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Emonious

Damn you Computer Science Major!!! Unit Amount Req.

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As you can guess by the title, my major is Computer Science. I am also going for a minor in Japanese which will be added 12-15 units on top of the major. Not too bad, and I really want to get that. After that, head into the gaming industry and work towards Developer. Not a mild goal by any means. Now, I''m aware Computer Science isn''t an easy major. Nothing worthwhile is easy either! However, I look on the college sites for unit requirement, and this is what I see. Psychology BS = 52 Units required. Business BS = 66 Units required. Mechanical Engineering = 56 Units required. Mathmatics = 49 Units required. Computer Science 89 Units required. WTF? As I said, I have no problem with difficulty, but this is a bit silly. Almost 90 units for a major, almost a year and a half more of time than some majors, when there are numerous classes that could be removed is absurd. Add to this the fact I am having to study C++ on the side as they have changed to Java for most classes, and top it off with a minor and 3+ years already of general education and you have a "Major" over kill of time just to work toward a desired job in a field which is very specialized in many areas. Don''t tell me some courses could be dropped and made optional, or some general education requirements could be cut down. As the amount of time I''m putting into this major could easily get me a masters in another field. I''m sure I share this frustrating with a large number of you here, and this is nothing new. Still I find this very disapointing, when I know there could be some real improvement. I''m not changing my major, nor am I about to let this stop me from "going for my dream." But I could get to my dream a bit faster, if less of my time was wasted meeting general education requirement options, or optional more specialized focused additions. Maybe there are options I''m not aware of that would cut my time down? I could be jumping the gun. If so please let me know. Hard work doesn''t bother me. Hard work that isn''t promising me a job, and will be quickly irrelivent when I get a job and find it was a waste of a year talking 30% of the classes does bother me.

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If you can do DigiPen I would go for it. From what I can tell it''s like the MIT for Game Development. You have to take like 18 math classes there... it''s the real deal.

Full-Sail is an awesome school just to walk through... but a lot of people graduate and do nothing. There are no guarantees there... you get out of it what you put into it. Also, the fact that they only have had an A.S. degree was kind of a turn off and a little scary when dumping that much money, but they have a B.S. now... I don''t know what that involves though.

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Is that 89 units of Computer Science courses or 89 units total for a Computer Science degree? At my school we had to have 185 units to graduate with an engineering degree, of course my school is on the quarter system instead of the semester system. Even then, if you removed one quarter from each year and assumed you took a full load(16 units) it would be
185-(16*4)=121 units

So if it is 89 units of CS courses then that leaves 30 units of general education classes which sounds reasonable, if it is 89 units for a CS degree then it is a steal compared to my school.

So in conclusion,
quit your bitchin and get your education

Clippy:"OMG, A NUMBAR! Let me format it for you"
Unsuspecting Student: "Ahhhhh! Damn you paperclip you ruined my paper. A thousand deaths upon you!"

"Game Programming: Without programming you''ve just got game"

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This is a CSU so the units might be seem lower than if you went to a UC. Yes, this is just for the Computer Science related courses, not the total amount needed.

As for Digipen and Full Sail. I''ve cut out Full Sail permanantly, as I don''t quite trust the results of that school nor getting what you pay for out of it. Digipen, I give a lot of credit, but it is just too costy for something I can learn myself through books and time. I have a somewhat limited budget. A state college seems to be the best way to go followed by maybe an internship or self teaching afterwards. Trust me, I''ve checked into quite a bit when it comes to the specialty schools, and they don''t seem to be worth it at all unless you have thousands to blow.

"So in conclusion,
quit your bitchin and get your education"

Ya, that''s just about what I have to do But doesn''t mean I can''t scream a bit. Sometimes makes you feel better, if you know others are just as frustrated as you.

Nothing is going to stop me, but it is still damn annoying!

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I'm currently in my 4th year at UT. UT is ranked #7 in the US for CS. I feel about 2 of my CS classes have been in any way helpful, total. I think there is a point where you realize that CS is not meant for people that actually enjoy programming. Its meant for people that want to be a magical "computer scientist" and have no knowledge of anything regarding computers, programming or algorithms upon entering college. I have heard a number of people joke that a UT CS graduate would be lucky to be able to program a Tetris clone. Its not a joke.

Anyhow, you end up paying a University to learn little and attend classes loaded with idiots(OMG!! I LOVE TEH COUNTERSTRIKE - SO I'LL BECOME A CS MAJOR!!! GET IT?? CS??? OMGOMGOMGLOLOLOL!!!) for four years. Not the best deal, but at least its easy. Incidentally I am switching to business management -- CS at a university is really a waste of time imo, as you might gather from this post.

[edited by - haro on January 16, 2004 3:48:30 AM]

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I wouldn''t mind a normal CS curriculum if the professors only bothered to try to make the assignments challenging. The most challenging assignment I have ever received was from my third semester CS class. We were to implement a tic-tac-toe game which could play flawlessly on a 5x5 board in a reasonably finite amount of time. That can be reasonably challenging if you try to do it without much knowledge of basic tree optimization techniques such as minmax/alphabeta pruning, etc..

You will not be challenged in your classes. If you put any amount of effort into your assignments you will finish them all ( usually within hours after starting ). Even large group projects tend to be trivial, particularly if your group members are fairly competent.

So basically it comes down to sitting in a class, picking up some basic concepts and then applying those in an equally basic assignment. The great part is when the class complains that the assignment is too difficult so the professor takes everything down a notch. I was literally flamed on the class newsgroup for suggesting the proffessor offer more "open-ended" assignments such as Tic-Tac-Toe. Not a single other person in the class was apparently interested in challenging assignments. The same has been more or less true in every other class I have taken.

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Bah... I hope it isn't that easy :/ Throwing a bunch of Array check loops together and learning a few languages is going to be slightly "boring as hell" if that is all I have to look forward too.

What do I want? C++/Java skills. Theory behind structures and looping. Win32 then Diretx API skills. Software engineering training with some graphics training. Add on to that the least amount of BS and time wasting possible. Finish it off with anything else I might need to know, such as networking technical issues.

I'm sure I'll be challenge enough just by the shear amount of classes, I guess. I'm quite lousy at math, so it may end up that that is the area I'm "challenged."

[edited by - emonious on January 16, 2004 4:10:01 AM]

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I''m switching majors from CS to Mathematics. My math major will have me taking still a whole lot of CS classes anyhow and I like its less-than-narrow scope that CS major has. I''m not sure what the ratio of skilled programmers in the workforce are comprised of between CS graduates and Mathematics grads. I''d love to find out.

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quote:
Original post by Emonious
..and learning a few languages is going to be slightly "boring as hell" if that is all I have to look forward too.



If only. Almost all classes here use Java. Even my architecture class used a dumbed down* (see note before flaming) assembly language that ran on a virtual architecture. It was the LC3, a RISC architecture which magically has fixed length instruction encoding, word alignment and word size memory access, etc.. A pretty make-pretend language that completely ignores all of the practical problems that you face in the real world when programming in assembly ( save the sarcasm - assembly is still useful in innumerable fields ).

*NOTE : By dumbed down I mean to say that Java does not deal with memory or architecture specific issues. This is generally not a bad thing, but if a programmer were to have no experience outside of his University education and then ended up on a game console development team (for example), he or she would likely be completely lost:

reinterpret_cast< void * * >(&blah);

That statement is not going to be the most intuitive thing for a programmer who has never gone outside of his university sandbox.

It is nice to abstract away some of the weaknesses of languages that would interfer with teaching them, but its getting to the point to where so much is being abstracted away that students will be left in the dark and spend months in training for most of any real world positions they will find themselves in. I am not a C++ fanatic, in fact I have been a C# adept, but a language such as C++ which is still widely used and in many ways very different than java, should still be used (if not taught) in at least one required class. Lisp and Lisp derivitives are still taught at almost all institutions in at least one class. In all reality is a programmer more likely to use Lisp or C++ on a professional level? Yes, I know that's not the most fair question since Lisp is generally used as an introduction to functional programming, but the question is still valid.

[edited by - haro on January 16, 2004 4:47:02 AM]

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Just curious, what is a unit?
I''m cunrrently reading "Information Technology" att Uppsala Universty, Sweden. Here we''re requierd to collect 180 points in order to graduate, where each point is suposed to corespond to one week of fulltime studies. Is a unit anything like that, and if so how much stuides are requerd for one unit?


--
Spearhawk Productions
Project Andromeda

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A unit in the states often refers to one hour of classes per week for a semester. A semester is about 2/7ths of a year. There is fall semester, spring semester and then 2 smaller summer semester.

So a 3 unit class would generally mean you are in class 3 hours per week for that class. IE- monday, wednesday, friday for one hour each, or tuesday/thursday for 1.5 hours each.

Of course this isn''t rock solid. There are often 3 hour classes that take 4 hours per week and so on. The minimum required for full time university enrollment is 12 hours at most places.

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I just want to point out that curriculum and difficulty varies HIGHLY from university to university when it comes to CS degrees. Some CS programs do nothing but teach you programming, some CS programs do nothing but teach you theory. A lot of it stems from the fact of where the CS program came from? Did it originate from the EE department, Math department, or was it created by popularity. I''ve found that CS programs that sprouted from EE departments 30+ years ago tend to be more architecture/computer design focused. Programs that sprouted from Math departments 30+ years ago tend to focus more on the theoritical side of CS, and programs that were created out of popularity are designed to spew programmers, and will just teach you languages and stuff.

The moral of the story is RESEARCH the schools you are interested, and find out about the difficulty/focus of the program.

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I notice a lot of schools are moving towards Java for teaching programming, my university did this too, but last year they changed first year around and added the first year courses as C++, so you could take either, Java for those with little to no programming experience, and C++ for those with more experience.

I go to the University of Western Ontario, in London, Canada, and I wouldn''t say the courses are too easy, I have had some pretty challenging assignments ranging from coding in sparc assembly, doing a cpu process scheduler, and then doing a networked multiplayer card game, both client and server (this was a group project). My only problem with the school, is half the professors can''t speak english properly enough to teach, and then the profs you can speak english, couldn''t teach to save their own lives.

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quote:
Original post by haro
You will not be challenged in your classes. If you put any amount of effort into your assignments you will finish them all ( usually within hours after starting ). Even large group projects tend to be trivial, particularly if your group members are fairly competent.



Are you aceing all of your classes like your CS classes?
Do you have an A in Biology, American History, Engineering?

The problem is not that your school''s CS is too easy, it is just people like you and me have been programming for so many years. Our brains are already trained to think in this manner.

How many people were in your first year CS classes? Now, how many are left? It typically drops from 60 to 15, or less.

If you find it easy, consider yourself a computer nerd and be proud of it. If you are aceing ALL your classes, consider going to another uni. because you are a child prodigy.

The first 2 to 3 years of a CS plan covers all the basics. If you are already familiar with data structures, and such, you will not get any challenge until almost your fourth year. Use the classes to sharpen your skills. Take a Unix class that covers file management. Take a compiler class. Take a higher
level math course, etc.

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quote:
Original post by haro
I have heard a number of people joke that a UT CS graduate would be lucky to be able to program a Tetris clone. Its not a joke.


[edited by - haro on January 16, 2004 3:48:30 AM]


ive made 2 tetris clones as a sophmore in high school <--- take that

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Making a game is just one specialization of programming.
I too made games even back in Junior high on my TRS-80 (original, which is harder than copying an existing design). That does not mean I had the education to create large scale software, which most people who never took courses dealing in software engineering, and have not worked in teams, can not do.

I can always easily tell which co-workers have not gone
to college. Not only are their software developing skills lacking, but so is their general knowledge of other subjects.

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I Graduate with a CIS degree from a state school this spring and all I can say is, what a fucking joke of a program(very few people can PROGRAM). The bar is set very LOW.
I feel like college has served its purpose in teaching me time management since I work full time too.
No one will push you if you dont push yourself, you will be bogged down with busy work and planning(dfds, p-specs and lots of bs imo)not that planning isnt important but most schools teach java now not c++ and you are stuck doing almost all your assignments in a console window(GAY).
I still learned what I wanted to know and there are plenty of good books.
So what I am saying is do the bullshit get your piece of paper and learn nonstop on the side, and you can look forward to a fat paycheck in four or five years.

Almost done...

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