Computer science vs real world

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by et3rnul, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. et3rnul

    et3rnul OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SoCal
    For those that have graduated from a CS degree...how much of what you learned in college was actually useful? I'm taking an algorithms class over the summer with possibly the worst professor in my major. He writes small, lectures fast, and often will write stuff on the board that he won't explain unless someone asks. I'm doing ok in the class so far, but algorithms is clearly not one of my strengths.
     
  2. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    28,491
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    depends where you go. It could be immensely applicable, or useless. For me, anything above basic algorithms is worthless for my day-to-day.
     
  3. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    32,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    OKC
    Your focus is wrong IMO.

    It doesn't matter how much you'll use the stuff in the real world what matters most is how much you'll use the material later in your degree....which is prolly a lot! I had people in my data structures class that said, "Meh....I'm not going to work too hard because we'll never use this stuff. I have a friend that works as a programmer....blah blah blah."

    This idea of his, that he will never use this stuff in the real world, took over his brain like a cancer. He showed up late to class, sat in the back row, rarely participated in the lectures (where often I saw him dosing off).

    When we next talked, he had already flunked 2 tests and thought that he could ace the next test and the final and by still pull out a C for the course. Meanwhile he still wasn't studying so these As would just materialize out of thin air or something.

    I on the other hand, recognized his mindset as a cancer and discarded the idea immediately. I went on to use the material in this class in many of my upper division courses. I also passed this class on my first try and he had to repeat it. I lost track of him after that next semester but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he wasn't repeating the course for a third time.

    Ideas like this really are a cancer and you don't need that shit. Focus on learning the material. If your book sucks, look online for a better one then go to your Uni library and see if they have it or would order it for you. If you don't understand something, go see the prof in his office and ask him to help you. Find the smart kids in your class and ask them for help.

    I know you said you're doing ok so far so don't let this cancerous thought steal your hard work so far. Push yourself to find the help you need....the internet is an amazing resource.

    If you have questions, be sure to post in the tutoring sub forum or in here....don't just skip something because it's hard. You'll need this info later in your degree....it'll keep coming up so it's better to learn it now rather than later when you're trying to learn other stuff.

    Good luck man.
     
  4. wabash9000

    wabash9000 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    14,392
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    yeah I got into that cancer this year in cs. i felt because I had taken the college level corses in highschool that I didn't have to learn as much. wow was I wrong.
    Thanks for the advice coottie your post is now being printed off into a motivational poster to hang above my study desk.
     
  5. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    32,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    OKC
    No prob man....good luck.
     
  6. et3rnul

    et3rnul OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SoCal
    Thanks for the advice coottie. Yeah, by no means am I using this as a way to justify slacking off. Even if something about the course frustrate me, I'll show up to class, seek out advice, etc. My parents are paying for my education, no way am I going to waste that. I'm actually ahead of schedule in my major and trying to graduate early, but if I have to retake, I will.
     
  7. Penguin Man

    Penguin Man Protect Your Digital Liberties

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    21,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Coottie put it really well.

    I've finished three years of my CS degree, and I'm currently on a year-long internship (it's the way we run co-op at my school, you do three years, then a year of internship, then back to school for your final year). You won't use most of what you learn in CS directly in the real world. However, the concepts you learn are very important. Anyone can learn how to program in the latest fad language, but you'll know how to do things the right way (and why the right way is the right way), and have the skills and knowledge to adapt to changes in the field. With algorithms, you probably won't ever use most of what you learn in the class. But it's definitely important to know what's out there, and to be able to recognize that a piece of code runs in O(n^2) time and could be changed to run in O(n*log(n)) time.
     
  8. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with everything in this thread.
     
  9. als54

    als54 OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've seen a lot of people with a degreee in CS that couldn't computer themselves out of a wet paper bag... LOL.
     
  10. Penguin Man

    Penguin Man Protect Your Digital Liberties

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    21,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    "Computer science is as much about computers as astronomy is about telescopes" - Dijkstra
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well put, but I can't tell whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with als54.
     
  12. Penguin Man

    Penguin Man Protect Your Digital Liberties

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    21,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    What I'm saying is, his statement is irrelevant. Computers are a tool that computer scientists use to go about their work. But it's nothing more than a tool. You wouldn't criticize an astronomer for not knowing how to fix his own telescope, so why criticize a computer scientist for not knowing how to fix his own computer?
     
  13. Penguin Man

    Penguin Man Protect Your Digital Liberties

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    21,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Speaking of Dijkstra:

    [​IMG]

    :mamoru:
     
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, that's what I thought you were saying.

    At the same time, I don't necessarily agree with your point. Anyone who's good at their job needs to like doing it, and you can't really like doing something without wanting to know how to service your own equipment. Doesn't mean you have to service it necessarily, but you need to know how. I'd look sideways at an astronomer who couldn't fix a broken telescope mount just the same as a computer scientist who couldn't replace a fried CPU, or a gearhead who couldn't change his own oil.

    Then again, I was raised in the European school of thinking that "it's yours, you own it, so you need to keep it running too."
     

Share This Page