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HeyHoHey

share you computer science college experiences and beyond.

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I am currently a senior in hs looking at colleges/applying/applied right now for computer science. I was just curious about how many here if any went to college for computer science. Where did you go? Was it useful? would you do it all again the same way? did you enjoy college more academically or socially? what was a typical day at college for you? what was your favorite part about college and least favorite? did you get a job quickly after graduation or did you have to search? feel free to tell anything else you would like to. thanks heyhohey

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Hehe lad, I just tried to mess you up... you know...

It totally depends on what you want to do next. Get in a CS major is only a small part you know... It would be your best interest to actually ask what courses you want to take and which focus you want to fall into.

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Original post by HeyHoHey
I was just curious about how many here if any went to college for computer science.


I actually did not go to college for computer science, but my curriculum was only about 4 classes off from a CS major (over the 2 years I spent). And I took a few CS courses later, though through alternative education. I also now work as a non-game developer.

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Where did you go?


Clarkson

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Was it useful?


Absolutely.

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would you do it all again the same way?


I shouldn't make the same choices, but realistically none of my motivators have changed so much as to change what choices I would make given the same situation. (If that makes any sense at all...)

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did you enjoy college more academically or socially?


Socially, which is why I washed out only 2 years in.

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what was a typical day at college for you?


Let's see. I would awake around noon, eat some ramen, play quake until my friends got out of class, had dinner, and then played some mix of Magic the Gathering or Quake until after midnight. Not exactly what I'd recommend as the ideal path.

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what was your favorite part about college and least favorite?


My favorite was clearly the LAN to t1 link to our dorm rooms joking! umm, my favorite was the freedom provided to learn how to be an adult.

The most important things you learn are how to live on your own. You get 4 years of relative safety to expand, explore and screw up so you can do well for the rest of your life (where it counts). Screwing around on the LAN taught me sufficient trade skills to get a job after college. Washing out also helped me understand very clearly my own motivators, psychology, and how those must be manipulated in order to be productive.

My least favorite part of college I guess is the inconsistent level of education. Everywhere really there are professors who are there based on tenure or research ability or any number of reasons rather than their ability as a teacher. That kinda sucks, especially when there are two sessions taught by different professors and you're stuck with the crappy one, but graded on par with the students taught by the good one.

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did you get a job quickly after graduation or did you have to search?


It took me 3 months to find a job after college, and 9 years to get into an actual dev job.

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feel free to tell anything else you would like to.


Just remember that college isn't trade school. 90% of what you learn will be outside the classroom. "Dumb" classes are useful after school too. There's a great variation in education quality, and since this is the 2nd most important investment you're ever going to make... don't settle.

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learn how to have fun. college should be the best four years of your life. getting good grades is important, but you will learn far more as a hobbyist programmer reading GD.net than you will by taking csc classes at uni.

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Original post by Telastyn
It took me 3 months to find a job after college, and 9 years to get into an actual dev job.


Wow 9 years to find a game dev job! :(((( I want to get out of college and get a job. Can I ask what was your job in those 9 years? (I mean was it something that has to do with programming/computers etc?)

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Where did you go?

The Rochester Institute of Technology for 1 year, then transferred to Cornell University.

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Was it useful?

Useful in what way? RIT was an absolute joke as far as the education goes. I had a great time and met some fun people, but I could go out drinking the night before a final and still get an A. Cornell is a wee bit different. I would say that RIT was attempting to prepare me to be an average level programmer, where Cornell is attempting to make me a high level computer scientist. The difference? RIT required courses that were far more pragmatic, where Cornell requires courses that are far more theoretical. Cornell is much more about the higher education.

Also, saying that I go to Cornell turns far more heads than RIT. That probably doesn't 'seem' helpful to you, but trust me, it is.

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would you do it all again the same way?

Sure. RIT made me appreciate my Cornell education much more.

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did you enjoy college more academically or socially?

I enjoyed them both equally. Cornell is definitely academically stimulation, but requires way more work. I hated RIT socially, except for my small group of friends. Cornell has a much more social atmosphere -- except for the engineering school. We are all nerds there.

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what was a typical day at college for you?

Wake up, go to class, play rugby, do homework. The end.

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what was your favorite part about college and least favorite?

Favorite part? Not doing work. Least favorite part? Doing work.

[quote]did you get a job quickly after graduation or did you have to search?[quote]
Haven't graduated yet, but I have had no problem getting jobs yet.

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Original post by thedustbustr
learn how to have fun. college should be the best four years of your life. getting good grades is important, but you will learn far more as a hobbyist programmer reading GD.net than you will by taking csc classes at uni.


I agree but with a few qualifications. Having a CS degree myself, I think it is important to underscore one of Telastyn's many insightful comments:

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Original post by Telastyn
Just remember that college isn't trade school.


Computer science is an academic discipline and, accordingly, you should not expect to take courses that teach the mechanics of programming. This, in my opinion, is a *good* thing; the challenge and excitement of software engineering (game-specific or otherwise) comes from wrestling with difficult abstract problems. Of course, being a good software engineer requires proficiency in programming but these skills are a means to an end. As a matter of fact, if I had to do it again, I think I would have taken the additional math course I needed to get a math minor as opposed to another CS course.

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Original post by HeyHoHey
what was a typical day at college for you?


I certainly can't speak for everyone but it has been my experience that computer science is similar to other engineering/science degrees insofar as the workload is intense. Having attended a college that was better known for liberal arts than engineering, this proved frustrating when the English majors were running around having a blast while I was holed up in my dorm or the computer lab fighting through an assignment. Ultimately, the hard work does pay off and as long as some enterprising individual installs AOE in the lab you'll have a lot of fun anyway.

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Original post by HeyHoHey
feel free to tell anything else you would like to


My advice (based on personal experience) would be to begin looking for internships and co-ops immediately. Start looking early in the year and, if the college you choose has a career development center, pay them a visit your first year. College is a great time to get your foot in the door of a top-notch software company or game studio as an intern. In addition, internship experience will help you get a better idea of where you want to specialize once you have your CS degree in hand and will greatly increase your chances of finding a job immediately after graduation.

Also, if you'd like to get a jump on your education consider contacting the computer science department of the school you decide to attend to find out what programming languages are used in freshman level courses. Between now and then, pick up how-to books and invest some time learning syntax and playing with these language. This will ensure you'll spend more time wrestling with core concepts as opposed to "why won't this compile?" issues when you begin your actual coursework.

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Quote:
Original post by sheep19
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
It took me 3 months to find a job after college, and 9 years to get into an actual dev job.


Wow 9 years to find a game dev job! :(((( I want to get out of college and get a job. Can I ask what was your job in those 9 years? (I mean was it something that has to do with programming/computers etc?)


Actually it's not a game dev job. Right at the beginning I specified non-game dev.

Anyways, I worked as a ISP tech support phone monkey for a year, Sys Admin for 5, black box QA for 3. None of them involved coding or were particularly useful preparation for doing developer work (except in learning how the business world works, though most any job will do that).

So yeah, get your degree.

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This stuff about not being able to get jobs is kinda shocking to me. I'm a senior computer engineer, I've had 2 summer internships, have had 2 offers into programming/engineering jobs, and have two more on-site interviews that I have high expectations for. Almost all the jobs I applied for also hire CSC degrees.

edited to add: Its probably also relevant that I know my shit, and that I have a very high GPA. And its not game development related.

[Edited by - thedustbustr on November 22, 2007 6:52:13 PM]

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