Author Topic: Any CompSci grads here?  (Read 7062 times)

Offline Basilios

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Any CompSci grads here?
« on: November 13, 2013, 12:30:06 PM »
I'm thinking about going back to University to get a proper degree. Second time lucky. I'm leaning heavily towards a BSc in Computer Science or Software Engineering. Can anybody tell me a bit about it. Specifically I'm thinking about the Maths behind it. I was very good at Maths in High School but only the algebra side. I was pathetic at geometry (mainly because I hated it). However I did end up with an A in Maths anyway. I was also very good at Physics and ended up with a B+. My original plan was to study Engineering. Unfortunately, I was a year young for my grade with a late birthday which meant that I had to make the decision at 16 to decide what I wanted to study... and being an idiot, and wanting an easy ride and the life of alcohol and drugs that I was already quite into, I settled for Journalism and Philosophy. Ultimately not a bad idea because I did well in Philosophy and my degree helped me back into the faith (with the help of a good Catholic Thomist in the department).

Anyway, since I find myself unemployed and bored with the crappy jobs I am getting, with no foreseeable career in site thanks to a useless degree and a year in a monastery (which most employers seem to think is just a place of navel gazing idiocy for zealots with no life skills) I have the opportunity (thanks to very caring and successful parents) to go and do another degree. CompSci looks like a good idea. I enjoy working with computers, and I took CompSci 101 in my second year of University and got a 1st class pass (not sure how that translates into GPA but basically it's the best mark you can get).

I am just worried that I won't manage with the Maths side of things since I've been out of school for 5 years and mainly humanities focussed since then. I mean, I can still do sums (duh) but I'm deathly afraid that my 5 year gap has made my brain mushy.

So really, just looking for experiences from anybody with similar qualifications or knowledge in the field!

Thanks :-)
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 12:43:16 PM »
Both my husband and oldest son are software engineers.  My husband's experiences are long enough ago that they may not be relevant (and he is a math genius so he might not recognize difficult maths) but my son graduated relatively recently.  We can probably arrange for you to get in touch with him, if you would like.

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Offline Basilios

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 01:02:17 PM »
Both my husband and oldest son are software engineers.  My husband's experiences are long enough ago that they may not be relevant (and he is a math genius so he might not recognize difficult maths) but my son graduated relatively recently.  We can probably arrange for you to get in touch with him, if you would like.

Thanks Jayne. Maybe you could just ask him - "How hard is the math? Will someone who was very good at algebra be able to cope after 5 years?"

You're a star  :D

Edit: the only reason I don't wanna go through the trouble of making definite contacts yet is that this is still just an idea. I have 2-3 careers/good jobs in the works too, and I would start in Sept 2014 so a lot could happen. Really I'm just making inquiries right now into everything so I can make a good choice.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 01:09:29 PM by Basilios »
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 03:57:08 PM »
I have a large number of friends who majored in computer science/software engineering.  I too can put you in touch with them (they are also traditional Catholics). 

The math from my college's CS degree entails:
Calculus
Discrete and Combinatorial Algebra
Probability and Statistics
and some other math electives you can choose.

It's not terribly hard, from what I've seen.  I've taken Prob and Stats, and I'm no math genius. 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 05:00:05 PM »
Here is my son's answer:
Quote
The math is hard.  I didn't do any geometry, but there is algebra, calculus, combinatorics and optimization, and differential equations. These built on eachother and were necessary for control systems, logic, and algorithm courses. We also took stats, managerial science (accounting mostly), and physics (electrical, kinematic, dynamic, and astro (but I think that was an elective)) courses that relied on high level math. These were more about well rounded education than actual softeng specific courses.

This is all for engineering which emphasized well roundedness. I think that a more specialized compsci degree may require less mandatory high level math (I'm sure there would still be low level, but that may be less of an issue).
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Offline Aquila

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2013, 10:47:57 AM »
EE major in progress here. Programming doesn't take a ton of advanced math skills. You will probably only have to take Calculus I at the most; however you will definitely have to get good at algebra and statistics (and you may need Calc II depending on the statistics....). You will probably take a course in matrix theory as well (which isn't that hard from what I understand).

Basically, programming is just thinking logically and paying attention to little details. It's no harder than learning a foreign language. I am an EE but I know a decent amount of C and a bit of Python.
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Offline The Harlequin King

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2013, 11:21:51 AM »
I went back to school recently to learn computer programming. Even though it's just community college, I've found the introductory math harder than anything I ever did for my history degree. I'm pretty much just limping along.
 

Offline Basilios

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 12:14:26 PM »
Oooh thank you for all the responses so far!

I am not too sure whether I feel encouraged or discouraged  :laugh: :doh:

I'll have a think again and speak to my mama and get back to you all again. I'm so freakin' scared of not being able to do the Math oh lawdy.
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: and a door round about my lips. Incline not my heart to evil words.
 

Offline Aquila

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 02:02:06 PM »
I went back to school recently to learn computer programming. Even though it's just community college, I've found the introductory math harder than anything I ever did for my history degree. I'm pretty much just limping along.

This guy is absolutely gold for math help. He has published over 2000 short videos covering Algebra through Calc III, Trig, Statistics, etc. In my opinion he's the best math teacher I have ever seen, and way better than Salman Khan or anyone else I've seen on the Internet. I believe he is a grad student at UTA.

http://patrickjmt.com/

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Offline Aquila

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 02:04:15 PM »
Oooh thank you for all the responses so far!

I am not too sure whether I feel encouraged or discouraged  :laugh: :doh:

I'll have a think again and speak to my mama and get back to you all again. I'm so freakin' scared of not being able to do the Math oh lawdy.

I was terrible at math in elementary and high school. I did two years of general humanities courses after HS since I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I chose engineering since I like technology and it's a good career. The key thing is to just get over the mental math block. There is a deep prejudice that "Math is hard/for nerds/is not cool" in the USA. Once you overcome the cultural bias against math, it becomes logical, lucid, and even beautiful.
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Offline Basilios

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 02:28:45 PM »
Oooh thank you for all the responses so far!

I am not too sure whether I feel encouraged or discouraged  :laugh: :doh:

I'll have a think again and speak to my mama and get back to you all again. I'm so freakin' scared of not being able to do the Math oh lawdy.

I was terrible at math in elementary and high school. I did two years of general humanities courses after HS since I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I chose engineering since I like technology and it's a good career. The key thing is to just get over the mental math block. There is a deep prejudice that "Math is hard/for nerds/is not cool" in the USA. Once you overcome the cultural bias against math, it becomes logical, lucid, and even beautiful.

Oh no, I have nothing against Maths at all. I was good at it, and I enjoyed it (algebra, calculus and trig anyway, hopeless at geometry mostly). One of my good friends in Uni was doing a PhD in Maths. I used to be super confident in my abilities which is why I applied to be an engineer first time round with my University applications (and was provisionally accepted). But it's been so long that now I'm afraid of my math skills.
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: and a door round about my lips. Incline not my heart to evil words.
 

Offline MilesChristi

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 02:29:55 PM »
I second the beauty of math
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 

Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 03:58:12 PM »
ITT engineers saying math is easy.
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 03:58:54 PM »
EE major in progress here.

Awesome.

What's your specialty/concentration?
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I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side.  ~Treebeard, LOTR

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Offline RobertJS

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2013, 07:45:47 AM »
I say, research the latest list of promising certifications in specialties of IT, and pursue those. They take less time, cost much less, and you don't have to take a lot of waste-of-time courses that you would for a degree. As well, the waste-of-time courses often contain brainwashing content. And, do a lot of tech-related stuff at home in your spare time. Get some low-level job at first, such as in desktop support. Try not to work at Wendy's, or some other non-tech related job.

Math is largely a waste of time, unless it is geometry. Geometry helps you think logically and more orderly.
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