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Thread: Some questions about Computer Science

  1. #1 Some questions about Computer Science 
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    Hey there. I'm 19 years old and I'm currently a student at a local community college. I came into college thinking I wanted to be an engineer, but after a few engineering-specific courses (Statics) I decided that engineering is not for me. Now I am looking into computer science and I am really excited about getting involved with it, but before I get in too deep I've got a few questions that you kind folks might be able to answer:

    1. Unfortunately there is no computer science program at my current college, so I can't really start my computer science classes until I transfer to a four-year university, which I was planning on doing next Fall (2011) anyway. But now I am considering sticking around here for another year or two to get my Associate's in Applied Science in Information Systems Technology with a specialization in Computer Programming, thinking that getting a little familiarity and experience with various computer programming languages (Visual Basic.NET, Java, C++) will make things easier for me in the future in pursuing my degrees in computer science and later in my career. So my first question(s): How essential is computer programming to computer science? Would it be worth my time to take a year or two to pursue this Associate's Degree?

    2. When I think of companies that hire graduates of computer science, I think of IBM, Google, Microsoft, and NASA. Obviously I would be ecstatic if I got an opportunity to work for any of these companies, but I come from a relatively small town and working for one of these companies seems like a bit of a long shot for me. Do only large companies such as these hire computer science graduates? What other kinds of companies hire computer scientists?

    3. If you feel like it, explain in your own words what computer science is. I've been doing some reading and I think I know what it is, but different perspectives and explanations are always nice.

    Thanks.


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  3. #2  
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    How essential is computer programming to computer science?
    If you are talking about getting a diploma at the university that's crucial. If the question is about how CS and programming are related then CS is just theoretical mathematical analysis of computer programs.

    Good programming skills will save lots of your time during the first courses at the university.

    When I think of companies that hire graduates of computer science, I think of IBM, Google, Microsoft, and NASA.
    Well, I'm not familiar with the situation in the USA, but here in Eastern Europe we have many small companies seeking for C++, Java, .NET programmers. You may also go for Web-programming and languages like PHP.

    Forget about Google, MS and so on without at least master's (or better PhD) degree and working experience.


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  4. #3  
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    Here’s my answer to your questions.

    1. There is a lot more to a degree in computer science than programming. It is one of the things you’ll be learning as part of your academic program. You don’t need to be a whiz at programming, but you do need to know the essentials if you want to pursue a CS degree.
    2. All types of companies – big and small – look for trained computer professionals. The bigger a company, the stricter will be its qualifying criteria.
    3. Computer science, defined simply, is the study of the theoretical and mathematical foundations of computing.

    If you want more details about the program, you can check out the Computer Science degree offered at CollegeAmerica. It will provide you insights into the type of courses that are typically covered in a CS degree.
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  5. #4  
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    Programming is an Essentials of Computing. Comp Sci is a fundamental approach to computing and its expressed in two ways: hardware design which relies heavily on physics, and software theories which is an implementation of discrete mathematical constructs.

    In my computer science course, 80% of what we've done has been all built around being able to develop algorithms with code. Here's the difference between the two:

    A hardware implementation is great... but accomplishes nothing without programming to instruct it.

    However, you can code without hardware. You can develop algorithms and do analysis and write code without ever touching a machine.

    One more thing - I've worked as a software developer for 15 years. I've never had to use much of the computer science fundamentals in my daily job. I work for NASA currently, and I still don't have to deal with a lot of those fundamentals. Most private companies won't require you to deal in heavy math or deep seated algorithms of Comp Sci theory.

    Companies where IT is a cost center as opposed to a profit center won't have you doing as much theoretical work.
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  6. #5 Re: Some questions about Computer Science 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wahoo
    Hey there. I'm 19 years old and I'm currently a student at a local community college. I came into college thinking I wanted to be an engineer, but after a few engineering-specific courses (Statics) I decided that engineering is not for me. Now I am looking into computer science and I am really excited about getting involved with it, but before I get in too deep I've got a few questions that you kind folks might be able to answer:

    1. Unfortunately there is no computer science program at my current college, so I can't really start my computer science classes until I transfer to a four-year university, which I was planning on doing next Fall (2011) anyway. But now I am considering sticking around here for another year or two to get my Associate's in Applied Science in Information Systems Technology with a specialization in Computer Programming, thinking that getting a little familiarity and experience with various computer programming languages (Visual Basic.NET, Java, C++) will make things easier for me in the future in pursuing my degrees in computer science and later in my career. So my first question(s): How essential is computer programming to computer science? Would it be worth my time to take a year or two to pursue this Associate's Degree?

    2. When I think of companies that hire graduates of computer science, I think of IBM, Google, Microsoft, and NASA. Obviously I would be ecstatic if I got an opportunity to work for any of these companies, but I come from a relatively small town and working for one of these companies seems like a bit of a long shot for me. Do only large companies such as these hire computer science graduates? What other kinds of companies hire computer scientists?

    3. If you feel like it, explain in your own words what computer science is. I've been doing some reading and I think I know what it is, but different perspectives and explanations are always nice.

    Thanks.
    Computer science is the branch that involves study of both hardware and software and it will be very beneficial for you if u will learn some programming languages because main thing in software is programming.And there are many other companies in which you can try for a job like infosys,TCS etc.
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  7. #6  
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    Hardware falls under computer engineering. They're separate programs in my university, and I imagine most others (at least most other big ones).

    Computer science is the theoretical study of algorithms, which means it's possible to be a computer scientist without knowing how to program (and sometimes I think some of my professors and peers have done just that :wink but really, the great thing about computer science is how quickly you can code up an idea and test it, and tweak it and test it again, as many times as necessary. (Something I don't think a lot of freshmen realize. You should compile and test your code as often as possible.) To do that though, you do need to know how to program.

    If you just want a code monkey job, a B.S. is computer science, or one of the business computer programs is probably enough (although job experience is probably at least as important). Past the bachelor's degree, things get much more theoretical and much less about programming, but by then you should be able to program anything any way.

    As far as jobs go, there are a lot of companies that can use programmers. Look for internships. Computer companies are obvious, but Nokia (for example) also hires a lot of programmers. Just about anything with a processor needs programmers. (My friend, also a computer scientist, works for a company that makes video slot machines.) On top of that, there are lots of software companies, plus the movie and videogame industries.
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  8. #7  
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    Computer science is the branch that involves study of both hardware and software and it will be very beneficial for you if u will learn some programming languages because main thing in software is programming.And there are many other companies in which you can try for a job like infosys,TCS etc.
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  9. #8  
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    I consult for one of the companies you mentioned.

    Your best chances of being hired by one of the mentioned companies are:

    1) Get into a decent college and get your degree
    2) Work on an Open Source Project (very important)
    3) Know how to program in Java, C, Python, JavaScript, and C++. Others will come easily if needed. C++ people are a dime a dozen and is similar to Java. C is needed (and will be for a long time to come) for High Performance and OS related stuff.
    4) Focus on Nix, most hardcore computing is done on some flavor of it. (CentOS, RedHat, HP, etc)

    All of items in this list are important if you want that cool job.

    Who knows, maybe in college you and some of your friends could start your own company that everyone wants to work for.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    You say (implicitly) that C is faster than C++, but I've never seen any evidence to support that. Not that many big companies base their hiring policies on purely fact based reasoning, so I'm not really doubting you when you say that companies are looking for C programmers.
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  11. #10  
    Iuvenis ducis Darkhorse's Avatar
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    Learn to program, it will never be a waste no matter what you do with computers. Programmers however are a dime a dozen, you need to set yourself apart if you want to get ahead. Some of that comes with experience, some of that comes with adding to your knowledge base. The more languages you know the better. Knowledge of hardware is beneficial if you want to create drivers, do embedded programming, or create highly optimized software. Understanding quality assurance will always help you out even if you don't end up working in that area, it will make your code better than the next guys and that does matter when it comes to reviews. Familiarity with databases is a plus since more and more data is being collected and stored in all applications. Having a solid knowledge of algorithms and mathematics is always helpful to help speed up your code.

    In North America a CS degree is required to be a programmer in most companies. Most high technology companies require programmers now, and by High Tech I mean everything from HVAC (heating and AC) to game development. You will gradually get a feel for what you like and don't like to do as well as what you are good at and what you are not. Like I said even if you decide to do something different, knowing how to program will not be a wasted skill.
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  12. #11  
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    I would like to point out, like MagiMaster has said, there is a big difference between computer science and computer programming. You should decide which way to go. Computer science is a lot like pure mathematics. You can find computer scientists with masters degrees who don't know how to code the simplest programs. It is the analytical study of computation in general, very theory based.
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