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Perksy

Computer Science or Computer Science with Maths?

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I'm not sure if there is where this should go, so feel free to move this if it is in the incorrect forum. Well today is the 18th, I got my AS levels results back, I got Maths - A Computing - A Art - B Spanish - D (Yes don't have a go at me for taking Spanish, that was my mistake :p) Well when I go back to college, there will be doing a whole lot of talk on Universities, now I' ve done research on Unis but need a little help on deciding between CS and CS with Maths, I have a bunch of pros and cons with them below. I plan to go into Games Programming (Suprise suprise :P) just to let you know, I need you're opinion which one of the course would be most suited? Computer Science: Pros: .Learns C++ which I know is used in the industry .Get better understanding of computers and such and programming Computer Science with Maths: Pros: .Learn Maths which would be good for CS, I know the more maths and physics is better .If I want to get out of the industry, Maths would give me a wider range of careers such as accounting or something Cons: .Not enough programming and not enough C++ (although I could teach my self in my spare time but I don't want to spend my uni social life entirely learning) . The course would be half Maths and half CS Thats about all I can think of at the moment, which degree would be more appleasing for employers of the game industry? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated, Thanks for your help.

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It really depends on what you enjoy more. If you enjoy CS most, just go the CS route, and maybe pick up some more Math classes than you need. But if you like math(I absolutely adore it), do the CS with math thing. No one can really tell you what you want unfortunatly.

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The important factor to look at is what parts of the computer science degree are replaced by the maths. In my case at York the maths replaces the hardware stuff which to me gives me the best of both worlds when it comes to combining the maths and computer science, however I do find that having a stronger maths background means that some of the computer science theoretical modules feel slow in pace.

Seriously though don't expect to, or make a requirement on your course choice of learning C++. A good computer science degree will equip you with the knowledge to understand C++ realtively quickly and I think that learning some of the more esoteric languages out there that are taught in Universities is good for you if you spend your own time supplementing this with your own learning(this is where you should look to learn C/C++). I'd also recommend that you take a look at sandwich courses, as spending a year in industry is going to increase your employment prospects afterwards much more than simply coming out of uni with a degree. I'm currently on my sandwich year and am benefiting from it enormously - I'd highly recommend it.

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It's my experience that in the long run, the stronger your math skills are, the more advantage you have over other developers. I'd go for the math.

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I say math just because I think you should be pursuing more breadth right now. Spread yourself out. Try new things. If you focus too heavily in one subject for too long, you risk burning yourself out. You'll have plenty of time in college to cover all the things that will make you a good programmer.

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Quote:
Original post by PerksyComputer Science:
Pros: .Learns C++ which I know is used in the industry
.Get better understanding of computers and such and programming

You can remove #1 from the list. The entire point about CS is that it's not about learning language 'X'. It's about teaching you everything you need to know to deal with programming, whether or not you know the language you're supposed to work in. As such, whether or not you learn C++ doesn't really matter. You'll pick it up sooner or later anyway, I guarantee that. And if they teach it at uni, you can be sure they won't focus the entire degree (or even that course) around it. It's one of many tools, which you pick up as you need them.
C++, and "plain" programming in general just isn't the center of CS with or without math.

Quote:

Computer Science with Maths:
Pros: .Learn Maths which would be good for CS, I know the more maths and
physics is better
.If I want to get out of the industry, Maths would give me a wider range
of careers such as accounting or something

Cons: .Not enough programming and not enough C++ (although I could teach my
self in my spare time but I don't want to spend my uni social life
entirely learning)
. The course would be half Maths and half CS


Math is good. Other subjects getting pushed out is bad. :)
So find out what gets pushed out, before you can make a decision.
As for the cons, once again, programming or C++ doesn't matter. You'll pick that up anyway.

Now, a few questions. How do you feel about math? Do you get a kick out of it? Could you imagine actually studying math instead of CS?
If not, you might get more out of "plain" CS.

On a side note though, the CS/Math students at my university make really great programmers. They get all the core CS stuff as well, plus the math, and the result is usually good.

But the bottom line as far as I'm concerned, is only pick CS+math if you actually think you'll like the math part.

Keep in mind that while math is definitely important, it does take up time that could be spent learning other important things. And in either case, you could always just pick up the missing stuff later. So it's not like it's a huge life or death decision. If you pick CS, you can study some math in your spare time, if you like, or just read up on it as you need it. Or you could do it the other way around, of course.

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I agree with Spoonbender here. Don't go to university just to become a programmer. I've got a maths degree and a software engineering degree, and the most useful parts of comp.sci. and soft.eng. were not the programming but the design (of algorithms, data structures, program architecture etc.). That will give you an edge over those who are merely code monkeys.

For game programming, I'd recommend as much maths as you can take. Computer science with maths will be ideal. However, you seem to be listing maths as a negative in your pros and cons there, and if you hate maths then maybe that would not be right for you (due to the difficult nature of maths at the university level you are going to have to like it to do well).

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I'm not sure how it is in the UK, but in my degree
(just computer science)

I can pretty much choose whatever I want as long as I meet the requirements for a certain number of units of computer science subjects - As it turns out i'm doing maths for most of my electives anyway.

I absolutely hate it, but I'm not bad at it so I guess it's Ok.

I was told that here at my university, a degree in "Maths & Computer Science" is mainly focused on maths, only taking a few CS subjects, which is not what I want - so make sure you find out what the focus of the degree is.

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I think that you should definitely go with the comp sci with maths option. I was in very much the same position as you a year ago, and although I'm very much interested in computing, I decided to just go for undiluted maths for the course I'll be starting in October. Both maths and computer science train you to analyse problems abstractly, and as such would be a perfect compliment to each other in that respect, and both subjects will provide you with relevant techniques. Also with maths-related degrees, you'll be able to take modules in "applied mathematics", a lot of which will basically be physics without the experiments; this experience in setting up abstract mathematical models of physical situations would no doubt be fantastic for games programming, and is something that a lot of plain CS degrees don't provide.

Just my thougths on the matter, from someone who was in the same place not too long ago.

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