# Unity Study Major Q: Comp Sci vs Comp Prog

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Really, just look at what the courses offer. Computer Science/Software Engineering/Computer Systems are so vague terms that from university to university those meanings change. My full course's name is Bachelor of Applied Science (Computer Science) - that is, it's 95% programming. The first two semesters had one maths subject each, and that was it. Software Engineering is like that but with a focus on development practices. Computer Systems is electronic based. Now, research the courses near you, and pick the one that suits you most. And you're done. Don't worry about titles too much. The industry is inherently vague.

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 Original post by M Eversberg II((If this is the wrong section, sorry.))I started college last fall at a local community college, majoring in Computer Science. I scored behind, like most CS majors, in the math section and ended up several classes below the "basic" math for the major.

Most CS majors are most definitely not flaking out on math. Sorry if you took comfort in that thought.

Quote:
 Original post by M Eversberg IIAs far as careers in the game industry goes, I don't think that would be something I would do, as I've heard a lot of negativity, and SEEN a lot of bad business practices of late.

What are you referring to here?

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You probably won't end up hurting your career but you may end up hurting yourself.

Back when I went to college (mid-90s - yes I'm old) my thinking was much the same as yours seems to be - take as little math as possible. I took a CS major and my college offered three options for it which were basically the same except for the amount of math you had to take. I opted to take the track with the least amount of math and I regret it now - especially for game programming.

When I'm implementing advanced game algorithms I find myself googling and plugging in code that I don't really understand because I don't have the mathematical background. It's frustrating. I am working to correct it now but as I'm out of college with a full time job and other responsibilities it's a slow process.

In short it hasn't hurt my career (I know how to program and don't need advanced math to do or understand my work) but from an intellectual satisfaction standpoint I'm unhappy and I'd definitely choose differently if I had to do it all over again.

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I am currently going to a college Junior level for Computer Science. We do not have a Computer Programming class because we call it Computer Science and Systems. Right now we have less programming then you would imagine. In the first 2 years you just get your AA like most schools, and in that we were required to only go up to math 124 (common in most schools over here) Or first quarter of Calc, which is pretty easy. Other then that you are usually required to take a few programming classes. Other then that as others said it changes from school to school. Mine has a huge amount of math related classes called Discrete Math which sucks ass! I do not like it because proving proofs and theorems are not my cup of tea.

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 Original post by linternetYou probably won't end up hurting your career but you may end up hurting yourself.Back when I went to college (mid-90s - yes I'm old) my thinking was much the same as yours seems to be - take as little math as possible. I took a CS major and my college offered three options for it which were basically the same except for the amount of math you had to take. I opted to take the track with the least amount of math and I regret it now - especially for game programming.When I'm implementing advanced game algorithms I find myself googling and plugging in code that I don't really understand because I don't have the mathematical background. It's frustrating. I am working to correct it now but as I'm out of college with a full time job and other responsibilities it's a slow process.In short it hasn't hurt my career (I know how to program and don't need advanced math to do or understand my work) but from an intellectual satisfaction standpoint I'm unhappy and I'd definitely choose differently if I had to do it all over again.

I do intend to further my math, but mostly through electives.

M.

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I don't think that your choice of major will effect you nearly as much as your choice of school. While a lot of it is overblown, cheaper schools are cheaper for a reason (as you've seen from the poor teaching quality).

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Those looking at your resumes will also take what school you went to way too much into consideration. If you went to a school that cost a total of $100,000, they'll assume that you got a lot better of an education than if it cost$50,000, even if the classes and teachers were the exact same and you did equally as well. Its like if your completely computer-illiterate mom went to buy a new computer, she'd just assume the more expensive one is better. Usually is, but not always, and not always better in the way you intend.

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 Original post by SpodiThose looking at your resumes will also take what school you went to way too much into consideration. If you went to a school that cost a total of $100,000, they'll assume that you got a lot better of an education than if it cost$50,000, even if the classes and teachers were the exact same and you did equally as well. Its like if your completely computer-illiterate mom went to buy a new computer, she'd just assume the more expensive one is better. Usually is, but not always, and not always better in the way you intend.

Agreed. I'm only going to this community college because it's close to my house, and my grant money pays for everything. Figure it would be good for my associates in the least.

M.

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 Original post by SpodiIf you went to a school that cost a total of $100,000, they'll assume that you got a lot better of an education than if it cost$50,000, even if the classes and teachers were the exact same and you did equally as well.

I don't think that's true. Certainly if you graduate from a Stanford, MIT, Carnegie-Melon, or one of those prestigious schools it will enhance your resume significantly, but that's only because those schools are known to have solid curricula and an established reputation as some of the leading research institutions in the world. Similarly, schools on the low end--you probably know the ones, or would if you saw them--will potentially hurt you when applying for certain types of jobs.

With the VAST majority of schools, though, a degree is a degree is a degree, and the school is much less important to people than what you accomplished while studying there. Did you do any research? Did you publish? Did you choose advanced electives, maybe a few graduate level courses? Did you participate in relevant clubs (ACM, robotics, etc.)? Did you do any relevant internships or otherwise gain relevant work experience?

Those are the things that matter, not the name of the school. What sets the prestigious schools apart is that they make those opportunities more readily available and EXPECT you to participate in them. There is nothing stopping you from getting that same exposure at a mid-tier school that students might get at MIT or Stanford.

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Dude, just keep at the maths, take off distractions and look at it... Its not that difficult, you just have to keep away from multithreading (music, msn, facebool) while working and you'll fine...

Intelligence is useless without effort! ;^)

Good Luck!

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Quote:
 Original post by M Eversberg III would like to ask the board if they think I made the right choice? The Computer Programming major requires much less math, and includes a number of classes on Operating Systems and networking that are not part of a Computer Science degree there. I'm still, like most college students, unsure of what I want to 'do' in the future, but have I harmed my job outlook by opting for the "lesser" of the two programs? Game creation is still a plausible hobby for me (still have this RTS concept I think is neat, and will probably talk about that soon) and I think, as far as that goes, I'm not 'missing out' on anything. At least, I don't think.As far as careers in the game industry goes, I don't think that would be something I would do, as I've heard a lot of negativity, and SEEN a lot of bad business practices of late.:|

I would suggest you stick it out a little longer, but in the end this choice is obviously up to you. The school I attend offers 3 tracks within the BS CS. Make for dam sure that you really don't like math before you make this decision. It WILL limit your potential jobs. I personally thought I was no good at math until I turned 30 and decided to quit my job and go back to school and get my BS-CS (I had a AA in Computer Programming that basically limited me to tech support and in house programming projects... jobs no one else wants to do). I am now taking a proof based math class that is the hardest thing I have ever done (the intro class into all upper division mathematics). I put a good 30hrs a week of study into this class. It is very enlightening.

In any case you are young (i assume). I suggest you give it one more solid try (not a 'college try') before you make up your mind. And btw... I constantly think about switching to liberal studies while in the aforementioned math class. Getting frustrated is part of learning. Just make yourself think about the problem and sooner or later you will say 'ahh I see'.

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I'm currently a senior in high school, so obviously the thought on college curricula is very much in front of me as someone who is going to pursue a CS-or-similar degree. My personal thought is to challenge yourself; it can only help later. As a high school student, I'm currently taking AP Calculus (hopefully to score high enough on the AP exam to get some college credits) and, as often as I struggle with it (which is often and not aided by the fact that we're being taught by a student teacher and not our actual teacher with experience), I find that if I look at things that confuse me and ask "What the hell is going on here," I can start to gain an understanding of what's happening. I encourage you to stick it out as well.

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I may eventually undergo a CS degree attempt in the future. The math will more than likely be my electives. Another thing that has helped me decide to switch is the courses like introduction to databases, LAN administration, , and System Analysis and Design; skills I can turn around more quickly. I have a military base near by, and it attracts companies like BAE (office up the street), General Dynamics (between me and said BAE), Northrup Grummin (about 1 min away from Gen. Dynamics), and numerous other companies. I know employees and people in said companies and I may be able to land a job with them to help with my next level of studies (St. Mary's College is 30 mins from my house, and it is apparently a 'good' school). Internships with these could also help.

M.

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2 points:

1. "In the future" is dangerous when considering something as time consuming as a degree. It's difficult even without a job, a significant other, kids, bills... and the added recreation needed to keep you sane in the face of all that.

2. Beware of the 'quick turn-around' courses. College is not a trade school. You're paying to learn stuff that will last you the rest of your life. Current technology is going to be gone in a few years at the most. Don't waste your time and money learning stuff you can just as easily learn on your own or on the job. Learn the maths, algorithms, physics... Stuff that will serve you for all your days and will be significantly harder to learn without the benefit of schooling.

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 Original post by Telastyn2 points:1. "In the future" is dangerous when considering something as time consuming as a degree. It's difficult even without a job, a significant other, kids, bills... and the added recreation needed to keep you sane in the face of all that.2. Beware of the 'quick turn-around' courses. College is not a trade school. You're paying to learn stuff that will last you the rest of your life. Current technology is going to be gone in a few years at the most. Don't waste your time and money learning stuff you can just as easily learn on your own or on the job. Learn the maths, algorithms, physics... Stuff that will serve you for all your days and will be significantly harder to learn without the benefit of schooling.

Physics is going to be my science focus. I figure, of any physical science, it would serve me better than bio or chem.

M.

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"Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes" - Edsger Dijkstra

Computer science is the abstract mathematical part. You can use a telescope without being an astronomer, but an astronomer probably has a deeper understanding of what you can see in it.

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Quote:
 Original post by Vorpy"Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes" - Edsger DijkstraComputer science is the abstract mathematical part. You can use a telescope without being an astronomer, but an astronomer probably has a deeper understanding of what you can see in it.

True enough. Well, later today I finalize my changes. I really do think this is the best move for me at this time. I'm not going to neglect the math, and I will still take up through calc eventually, but with the way things are here right now I think it's best I get practical skills backed by paper. I do agree with learning skills on the job but the decent to work for companies around here aren't going to look at you if you claim to have the skill -- too risky a venture.

M.

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 Original post by M Eversberg IITrue enough. Well, later today I finalize my changes. I really do think this is the best move for me at this time. I'm not going to neglect the math, and I will still take up through calc eventually, but with the way things are here right now I think it's best I get practical skills backed by paper. I do agree with learning skills on the job but the decent to work for companies around here aren't going to look at you if you claim to have the skill -- too risky a venture.M.

Then don't claim to have the skill... Decent to work for companies are smart enough to know that 'Introduction to Databases' and 'LAN Administration' are 1 week with a book to get you started. They can teach you that if you're a little weak there. They can't teach you proper algorithm analysis in a week. They can't teach you rigid body dynamics in a week.

Every potential employee has weaknesses; things they're going to have to pick-up on the job. Make your's a minor detriment, common for a new graduate, not a deal-breaker.

If you're going to come ask for advice from people actually working, who actually know the needs and desires of programming teams (rather than the stupid keyword laden trash HR posts as job requirements) it would be prudent of you to actually take the advice.

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IT is not a bad switch from a pure CS track. I know a few people who did not want to go through the physics and math, so they switched over to the IT track. I suggested you stick it out a little longer because I perceived your post as a little unsure of what to do. It looks like you made up you mind some time before this post.

Good Luck.

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Quote:
 Original post by Vorpy"Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes" - Edsger Dijkstra

Thinking about this some more, it is also true that you don't need an astronomer for every job that involves a telescope. There is definitely stuff out there that involves programming but that doesn't require a lot of computer science knowledge. But some understanding of the science definitely helps, and as the algorithms become more complex the science becomes more important.

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Quote:
 Original post by smcIT is not a bad switch from a pure CS track. I know a few people who did not want to go through the physics and math, so they switched over to the IT track. I suggested you stick it out a little longer because I perceived your post as a little unsure of what to do. It looks like you made up you mind some time before this post.Good Luck.

Thanks for the good luck. I changed over today. I think, with the Business additions to this, it might be a good switch. I'm a natural leader type and I sort of want to lead projects in the future.

Also, I can still take algorithm analysis classes as a comp prog major.

M.

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