Computer science degree, need advice...

By BornAndBred
May 27, 2005
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  1. Hi, I took Qbasic in highschool and got an A. I didn't have the money to go to a university so I went to a community college and got my associates degree in liberal arts. I took <a style='text-decoration: none; border-bottom: 3px double;' href="" onmouseover="window.status='visual basics'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">visual basics</a> and got an A and then I took java during the summer time "a four week session" and failed it. That was a mistake lol.

    Anyway I was really pissed at myself because it was the first time I failed a class and I really wanted to do well in it. I remember taking the final for the course and my mind just going blank. I swore to myself that I wouldn't let something like that make me fail it and that I will understand it when I put my mind to it. So the next fall semester I signed up for the same java course again. I took it again got A's three quarters of the way through the course, towards the end things started getting a little shaky but it was a huge improvement compared to how I did the last time I took java and wasn't really understanding it, it was boggling my mind at the time. Now I was actually understanding it and putting it to use. On the last test and the last final exam I messed up a bit and got like a 70 on them. Still far better than how I did months prior and I actually was understanding what I was doing. I was proud of myself. The professor gave me a C+ because of the final and the test before that.

    I finished that with a 3.0 gpa.

    I got a much better job being a merchandiser for nestle making a lot more money, about 40k a year so after completing my associates I signed up for going to a university and decided to go for a major in computer science.

    Do you guys think I made the right choice? I know that's a hard question to ask someone but a part of me feels lost. My main concern is money, what ever I am doing in the future I want to be making a lot of money. My second main concern is enjoying what I'm doing. I'm really good at designing things and finding solutions to design problems, debugging things on the other hand tends to be a pain for me.

    Another thing that scares me is that I will have to be taking calculus I & II as part of the computer science curriculum. I don't like math, but I do like working with computers. I know some people assume if you like working with computers you automatically like math, that's not how it is with me. I took pre calculus and got a C+ in it.

    I'm 21 yrs old and I will be starting my computer science major this fall. I tried to give you guys as much background information about me as possible so you can maybe give me some advice. I know the school tries to sell you on the major, they really want your money so I can't put a lot of faith into them. If I wasn't doing something in computer science the next thing I would do is probably something in business, I've started a few small businesses in the past and my mind works with a business mentality but then again what can you really do with a business degree? A lot of people tell me it's like a receipt for going to college because you have to be a big boss in order for it to be any use.

    The courses that scare me the most in looking at the curriculum are calculus and analytic geometry I and II. Have any of you taken those courses, if so how was it?

    I'm a very determined person and coming this fall I am going to put my heart and soul into completing the computer science major. I just hope and pray that I am not wasting my time and I don't get in there and see I hate it. I know a few people who have done that. After completing the computer science degree I plan on keep going to school and majoring in business anyway, I figure I might as well keep going to school and getting degrees that interest me since it only makes me a more solid person to hire. Do you guys think I am making the right decision? Any advice about anything related to the computer science degree is greatly appreciated.

    P.S If anyone has any advice on what I can do to go over a lot of the material I'll be covering the first year in getting my degree that will be helpful.
  2. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    First off, it's possible to get a computer major without math... It's not very common, and you have to talk to different prof's to get it, but it's there...
    Secondly, don't skip the math. It's not just manipulating numbers, but also a logical way of thinking that really helps in CS.
    But you could try to go the way of Discrete Mathematics
    As for what to go over the first year... Give us a link to the uni you're going to attend, and which program you're interested in. That will allow us to have a look at what is offered, and how they build the grade.

    My primary advice is take courses that appeal to you. That way, you're getting an education in something that interests you, and thus makes you more likely to like your job later on.

    I'm currently building my own bachelor with history and mathematics (calculus, discrete, and statistics) whilst majoring in informatics. Most likely I'll put in a bit of economics, not because I like it, but it's practical to have... The informatics part will focus on programming with a "side part" in computer graphics/game programming. Possibly adding a bit of leadership in the bachelor, or taking a Master in Informatics and Leadership.
    This should give me qualifications to do most programming jobs, with several other posibilities, not the least to climb the corporate ladder/becoming the head of IT.

    Also, don't forget that there's more to studies than lectures and curricilum. Party, get to know new people and generally enjoy life.

    As for money, there is the option of working part-time whilst studying, or see if you are eligible for a grant of any kind...
    I know that you can most (if not all) of the tuition fee payed if you study at National University of Singapore if you agree to work for a certain amount of time after for a company of Singapores choosing. Perhaps there are companies in your area willing to do the same...

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