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help choosing a major!

Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
so, i'm sure this sounds like a very typical problem with college students.

because it is.

but yet here i am, thinking naught but a few months ago i had everything figured out; and now, i'm so conflicted as to what to consider.

here's the deal:

up until like two months ago, i was pretty thoroughly convinced i was going to go into comp science, and then do whatever from there. i am extremely capable with computers - i have had an aptitude my entire life, thus it felt only logical.

but now, i'm thinking: man, computers have been me, and i think it's time for a change. i'm moving away from the computer dynamic, and i'm thinking of other options.

i'm thinking of majoring in shit like biology, or maybe going to law school or something crazy like that, but i'm so conflicted because i know that if i went in for computer science i could probably do really well, but with stuff like biology/pre-law, i have no idea how i'm going to do.

hell, i don't even know that with my current shitty GPA (2.77 cumulative), if i can even get into law school.

relevant data: i've attended a community college for about two years, i have enough credits to transfer to a 4 year university with an associates in arts and sciences (basically meaning i skip all general ed. classes) - or, if i spend another year at this community college, i can transfer off with an associates in sciences, and go for computer science/biology

at this juncture i don't even know what to do. stick with what i know i'm capable of doing, which is what my father is really an advocate of, or push myself to truly see what i'm capable of doing.

halp. :(

Xenocide Geek on
i wanted love, i needed love
most of all, most of all
someone said true love was dead
but i'm bound to fall
bound to fall for you
oh what can i do

Posts

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    University is a bad time to decide to try something new. If you hate/are incompetant at Computer Science, drop it. If you don't, and think you will do well, stick at it, and minor in something else for life flavour.

    Just doing something out of the blue is not going to help your GPA.

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    On the other hand, I think college is a great time to figure out what you want to do, as long as you can afford it.
    What year are you in? When are you set to graduate?

    Why don't you take some intro classes into some of these fields.

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    what are you decently good at and isn't boring/hated enough to make you smash your head against a wall if you worked in it for a few years? That's what you should major in

  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Personally, I was going to do CS, and ended up doing a Psychology major and a CS minor. I'm better at Psych, and more interested, but CS has been a good place to see what I could do to apply my ideas. Plus, I like making programs.

    My roommate is a very proficient programmer, and he's actually made cash designing websites, but he's an Electrical Engineering major because he's not interested in the job market of CS majors.

    Basically, if you're good with computers you don't need to abandon them for a new major. You can use them to do some applied work in your new major.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    i'm thinking of majoring in shit like biology, or maybe going to law school or something crazy like that, but i'm so conflicted because i know that if i went in for computer science i could probably do really well, but with stuff like biology/pre-law, i have no idea how i'm going to do.

    hell, i don't even know that with my current shitty GPA (2.77 cumulative), if i can even get into law school.
    :(

    Don't go into law school unless you are 100% sure that is what you want to do. Do not go to law school because you like to argue, or you think it would be fun, or because you can't think of anything better, because you will probably hate it and fail out, or if you do it, become a lawyer who hates his job.

  • ZilartZilart Registered User
    edited April 2008
    I just have to throw out my experience with choosing something that you are not-so-familiar-whit in uni .. I've been studying music for the last 4 or so years. Last fall I chose a economics Bachelor because I figured that was what I wanted to do with my life. I was so wrong; it was a failure and I am now paying a big loan because of it. I understand the feeling very well, but what happened to me was that I realized I should really educate myself in Music because it's what I am familiar with; what I am good at. Not that it would necessarily be the same for you, of course. Just throwing it out there.

  • MrOlettaMrOletta Registered User
    edited April 2008
    It's definitely a tough decision, and something you shouldn't take lightly. I was in the same boat - started off as a CS major, and was good at it (I too have toying with computers/programming since I was young). I ended up switching to Physics and getting a Math minor.

    Now I'm currently a laser engineer who utilizes my programming skills on a daily basis.

    Your decision of switching is doable, but just be careful because it's easy to not do so well once you switch, thus screwing your GPA. I've always been a science nerd so I excelled at physics/math.

  • falsedeffalsedef Registered User
    edited April 2008
    I don't really consider being "good at computers" to be a precursor to doing CS. They're not really the same thing. The passion and interest is good, but a lot of kids start off without any knowledge of computers and do just as fine (this is especially true of poorer students who didn't own their own computers). Then there's others who believe they're excellent at computers, but end up dropping ship (kekeke?) once the actual theory and math hits.

    I don't think there's a difficulty curve in switching, you just gotta have a passion for whatever you're switching to. Just realize that the computers you know, and what a computer scientist knows, are different things. If you want to learn what a computer scientist knows, then stick with it. If not, then find something else, please. You'd be doing everyone a favor.

  • valtzyvaltzy Registered User
    edited April 2008
    some of the intro to biology classes are a bit misleading in how simple they are. the more advanced classes are pretty aggravating in the amount of memorization you have to do. a bio major also needs organic chemistry, which is probably one of the hugest chemistry cockblocks ever. be prepared to dissect various animals in the labs and make aggravating powerpoint presentations.

    but if you really enjoy biology (or have something more than a passing interest) and are willing to put in the time and effort (this is important), then yeah, go for it.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Lewisham wrote: »
    University is a bad time to decide to try something new. If you hate/are incompetant at Computer Science, drop it. If you don't, and think you will do well, stick at it, and minor in something else for life flavour.

    Just doing something out of the blue is not going to help your GPA.

    This generally doesn't apply to college in the U.S.

    College is very much the time to try new things. Try things that seem interesting, and stick with what you like. Don't assume that you have to pick a major that leads to a specific career you want to pursue. Many people in the U.S. pursue careers that have nothing to do with their college major. The main exception of course is you do have to focus on premed if you want to go to medical school.

    I majored in Computer Science on a whim. I was considering Math, but I heard from one too many unsatisfied math majors and decided to try something else. I worked both programming and I.T. jobs for the 2 years after I graduated to support myself while I was hanging out, playing music, and running a record label I started. Now I'm in law school, which doesn't come as easily to me as hard sciences do, but I'm enjoying it very much. You definitely don't have to major Pre-Law if you decide you want to go to law school later. In fact, science majors are actually sought after to an extent.

    My advice, take intro classes in a few areas that interest you and get a feel for it. Talk to your instructors during office hours and ask them about the curriculum in those fields of study.

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Why don't we reverse engineer this whole thing...what job would you love to have?

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    i am extremely capable with computers - i have had an aptitude my entire life, thus it felt only logical.

    There's nothing wrong with computer science; there are many good career paths available and it is intellectually challenging.

    There are different kinds of proficiencies and aptitudes with computers, of course. You need to take this into account when choosing a major - CS or otherwise. You didn't indicate what kind of aptitude you have. I went to school with the first wave of the Nintendo generation to come of age, and many of them thought that their passion for computers (and, let's face it, playing video games) would translate into being good computer scientists. This was also at the very beginning of the Web, when it had just started to become clear that computers were going to move from being office productivity tools to a tightly-integrated aspect of daily life. This was the first year when "computers" was up there with "doctor" and "lawyer" on the list of highly-respectable careers for helicopter or foreign parents.

    The 100-level CS courses were filled to the brim with a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty students. Then they had to learn to code.

    This mere fact alone weeded out about 70% of the students. I'm sure some of them were felled by the discrete math as well. These students were pretty surprised to discover that making video games was a lot less fun than playing them. Some were surprised to find out that their skill in troubleshooting printer problems and their ability to understand the output of 'winipcfg' (ipconfig didn't exist yet) didn't translate into programming skill. The class sizes went from 150 to 40 in the second year. 110 students became physics majors, or bio majors, or econ majors, or sociology majors. I am certain that a good percentage of these 110 students had a better aptitude with computers than their peers in high school.

    This is not to say that computer science is computer programming. However, you will need to learn to code. Some people, even those that love computing in general, just hate coding. A very good friend of mine is an IT guy for a local college. He loves it, he's very good at it, and he got an IT degree while working, but left CS because he just couldn't handle the coding. Some research indicates that there might be a mindset that is particularly appropriate for programming and computer science. A fascinating if initial study from a group in the UK found that you could predict the performance of a new CS student never exposed to programming with a particular test that I would call a symbolic logic test. It turned out that performance really wasn't dependent on getting the answers right, but it was dependent on whether your method for answering was consistent throughout the test.

    Although the researchers claim this is non-intuitive for some academics, it makes perfect sense to me. To some extent, succeeding in computer science is largely dependent on whether you can "think like a computer." This does not mean you go around acting like an automaton (although many CS people do). This means that you can create complex mental models of things that aren't real, and then understand (and oftentimes mentally simulate), step by step, how to transform these things to achieve desired results. It's sort of like being a cross between a mathematician and a car mechanic. Many people are also thwarted by the extreme precision necessary. You can bullshit a Sociology professor, but you can't bullshit the computer.

    Spoiler:
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited April 2008
    valtzy wrote: »
    some of the intro to biology classes are a bit misleading in how simple they are. the more advanced classes are pretty aggravating in the amount of memorization you have to do. a bio major also needs organic chemistry, which is probably one of the hugest chemistry cockblocks ever. be prepared to dissect various animals in the labs and make aggravating powerpoint presentations.

    but if you really enjoy biology (or have something more than a passing interest) and are willing to put in the time and effort (this is important), then yeah, go for it.

    Just to correct this - if your school's biology program is focused on pre-meds (or is crappy), then this might be true, but a GOOD higher-level biology class should have almost zero memorization (and every single biology test I had in undergrad, and I believe my organic chem tests as well, were either fully open book or at least let you bring a couple pages of notes).

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing on the difficulty level, but real biology is much more about knowing the tools (whether biochemistry, computational, etc) that are available and trying to solve problems and much much less about memorizing a ton of crap that you could open any one of 40 books lying around the lab to find out...

  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    wow lots of feedback, thanks for all the advice


    improvolone: technically speaking i'm in year 2, this coming summer. i attended a "running start" program, which enabled me to start gaining college credits starting when i was 17, and i'm 19 now. if i just went for an AAS, i could transfer off to a 4year college right now, which is so tempting, because i'm getting a bit tired of my community college.

    neaden: been taking an english class where we're focusing a lot on topics like death penalty, first amendment rights, etc, and it really super sparked an interest in constitutional law in me, which is why i was thinking law. maybe i'm misguided.

    perhaps it'd help more if i expanded upon what i want to do after uni:

    i plan to be an entrepreneur, probably starting my own company during/right after uni, or finding a decent job in the industry that i plan to start my business in, and learning about an industry for a couple years.

    my main problem with CS is that computers have always been at the forefront of my interests, and i feel as if i'm gonna be locking myself into a particular path if i take CS.

    i have a huge interest in writing, and the sciences in general (i've taken intros to biology, meteorology, astronomy, and psychology so far), but i'm so fucking conflicted.

    when i hear advice such as "major in something that pertains to something you love doing", i don't even know how to answer. perhaps my problem is just too situational to get any advice that pertains specifically to me, although i do appreciate all of it.

    right now i'm considering the following as majors:

    english
    biology
    computer science
    business administration

    thanks for all the advice so far. :o

    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
    but i'm bound to fall
    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Okay, what would you want to do with either of those degrees?

    There are some unique majors out there that you would never even think of, but might be interested in. For instance...
    http://www.catalog.sdes.ucf.edu/current/degree_programs/#
    I go to UCF, so I'm kinda familiar with them... expecially since it took me 4 majors to decide what to finish with. They're one of the only schools to offer an undergrad forensics program. Kinda neat shit that I'll ebt you never thought of, eh? With the way that alot of the job market has been turning, it's no longer a case of "well, I hire people with THIS degree!"
    Hell, Disney's Imagineers can have nearly any background and still get the job.

    I started as a Forensic Science major, then Electrical Engineering, then Electrical Engineering-Design Concentration, then ALMOST Business, and finally Theatre. It occured to me that when I looked forward to see what I wanted to do...
    I wanted to be a Forensics investigator because the entire thing is a giant puzzle to me. Puzzles interest me. Piecing stuff together like that, I love it. Then I realized Chem and I don't mix, so I went to EE. I figured, hey, it's a good field, I can figure out what I want to do the semester I take it. I got into EE, it's real neat working with circuits, etc. This is why I decided to go into the Design Concentration. The computer coding classes were great, the modeling classes were awesome, but here's the thing... I was doing alot of theatre work. In the back of my mind I figured, "hey, with this background I can do THIS in theatre"
    So fuck it, I chose theatre. Everything I had been doing had be creating. So, I chose the option that would train me to create the best.



    If you wanted to be a stuntman, there is a way to go about getting there.
    What do you want to do?

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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited April 2008

    neaden: been taking an english class where we're focusing a lot on topics like death penalty, first amendment rights, etc, and it really super sparked an interest in constitutional law in me, which is why i was thinking law. maybe i'm misguided.

    I don't mean to make you think being a lawyer is a horrible thing. My dad is an attorney though, so I've seen a lot of the bad sides of it. Here's a list of the bad sides of law school.

  • falsedeffalsedef Registered User
    edited April 2008
    Passing interest in shit isn't how you choose a major, otherwise you'll pull the old switcheroo over and over.

    If you can't choose one thing and be happy with it, chances are you weren't that interested about it in the first place. Choose the thing you like the most that will help you the most in your career, and stick with it.

    From the sound of your business side, you might want to look up business informatics, information systems, or IT. Honestly, you don't actually sound that interested in CS, and all this talk about "computers" doesn't really give me any indication otherwise.

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    falsedef wrote: »
    Passing interest in shit isn't how you choose a major, otherwise you'll pull the old switcheroo over and over.

    If you can't choose one thing and be happy with it, chances are you weren't that interested about it in the first place. Choose the thing you like the most that will help you the most in your career, and stick with it.

    From the sound of your business side, you might want to look up business informatics, information systems, or IT. Honestly, you don't actually sound that interested in CS, and all this talk about "computers" doesn't really give me any indication otherwise.

    I agree with all of this :^:

  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    You sound a lot like me at that point. I was a computer science major in the beginning with a great aptitude for computers. What switched it for me was that I got a job about halfway through college and realized that I hated it and if I had to do that for the next 40 years I would go insane. Ultimately, I went into Cinema and Television with an emphasis in computer animation. This may or may not be for you, however.

    As was said, passing fancies is not a way to pick a major. They are way to do some soul-searching, however. Try to figure out what it is about those that interests you. Why do they catch your fancy?

    Also, just as a note, don't think that your major is going to decide your course in life or your career. The last statistic I heard was that people change careers (not jobs) an average of three times during their life. Also, most of the people I have met, including myself, are not working in the field that they majored in in college. I got my bachelor's in Cinema and Television, but now I work as an air quality scientist. And I'm thinking of switching again soon, getting my Master's in Creative Writing and seeing if I can find a teaching position somewhere. So don't worry too much about your major. Whatever you choose will NOT set your future in stone.

  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    the biggest thing that drew me towards CS was the fact that i could be creative whilst still pursuing a career involving what i was passionate about: computers.

    i know all my babbling about "computers" blah blah make me sound like i don't what the fuck i'm talking about, but i do know somewhat given how i know how to write "hello world" in like 15 different fucking languages

    i've never had the motivation to teach myself (hence why i only got up to hello world and some basic input/output stuff...), thus i was going to pursue CS because, as i said before, it lets me be creative, and provides the structure that i need to be taught how to program.

    i taught myself CSS and XHTML a couple days ago, and was going to soon be delving into PHP/JavaScript before i had this wild revelation that this might not be what i actually want.

    i am very much so a creative person. any job avenue i pursue is going to hopefully be involving something to do with creation, and innovation. that's why i chose CS over IT/networking/whatever. i mean, i guess i could be creative being a cable jockey... use tie wraps to make neat designs or some shit.

    anyways i feel like i'm being contrary to a lot of the good advice people are suggesting, and it's mostly my fault since i can't get across what i want to do, primarily because i don't fucking know; so i'm sorry about that.

    the main thing i know is this: i want to do something creative.

    a question i have now is this: given what i just said, how i chose CS because i perceived it to be an avenue for creativity, was this a bad line of thought to have?

    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
    but i'm bound to fall
    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
  • falsedeffalsedef Registered User
    edited April 2008
    Info science, IT, informatics:
    Spoiler:

    What CS is NOT:
    Spoiler:

    Creativity and CS?
    Spoiler:

    This is just stuff you should know by now after spending 2 whole years at school.

    I really hope you haven't been misled by your CS professors or school. Have you even started your CS classes? I also hope you've taken your math. GEs are for liberal arts majors. You finish off GEs after transferring when you're in a science or technical field.

  • HlubockyHlubocky Registered User
    edited April 2008
    Info science, IT, informatics:
    Well, lets first start off with IT. I'm talking about the IT programs from respected schools, not ITT and Devry vocational wastes. You don't do it to work with cables, you do it for creating systems and management. You gain a wide breadth, not only in macro systems, but in learning.

    Informatics is about data management (in many different areas), social ramifications, etc. (it's a big field, just like CS). In many ways, IT/Informatics/Info science are wide open doors to business systems.


    What CS is NOT:
    Now, have you ever heard this quote, "Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes"? The computer is a tool to express an idea and a result. The language is also a tool. Knowing languages doesn't make a linguist (salut, le monde?), and neither does it make a computer scientist.

    I was making webpages before puberty. It's a common occurrence for CS majors to do that stuff on the side. But I certainly wasn't learning shit about CS. Experimenting (think methodology, not tinkering) with and researching languages? Making unique languages? Now were getting into CS. Being a code monkey? Not CS.


    Creativity and CS?
    There's some areas of CS where the artistic merits can be apparent: graphics, AI, UI. There's also hybrid art/CS programs.

    There's also emerging areas, like Media Arts and Sciences (you usually need to be a trained computer scientist to enter this field), where art is a key concept. Look up the MIT Media Lab.

    However, many areas are not visual -- but almost always active. The process (algorithms/semantics, syntax) means something, and the end result means even more. Computer scientists solve problems. The problems range from social, technical, entertainment, medical, you name it.

    That's the best thing about CS. You create something (which some might consider beautiful) that DOES something beautiful. This isn't even gonna happen in your CS program, this is shit you do after you have learned the basics of CS (earned a B.S.).

    Side note: There's a large movement trying to tie code itself with art. I think it's overblown. There's some truth to it, similar to architecture, but it's not a full analogy.


    This is just stuff you should know by now after spending 2 whole years at school.

    I really hope you haven't been misled by your CS professors or school. Have you even started your CS classes? I also hope you've taken your math. GEs are for liberal arts majors. You finish off GEs after transferring when you're in a science or technical field.

    Are you still in school? I'm not saying you are incorrect, though what you are saying sounds like a lot of idealized bullshit. At the end of the day, when you get a job, you will be writing software for a company so that they can make money and pay you. It isn't glamorous or arty or whatever. That doesn't mean you won't have fun, enjoy what you do, make a ton of money, etc (I do and love my job)... just don't get the wrong idea. There are some different kinds of work you can do with the degree. If you like traveling, being a consultant might be up your alley. If you love doing research, then by all means stay in school and teach. There are a bunch of options, but all involve loving what you do. If you don't love it, people will be able to tell and you won't be hired for the great jobs that are out there.

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Hlubocky wrote: »

    Are you still in school? I'm not saying you are incorrect, though what you are saying sounds like a lot of idealized bullshit. At the end of the day, when you get a job, you will be writing software for a company so that they can make money and pay you. It isn't glamorous or arty or whatever. That doesn't mean you won't have fun, enjoy what you do, make a ton of money, etc (I do and love my job)... just don't get the wrong idea. There are some different kinds of work you can do with the degree. If you like traveling, being a consultant might be up your alley. If you love doing research, then by all means stay in school and teach. There are a bunch of options, but all involve loving what you do. If you don't love it, people will be able to tell and you won't be hired for the great jobs that are out there.

    Yeah, that's a good point. I came out of CS having enjoyed what I did, but knowing I didn't want to be a code monkey. The majority of IT positions are pretty much code monkey (at least here in Wellington) and I hated it. No autonomy, no pride, no creativity. Just do what you're told as quickly as possible. I got the hell out of there, took a job as a programmer for the CS department at the uni, and couldn't be happier.

    All degrees have their good jobs and their crap jobs that they lead to. You've pointed out a couple of good routes.

  • TheungryTheungry Registered User
    edited April 2008
    oldsak wrote: »
    Lewisham wrote: »
    University is a bad time to decide to try something new. If you hate/are incompetant at Computer Science, drop it. If you don't, and think you will do well, stick at it, and minor in something else for life flavour.

    Just doing something out of the blue is not going to help your GPA.

    This generally doesn't apply to college in the U.S.

    College in the U.S. is not the place to make choices lightly. The path you are choosing is going to shape your career, not just in what you are learning, but in the internships you will take, and the professional network you will develop. You should work towards the career you most realistically see yourself succeeding at and enjoying. You don't want to try on new hats because they might be interesting. You ought to think about what jobs people with your degree would have at entry level through 10 years into their career.

    Unfortunately, western cultures frown upon arranged marriages, so the vast majority of people have to take risks in order to get into relationships.
  • falsedeffalsedef Registered User
    edited April 2008
    Hlubocky wrote: »

    Are you still in school? I'm not saying you are incorrect, though what you are saying sounds like a lot of idealized bullshit. At the end of the day, when you get a job, you will be writing software for a company so that they can make money and pay you. It isn't glamorous or arty or whatever. That doesn't mean you won't have fun, enjoy what you do, make a ton of money, etc (I do and love my job)... just don't get the wrong idea. There are some different kinds of work you can do with the degree. If you like traveling, being a consultant might be up your alley. If you love doing research, then by all means stay in school and teach. There are a bunch of options, but all involve loving what you do. If you don't love it, people will be able to tell and you won't be hired for the great jobs that are out there.

    Way to mess up my spoiler tags. :(

    Anyhow, if I gave the impression of idealization or that I was trying to sell CS, I wasn't. In fact, I'd rather have people know up front what CS education entails and the options available. The reason I didn't mention my job is because I didn't want to paint too much of an idealized picture. My job falls into the range of creativity and produces cool shit, but is fairly rare and not as creative as hybrid art tech.

    Really, I hate people who limp through CS, just for the money or who for no reason at all, without even knowing what CS is really about.

    Now, I know plenty of guys who do limp through CS. They end up doing shit like reimplementing bank databases over and over, and are happy for the money, but not really much else. They're just dead weight. This isn't as much of a problem anymore after the dotcom bubble burst, but some CS programs are still impacted. I have a friend who changes jobs every 6mos, and goes for money. He's knowledgeable, but he never sounded happy about his field or career. I have a friend who cruised through CS knowing jack shit, but now works on systems he has no idea about, but was hired anyways due to race (he told me).

    Then there's the guys I know who like CS, but just hopped onto whatever they could. They're happy, but they're not in creative positions or anything. I have a friend that did a consultation internship, liked it, and liked the paycheck even more, and stuck with it after graduating. I have a friend who works for a large firm, but his interests are really in audio software. It's a shame that there's not much jobs in that field, but he's still happy at his megacorp. Then I have a friend who always wanted to do databases and loves software engineering. He learned C# and .NET on his own, just so he can do business programming.

    But there's also people who do make a difference, or who make cool stuff. Academics (real CS) get paid to solve interesting problems. Much of new startups revolve around the idea of making something unique and interesting that helps people. Then there's stuff that might not be creative, but is meaningful. I have a relative that makes medical imaging software, which he's very proud of. I'm not gonna go too far into it, but there really are many creative, interesting, or helpful jobs out there for CS majors.

    You can certainly work at Initech doing databases if you want (my nightmare job), but there are other options.

  • ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Theungry wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Lewisham wrote: »
    University is a bad time to decide to try something new. If you hate/are incompetant at Computer Science, drop it. If you don't, and think you will do well, stick at it, and minor in something else for life flavour.

    Just doing something out of the blue is not going to help your GPA.

    This generally doesn't apply to college in the U.S.

    College in the U.S. is not the place to make choices lightly. The path you are choosing is going to shape your career, not just in what you are learning, but in the internships you will take, and the professional network you will develop. You should work towards the career you most realistically see yourself succeeding at and enjoying. You don't want to try on new hats because they might be interesting. You ought to think about what jobs people with your degree would have at entry level through 10 years into their career.

    no, don't make choices lightly... but a great many students change what they thought their major was going to be after a year or two of post-secondary. I know I did. That's why first year you should take a lot of general arts and science classes, to get a feel for various things and see what seems to fit best. No it won't tell you what the upper year classes are like but it's better than devoting your education to something you find unbearably dull.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Theungry wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Lewisham wrote: »
    University is a bad time to decide to try something new. If you hate/are incompetant at Computer Science, drop it. If you don't, and think you will do well, stick at it, and minor in something else for life flavour.

    Just doing something out of the blue is not going to help your GPA.

    This generally doesn't apply to college in the U.S.

    College in the U.S. is not the place to make choices lightly. The path you are choosing is going to shape your career, not just in what you are learning, but in the internships you will take, and the professional network you will develop. You should work towards the career you most realistically see yourself succeeding at and enjoying. You don't want to try on new hats because they might be interesting. You ought to think about what jobs people with your degree would have at entry level through 10 years into their career.

    Well I'm one of those who believes graduate school is the place to focus on an area of study for your career path, whereas undergrad is an opportunity to gain a well rounded education and focus on learning things you like to learn. Learning things you like to learn is what helps you maintain a good gpa which can then get you into a graduate progam geared towards your career path.


    To the OP: I know you mentioned interest in Biology in addition to Computer Science. If you're interested in several sciences, there is such a major as General Science which allows you to study several areas rather than having to focus as much on a single one.

  • SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Theungry wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Lewisham wrote: »
    University is a bad time to decide to try something new. If you hate/are incompetant at Computer Science, drop it. If you don't, and think you will do well, stick at it, and minor in something else for life flavour.

    Just doing something out of the blue is not going to help your GPA.

    This generally doesn't apply to college in the U.S.

    College in the U.S. is not the place to make choices lightly. The path you are choosing is going to shape your career, not just in what you are learning, but in the internships you will take, and the professional network you will develop. You should work towards the career you most realistically see yourself succeeding at and enjoying. You don't want to try on new hats because they might be interesting. You ought to think about what jobs people with your degree would have at entry level through 10 years into their career.

    Nonsense.

    People change careers seven or eight times over the span of their working life. Building this up as a catastrophic decision you have to lock yourself into that includes a decade of planning is ridiculous. Especially for an undergraduate degree.

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    Nor days of gloom, nor darkness -
    Being walkers with the sun and morning.
  • panksea06panksea06 Registered User
    edited April 2008
    As a college student who thought he was all figured out to do Comp Sci but then had to change plans (fuck you high level calculus required math for admission into program) I know how it is hard to change plans.

    I am sticking to something kind of similar, a computer related feild at my school, but then doubling with a Pre-law style major (Law Societies and Justice in my case) to be well rounded. Ideally this will transition into something neat, like me actually going the computer job route, or going the law job route, or going the IP or patent law route and combining both.

    So trying to look into the double major route, or starting out with the other path intended as a minor seems like a better idea than just entirely dropping a field that you are good at, since knowing both is always better than knowing one or the other, provided you have enough time and money to do the slightly more school it will take (I can in with alot of credits, so am looking at either no more school past four years, or only very slightly more).

    How can they expect me to have a sig when I am too lame to upload an avatar after 2 ye- oh wait...
  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    panksea06 wrote: »
    As a college student who thought he was all figured out to do Comp Sci but then had to change plans (fuck you high level calculus required math for admission into program) I know how it is hard to change plans.

    I am sticking to something kind of similar, a computer related feild at my school, but then doubling with a Pre-law style major (Law Societies and Justice in my case) to be well rounded. Ideally this will transition into something neat, like me actually going the computer job route, or going the law job route, or going the IP or patent law route and combining both.

    So trying to look into the double major route, or starting out with the other path intended as a minor seems like a better idea than just entirely dropping a field that you are good at, since knowing both is always better than knowing one or the other, provided you have enough time and money to do the slightly more school it will take (I can in with alot of credits, so am looking at either no more school past four years, or only very slightly more).

    i notice you go to UW - i'm currently going to BCC (bellevue community college) and all the fucking transfer programs to other 4 year unis (western, seattle u, etc) for computer science require Calculus III, so i have like... 4-5 more quarters at this fucking community college before i can even transfer, so i know exactly what you're talking about

    it's fucking infuriating, and the level of math required is def. influencing my opinion on the subject. it's not that i dislike math, it's just so much fucking math.

    i've thought about double majoring, not sure what in exactly, but that's probably the idea i've thought about the most so far.

    nice to hear that somebody else went "jesus fuck" at the required amount of (initial) math for good CSE programs in this area, tho

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    bound to fall for you
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  • HlubockyHlubocky Registered User
    edited April 2008
    By the time I graduated with my BS in Computer Science, I probably had 12 math classes under my belt. The science of computing is mostly math with a little bit of programming thrown in. There are definitely more applied programs, where the courses read like books in a mall bookstore (C, advanced C, C++, C++ 2, Java, Mainframe assembly, advanced mainframe assembly, and on and on). The well regarded programs are always theory first, programming second. I suspect that the theory based programs give the people who are really in love with the material a great foundation, but for those looking to scrape by, you probably leave school with few marketable skills.

    When we do hiring, we always look for people from the more well regarded (theoretical) programs as these generally have higher requirements for admission and even the 3.0 gpa students tend to be fairly intelligent. Whenever we go to the more applied schools to hire, it usually ends up being a diamond in the rough scenario, where we might find a few talented people, but they are fewer and far between.

  • rvcontre78rvcontre78 Registered User
    edited April 2008
    Unless you want to be a doctor or go into academia/research for biology I would stay away from that major. A life science based career like chemical engineering probably would be easier gotten with a chemistry degree. I only went into a biology degree for one reason and if I didn't get into med school I'd have very few options that would interest me.

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  • TheungryTheungry Registered User
    edited April 2008
    ihmmy wrote:
    no, don't make choices lightly... but a great many students change what they thought their major was going to be after a year or two of post-secondary. I know I did. That's why first year you should take a lot of general arts and science classes, to get a feel for various things and see what seems to fit best. No it won't tell you what the upper year classes are like but it's better than devoting your education to something you find unbearably dull.

    I would agree in regard to a first year student, but the OP mentioned 2 years at community college, which kind of changes the complexion.
    oldsak wrote:
    Well I'm one of those who believes graduate school is the place to focus on an area of study for your career path, whereas undergrad is an opportunity to gain a well rounded education and focus on learning things you like to learn.

    I agree that grad school is a much better place to grow a career, and urge anyone with the means to pursue it, but its not exactly cheap or easily accessible for all. If the OP is transferring from community college, I am guessing that cost is an issue, and thus a quicker in-road to satisfying work is probably going to be a big value add.
    Speaker wrote:
    Nonsense.

    People change careers seven or eight times over the span of their working life. Building this up as a catastrophic decision you have to lock yourself into that includes a decade of planning is ridiculous. Especially for an undergraduate degree.

    I don't recall portraying a catastrophe. I think its important and helpful to think about the work you will get outside of college. College is expensive. Yes, it should be interesting and intellectually stimulating, but it should also be giving you some return on that investment. I don't work in the field I studied, and it hasn't really killed me, but I think its a good thing for those who can find that synergy. People who think 5 to 10 years ahead aren't locked into any decision, but it does help them put decisions in a larger context.

    Unfortunately, western cultures frown upon arranged marriages, so the vast majority of people have to take risks in order to get into relationships.
  • spacerobotspacerobot Registered User
    edited April 2008
    On the topic of getting a career in your major- I'm graduating in 3 weeks with my degree in Psychology. I'm going to be joining the Peace Corps next January to work in Youth Development. When I get out of the Peace Corps, I have no clue what I will do, or if it will have anything to do with Psychology. All that matters is that I will have a bachelors degree and will have options. Who knows how much my life will change in the next three years? The same can be said about college... people change their majors because the person changes, and their interests change. I say keep your options open and explore different academic fields to find what you like. Take even one semester taking a wide range of gen-ed courses.

    I kind of started out in a position like you. When I went into college (and a few years before) I knew I wanted to get my degree in computer science, as I wanted to make video games. After finally getting the math requirements out of the way to begin computer science, I quickly found that it was not meant for me, and decide to approach a new major.

    When I was trying to find a new major, I had to think back on what I have enjoyed in my life. The best job I ever had was working at a camp with children, being a camp counselor. I decided to go into Elementary Education. While in Education I did fairly well and enjoyed it... but my GPA was 1/10th of a point below the required GPA to be accepted in the program, and I couldnt risk staying in school longer.

    Once again I decided to change my major. This time it was to Psychology. Why did I choose Psychology? I've always done poorly in sciences in high school and college, but I had really enjoyed the Psychology classes I had taken up to that point in college. I chose it because I enjoyed it. and I am glad I chose it. I'm even doing very well in the classes- and I think it's because I enjoy them so much. I'm glad I switched my major even though I don't know if I am going to get a job in the field of Psychology.

    So I would say, don't worry about what kind of job you want when you graduate (unless it's a job that requires very specific skills).

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  • panksea06panksea06 Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Hlubocky wrote: »
    By the time I graduated with my BS in Computer Science, I probably had 12 math classes under my belt. The science of computing is mostly math with a little bit of programming thrown in. There are definitely more applied programs, where the courses read like books in a mall bookstore (C, advanced C, C++, C++ 2, Java, Mainframe assembly, advanced mainframe assembly, and on and on). The well regarded programs are always theory first, programming second. I suspect that the theory based programs give the people who are really in love with the material a great foundation, but for those looking to scrape by, you probably leave school with few marketable skills.

    When we do hiring, we always look for people from the more well regarded (theoretical) programs as these generally have higher requirements for admission and even the 3.0 gpa students tend to be fairly intelligent. Whenever we go to the more applied schools to hire, it usually ends up being a diamond in the rough scenario, where we might find a few talented people, but they are fewer and far between.

    Kind of hijacking the thread, but since anouther person was talking about this too:

    It is more that the second have of math 125 (calc 2) and all of 126 is just odd math, and too mixed in with too many different fields at once for me to easily remember at a moments notice. The math past this I actually find easier, since I know some math majors, and CSE majors and have seen their work.

    I can actually do proofs and logic pretty well, just have a very poor mind for certain types of memorization (but good at memorizing stuff relating to code) so half the time on tests in those upper level courses I ended up deriving the equations rather than being able to recall it, and just ran into issues like that. Simply too much effort for me to maintain, though I occasionally reconsider, and may give it another go next year, but figure this field is closely enough related in requirements that I can have it be my intention for a while and switch later if I get that math done.


    I was at BCC for senior year for running start, if you have some of the nice math teachers down there it isnt bad, but the bad ones are terrible, so just try to get good ones. And obviously take the CSE courses there, both 142 and 143, if you dont take both you have to retake both because they dont quite exactly line up, so its all or nothing for transfering, I have a buddy who got screwed over on that.

    How can they expect me to have a sig when I am too lame to upload an avatar after 2 ye- oh wait...
  • OhtheVogonityOhtheVogonity Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just to idly throw my two cents in:

    Think about architecture. It definitely fulfills your desire for creativity, but still involves a lot of work with computers.

    I have no idea if this synchs up with your goals/vision but if you'd like to know a bit more I can lay it on you.

    Oh freddled gruntbuggly...thy micturations are to me/ As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee
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