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What does a Computer Science degree consist of?

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I am planning on doing a Computer Science degree when I go to univercity, just wanted to know, from people who are the doing the course or have done it, what is conists of. : )

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Here is a recent thread on the mathematics involved in various CS programs. In major you''ll probably take: AI, networking, graphics, automata theory, language theory, operating systems, architecture, data structure class and that''s pretty much it. I''ve learned one thing from getting a BS in CS, CS is BS.

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In my opinion CS degree is not important if you want to be a good programmer you have to tak a Math degree.





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I would second idinkin in majoring in math instead of CS. If you are at all self motivated in development ( as presumably you are considering the site you''re at ) then you will be bored out of your mind during a CS degree, even at a top university. An applied mathematics degree will also teach you information more relevant to programming than a CS degree will anyhow. Its funny that way.

Worst case: major in mathematics or another interesting field and minor in CS.

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My course is pretty flexible in what areas I study in, it consists of a number of "core" modules which everyone must take as part of the degree which covers areas like operating systems, software development and design and databases. There''s also additional modules which can be taken in topics like games development, AI and graphics.

If you don''t like programming then don''t study computer science - I was amazed at the number of people who couldn''t program "Hello World" to save their life who are studying CS, there are alternatives to CS for the non-programmer - like Computing which basically has exactly same modules but without the programming modules.

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Im studying a computer science degree. so I can show u some things that u will see if u take a CS degree course:

Mathematics 1,2,3
Differential Ecuations
Mathematical Methods
Numeric Calc
Geometry
Physics
Physics Lab
Logic
Algorithm and programming 1
Algorithm and programming 2
Data structures
Advanced programming
Systems 1
Systems 2
Systems 3
Databases 1
Databases 2
Digital Electronic
Data processing 1
Data processing 2
Networks 1
Networks 2
Compilers 1
Compilers 2
Operating Systems
Computer Architecture
Microprocessors
Systems Simulations
Economic Engineering
Cellphone technology
Web Design
Administration and Networks design
Artificial Intelligence
Graphics
Multimedia

These are some of the classes among many others that u can see on a CS degree. I think that U SHOULD take a CS degree course because as u can see there is a lot of math involved. If u take a Math degree u will know a lot of math but what about technology ? microprocessors ? OS ? Low level Programming ? computer architecture ? . Maybe u can take the math course after the cs course. That is just my opinion.

see ya

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A lot of times the math overlaps with the CS to the point that just a few more classes will get you a degree in both.

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What you will get out of a CS degree really depends on where you go. Some places will concentrate on theory more than others.

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no matter what anybody says, it boils down to what you like to do. The idea is that you specialise in a subject.

For example, you say youy planning on doing a CS course. OK, so ask yourself, why do you want to do this particular course.

I do think ( If I''ve read it correctly, if I haven''t I apologise ) that idinkin is talking bollox though. To be a good programmer does not mean having to take mathematics degree. Go with what you enjoy....

My uni degree I had a similar layout to brunogmd...make sure you research what modules and things the particular course offers...I only had the math modules in the first year stuff like discrete mathematics, in my opinion boring, but anyone else might like it...

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SavX didn''t really ask for advice on schooling, he asked what the CS degree consists of... brunogmd gave a good answer.

Just for the record:

AFAIK You don''t need a degree at all to get you started in game development, but of course it will help.

Weigh up the time spent learning vs. time gaining real life experience, at the end of the day a degree or two is not necessarily going to get you into the industry but if you have the right attitude you''ll do just fine with or without one.

If you''re thinking of going to school for game development then explore your options.

There is no one way to ensure you''ll get into the industry but there are multiple ways to give yourself a good chance. Be informed.

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I got burned out on getting my CS degree. Actually I got to the point to where I was fed up with doing redundant exercises. Take for instance, data structures. I had an instructor that loved binary trees so badly. He taught it well,b ut the homework exercises were so abstract and had nothing to do with what he taught. They were so abstract and I could not see how they would apply to anything in real life. It felt like an I.Q. test. Maybe it is because I am getting old. I need to see how things have a purpose and then I can code it.. if it does not then I cannot really see what the solution really is.

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quote:
Original post by idinkin
In my opinion CS degree is not important if you want to be a good programmer you have to tak a Math degree.





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JEEZ, how much times do you edit it???!?!??!

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And of course the (almost) 100% correct answer that is 100% useless:
A CS degree, among other things, consists of special paper and nice ink. =)

EDIT: Now for some useful answer so I don't get banned...
I've finished my second year of studies as a Computer Science major with Mathematics minor, here is what I've covered:

Single Variable Differential and Integral Calculus
Basic Multivariate Calculus (for the minor)
Discrete Mathematics and Logic
Probability
The always-required basic CS courses (programming)
Fundamentals of Data Structures
Software Tools (with examples from UNIX and C programming)
Theory of Languages, Automata Theory, Turing Machines, and so on...
Computer Organization and Design
and I'm taking a formal course on Algorithms right now (summer term)...

The stuff I expect to add to that by the time I graduate:
Operating System Fundamentals
Software Design
Artificial Intelligence (???)
Networking (???)
Advanced Data Structures and Algorithms (???)
Computer Graphics

The stuff with (???) I am considering taking to fulfill my requirement of a certain amount of fourth year CS credits. All-in-all I'm really enjoying studying Computer Science and I'd recommend it to anyone who is even mildly interested in computers or in mathematics.

[edited by - Kentaro on May 8, 2004 3:24:16 PM]

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quote:
Original post by SavX
I am planning on doing a Computer Science degree when I go to univercity, just wanted to know, from people who are the doing the course or have done it, what is conists of.



From my experience mostly alcohol and parties (not of the LAN variety.) Although come to think of it there may have been a few lectures.....not sure, never went to them, I was usually recovering from the previous night (university admin never got the timetabling correct).

I did hear from fellow students that a few odd individuals learnt such things as Project Management, Industrial/Contract Law, Basic programming (not actually in basic, C++ or Pascal), A-level equivalent Maths, Databases and design methodology. One poor sod actually took DSP and hard coded electronic filtering systems (he actually volunteered....)

After all that there was this project thingy as well, the usual ''written in 24 hours'' pro-plus and caffeine fuelled type of thing.

Jay

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Hmm.. I''m not sure what I want to do. I either want to be a programmer, not just game programing, or some sort of computer graphic designer/animator.

I''m only 15, nearly 16, so I have some time to think. What do you think is the better job? I like both programing and graphic desiging/animating. Anything on a computer really. What I want when I am older is a good paying job that is enjoyable.

But the choices.. so many to choose from. Which path should I take? I''m not asking you to tell me what to do, because I know I have my own different opinions, but what would you do? For example, if you are now older, and could go back to starting again. What would you choose from experience?

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quote:
Original post by snyp
quote:
Original post by idinkin
In my opinion CS degree is not important if you want to be a good programmer you have to tak a Math degree.





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JEEZ, how much times do you edit it???!?!??!


Maybe if he''d got a CS degree instead of a Math degree, he could figure out how to use those pesky Edit buttons...

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quote:
Original post by SavX
Hmm.. I'm not sure what I want to do. I either want to be a programmer, not just game programing, or some sort of computer graphic designer/animator.

I'm only 15, nearly 16, so I have some time to think. What do you think is the better job? I like both programing and graphic desiging/animating. Anything on a computer really. What I want when I am older is a good paying job that is enjoyable.

But the choices.. so many to choose from. Which path should I take? I'm not asking you to tell me what to do, because I know I have my own different opinions, but what would you do? For example, if you are now older, and could go back to starting again. What would you choose from experience?


Well, one thing that I realize now that I didn't realize back then is that the paths of Programmer and Digital Artist don't overlap as much as you would hope, either in school or at most jobs. Most people at some point focus in one or the other, and if you get a job at a game company with more than 2 people in it, you are probably going to be a Developer OR an Artist, not both.

In school, I majored in Computer Science and minored in "Creative Arts", which I basically made up so that I could take a few art and music classes, which otherwise don't count for much in an Engineering degree. One of my friends was studying New Media Art (basically 3D modelling and flash animation and other computer art stuff), and he took one or two programming classes but they didn't count towards his degree because most of his classes were supposed to be in classical Art, Art Theory, and Art History. A lot of the time, courses under Computer Science entitled "3D Graphics" will deal with programming 3D engines, matrix math, how to do collision detection and particles systems, how to program shadows and real-time effects, etc., with very little work put into making models or texture or animations on your own... most of the time they will say things like "This is how you build your engine for the artists in your company..." But a course under Art entitled "3D Graphics" will be more about using software like 3DSMax and Photoshop, making your own models and textures, and will have little math but more background in sketching, painting, and art theory. They will say things like "This is how you export things so that your programmers in your company can figure out what to do with it..."

So I'd say think of which one you want to do more, programming or art, and pick your major in the one and your minor in the other. If you like them both, I'd reccommend majoring in Computer Science and minoring in art as it's usually much easier to get a decent-paying programming job than it is to get paid for art while you're trying to find a job you really like.

Anyway, here are some of the classes I took for my degree; some were required, some weren't:

Artificial Intelligence,
Algorithms and Computability,
3D Graphics,
Discrete Structures,
Computer Systems and Organization,
Software Engineering,
Operating Systems,
Programming Theory,
Data Structures and Logic,
Physics,
Calculus and Linear Algebra,
Media Arts Studio (3D Graphics/ Digital Audio),
Advanced Music Theory,
Visual Psychology.


Edited to add:
Oh, one thing I forgot! The magic of "Independent Study"... at most universities, if there is something you really want to do, but are having trouble finding the right combination of courses to get what you want, you can sign up for an Independent Study with some professor. So if you wanted to focus on game development but your school doesn't specifically have courses on it, you can get a professor to give you credit as it was a class for working on a game. As long as you set realistic goals and work with a professor you like, independent studies can be much more fun and interesting than getting your credit by taking a course in compilers or advanced databases if you have no interest in those things.


[edited by - makeshiftwings on May 8, 2004 5:47:06 PM]

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Thanks for the reply makeshiftwings, it was very helpful : )

I think I''ll take the programming path, and go professional in programming and do computer graphics as a hobby.

What I would like to know now.. Is a Computer Science Degree worth it? 4, or is it 3 years to finish the Degree. Would it be worthwhile getting the degree then finding a job, or getting lower qualifications and getting a job straight away, and working my way up from experience.

What I mean by the question, is that, currently in secondary school, we learn loads of stuff that I''ll probably NEVER use in my life. Are all the things you learn in a Computer Science degree useful? Or are a lot of them just useless information? I don''t want to go through 4 years and learn nothing but boring usefulness :O

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Inevitably there will be parts that you won''t have much practical use for once you graduate but that comes with the nature of a CS degree - it''s not specifically designed only for programmers.

On the whole I would say that about 90% of topics covered will have some use to you either directly through programming classes or indirectly through greater understanding of different aspects of computer systems which you may not necessarily have learnt otherwise.

I''m still at Uni ATM so I can''t comment on how useful a CS degree is in getting a job but my computer knowledge is a lot more well rounded now than when I started.

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Is it worth it? I learned quite a bit that was interesting to me, if not directly applicable to whatever job I will (hopefully) eventually get doing development work.

You can learn a lot from books. You can learn a lot from experience. There is a fair amount, though, that you will probably not learn unless you get it from an academic setting. Now, before anyone starts arguing about the value of academics versus the value of experience, I''m not trying to say that academics are in any way more important than experience.

It''s just that there are some things that I learned in college, that would never come up in an actual job. But they are still interesting to me, and that makes them worth it.

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quote:
Original post by SavX
Thanks for the reply makeshiftwings, it was very helpful : )

I think I''ll take the programming path, and go professional in programming and do computer graphics as a hobby.

What I would like to know now.. Is a Computer Science Degree worth it? 4, or is it 3 years to finish the Degree. Would it be worthwhile getting the degree then finding a job, or getting lower qualifications and getting a job straight away, and working my way up from experience.

What I mean by the question, is that, currently in secondary school, we learn loads of stuff that I''ll probably NEVER use in my life. Are all the things you learn in a Computer Science degree useful? Or are a lot of them just useless information? I don''t want to go through 4 years and learn nothing but boring usefulness :O

Computer Science Degree is currently considered useful. Actually more for the paper than anything else.
If you are able learn yourself, then expect you''d learn a little what you can''t learn yourself outside of school.
Lower qualifications jobs are sometimes MC Donalds jobs, so BAD TM.
As for programming, or graphic. It depends on your talent, and what you really want. If you already created 50 GB files and some published, it would be probably better to more look towards that path.

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quote:
Original post by makeshiftwings
Oh, one thing I forgot! The magic of "Independent Study"... at most universities, if there is something you really want to do, but are having trouble finding the right combination of courses to get what you want, you can sign up for an Independent Study with some professor. So if you wanted to focus on game development but your school doesn't specifically have courses on it, you can get a professor to give you credit as it was a class for working on a game. As long as you set realistic goals and work with a professor you like, independent studies can be much more fun and interesting than getting your credit by taking a course in compilers or advanced databases if you have no interest in those things.


"independent study" that sounds really ass kicking.you never got this kind of thing in UK uni.i really hope my uni can have something like this too.

quote:
Original post by SavX
Thanks for the reply makeshiftwings, it was very helpful : )

I think I'll take the programming path, and go professional in programming and do computer graphics as a hobby.

What I would like to know now.. Is a Computer Science Degree worth it? 4, or is it 3 years to finish the Degree. Would it be worthwhile getting the degree then finding a job, or getting lower qualifications and getting a job straight away, and working my way up from experience.

What I mean by the question, is that, currently in secondary school, we learn loads of stuff that I'll probably NEVER use in my life. Are all the things you learn in a Computer Science degree useful? Or are a lot of them just useless information? I don't want to go through 4 years and learn nothing but boring usefulness :O



unfortunately,i would say from my experience,more than 80% of stuff i learnd from my degree are absolutely crap.computer science degree trys to cover every single topic related to computer.im sure you can see this youself from those previous posts that list up modules this degree offers.the course includes stuff like programming(not just c++ and java,lots of other crapy languange as well),algorithm(that means basically a formula to solve a problem,if you dont know),arcitheture of computer,logic and correctness of compiler,automata theory,some graphics,software engineering and a lot more.no one gonna like all of them,even he gets a really decent degree out of the uni.even though,i dont think it is not worth it,coz the purpose of uni is to teach you the way of scientific thinking in modern computer science,rather than the knowledge itself.at the end of day,those crap really gets into your head,so that you know how to solve a problem yourself,despite that you have forgot what exactly those shit is.

im quite agree to Raghar that what you gonna be in the future depends on your talent and what you really want.on my course,i can tell you a truth,more than half of my coursemates DOES NOT know how to program in C++ or Java.also back in the 1st year,there were more than 200 students in the course and nearly half of them droped out in the second year.this is my final year now,i only got 70 of them left.im not trying to scare you to anything,but you should know doing a computer science degree doesnt ensure you are gonna be a programmer(actaully it guarantees nothing,not even a job).you will have to make a lot of effort in pirvate study and be very interested in it to become a successful programmer or whatever you wan to be.

EDIT:clean up some spelling errors as usual.

[edited by - jimywang on May 8, 2004 9:34:21 PM]

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Why not consider Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering? Then you learn something useful. Besides, CS jobs keep getting shipped off-shore ;P

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Don''t mean to hijack, but how many classes more is a Math degree if you finish a CS degree? If it''s not much, that doesn''t sound like a bad idea for me

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