain techniques for drawing lines and improving image quality.

We also have an advanced Graphics module in the last year.

As far as my course is concerned the first year was pretty much stuff I knew, my second year is half stuff I know and the other stuff is new, (particularlly the maths since I never did statistics until uni and the legal and professional issues since I never bothered learning about computer crime in my spare time)

My uni tries to teach stuff that is knowledge that you will use no matter what computing related industry you go into. Though they do specialise in a few things, like Graphics, AI and Operating Systems. I would like to see them do more on EAI and B2B systems since anyone going into software development for businesses may well run into this at some point.

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quote:
Original post by DragonWolf
In Basic AI we have basically learn''t,

Basics of Problem solving,
A* algorithm,
AS* algorithm,
Basic Neural Networks.



Yeah, I guess this is roughly similar to what we did. Didn''t go into neural networks, but went through all of the knowledge representation stuff and deriving things from the knowledge and facts etc.

quote:
Original post by DragonWolf
The basics graphics module contained basic maths for 2d graphics using matrices, and certain techniques for drawing lines and improving image quality.

We also have an advanced Graphics module in the last year.



Not sure how our graphics subject (we have only 1 graphics subject) compares to these. All I know is that in the previous year, the final assignment was to create a 3D fractal landscape using some ''student'' graphics API.

quote:
Original post by thedo
I took my degree to get a job (not particularly to learn to program) and that it was a means to an end.



Well I''m happy to hear that I''m not the only one going to uni just to get a job. (Its a shame it takes 3+ years to finish!) But based on DragonWolf''s info, I think our degrees in Australia might be a little ''easier'' (i.e. crappier) than over there.

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If your looking to do Games programming, here''s what I''ve found so far since coming out of university (applies to UK):

1) Although a degree will help, experience is what most companies look for.
tip - do a lot of games type programming in your spare time if you have no commercial experience

2) For people with no commercial experience, agencies are crap. They just want as many people on there lists as possible, and most of the consultants haven''t a clue about games programming...

3) A lot of games companies are so snotty that they go so far as to say that they only! want applicants with degrees from red-brick universities, such as oxford, cambridge etc.. they can shove it! I''ve met enough people with degrees who ain''t got a clue.

anyway thats my 2pennies worth...

later dudez,

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My Computing degree covered areas such as advanced analysis and design (OOD/OOP, patterns, etc), neural networks, genetic algorithms, 3D graphics (including software rendering), video editing, C++/Java/VB, etc. But most people who passed that course didn''t like programming and couldn''t write a decent game. There was no coverage of APIs such as OpenGL or DirectX, no usage of operating systems other than Windows, no actual coding of genetic algorithms or neural networks, and so on. Lots of theory, little practice.

But... there are many things you learn in university that seem useless to begin with that turn out to be useful in the long run. Such as what Big-O notation is, or how to write a heap structure using an array. Or how a linked-list works. How parallelism makes graphics cards so much faster than software rendering. What the benefits of abstraction, encapsulation, and polymorphism are. How radiosity works. Why deciding your next move in a chess game can use a lot of the same code as picking a path through an RTS map. And so on. A good education gives you a firmer basis upon which to conduct your own studies as it provides you with a wider understanding.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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I think you guies need to be realistic. Do you expect to produce an industry standard game as soon as you graduate?

To respond fast and good enough to the world arround them, universities requires resources that are plainly not avilable. Let''s face it people make more money in the industry than they would make at institutes.

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quote:
Original post by OB1st
I think you guies need to be realistic. Do you expect to produce an industry standard game as soon as you graduate?

What exactly is your point here? I don''t think that graduates expect to be able to produce an industry standard game as soon as they graduate. Unfortunately, employers like to see you are already of a high quality when you apply for jobs... in other words, displaying skills that you can''t easily get from universities that refuse to teach anything relevant to the gaming industry. (Although they will happily teach things relevant to the web programming industry, for example.)



[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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quote:
Original post by tuita
Just wondering how helpful UK/US university grads found their Computer Science / Information Technology etc. etc. degrees.

Asking because I have almost completed my studies in Australia, but honestly feel that I learn more outside of university through self-study projects, than I have inside. I feel that all I will gain from uni is a piece of paper that says "Yes, he is qualified".

I guess what I''m wondering is, do people outside of Australia feel that their courses were trully beneficial to their education, or just something they had to do to get a job.


This is generally how I feel about all the CS classes that I took. The math classes (majored in math too, as not to make it a complete wasted of time) were far more useful - I enjoyed my philosophy & ethics classes. The more academic CS classes, that could have been useful were made virtual worthless by "my peers" in the class. And my "Computer Architecture" class, which was one I was very interested in, was taught by a ditz and was a complete waste of time. I just read the book in the back of class.
It was all extremely disappointing, because the school I went to is supposedly a great engineering school.

And, unfortunately, the degree hardly means "he''s qualified" because the industry knows that the degrees includes little directly applicable knowledge.

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Well, I for one think that a Computer Science degree is more useful in the sense that it teaches you the theory, rather than the implementation. For example, what is more useful? Knowing what a linked list is, how it works, how it compares to an array and other linear data structure OR knowing how to implement a linked list in Java, and then getting your first job where you need to write a linked list in C++, but can''t figure out how to do it because you learned the syntax instead of the theory?

I don''t think a university should really teach specific APIs (at least as part of a university degree). With some effort, if you understand what the API is doing, you can easily figure out which functions need to be called, etc. However, if you instead focus on practical things, your understanding is often limited to that narrow scope which hinders your general understanding of a subject. That way, in twenty years, when C++ is no longer the programming language used for games, you''ll be able to pick up the new language more quickly because both languages embody the same concepts.

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My computer science degree from Brunel in the UK served as an excellent base to continue studying after completion of my degree. Even though I focussed on AI and discrete maths, it was easy to turn these around to getting to grips with game development.

The problem I have now with the current computer science degrees (mine is three years old now) is that they are looking more like IT related degrees focusing on things like web design and the business side of computing.

Peace out,
Mathematix.

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