FAQ: Degrees in computer related subjects

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by zabuni, May 26, 2005.

  1. zabuni

    zabuni New Member

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    Since we have a certification thread, I thought it might be good to have a thread dedicated to getting a degree in a computer related field.

    So, you're pretty good at computers, and are thinking about getting a degree in something related to that?

    First of all, you need to decide which degree is right for you:

    Math

    An odd subject to begin a discussion of what degree you might want, but it is really quite important. What degree you want may really depend on how much math you want to suffer through.

    Both computer science and computer engineering degrees require quite a lot of math. For example, at my university, it only requires 1 more upper level math class from the required courses in order to get a minor in math! Besides computer related courses, you will be taking quite a lot of math.

    If you don't like math particularly, but still like computers, an MIS degree might be a better choice. Most of those degrees have business math instead of engineering math. I haven't taken business calculus, but from what I've heard, it is easier than its engineering counterpart.

    MIS vs. Computer Science/ Computer Engineering

    Let's say you are totally comfortable with large amounts of math. Given this, the decision of what degree to pursue becomes a little bit harder. I will try to show some of the differences between the two branches of computer related degrees. MIS and Comp Sci/ Comp Engr. Granted, as a recipient of a Comp Engr degree I will be a bit bias, but I will try to be balanced.

    The main difference that I have seen between Computer Science/Engineering and Management of Information System degrees that I have seen is that Comp Sci/Engr degrees tend to be a great deal more theory oriented, while MIS degrees tend towards the practical.

    For example, a sample Comp Sci class about networks might cover the 7 layer ISO protocol, how computers communicate over a network, and perhaps some projects where you would create a several proof of concept applications (implement traceroute for example). An MIS class about networking would tend towards the setup of a network, how to maintain said network, and how to run various services on a network. Instead of creating a traceroute applications, you would have to setup MS IIS to serve dynamic pages under so and so conditions.

    Most computer science degrees will teach you very few languages. They assume that once you have the concepts, that languages will be easy. Most of languages I have learned have been from the fact that an assignment was due in the language, and I had to learn it to do the assignment. The emphasis was on concepts, and less on making solutions.

    The main advantage an MIS degree will have is its emphasis on the business aspect of computing. Things like cost analysis, project management will be given a much more in depth view than in a comp sci degree. The common humorous concensus is that while comp sci will have a better understanding of the computer, their boss will usually be an MIS degree holder.

    (Of course, my university had all of its computer science degree students pick a secondary course to broaden their skills, and most took MIS for their secondary). Best of both worlds.

    Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

    If you have decided on
    the more computer related of the degree paths, you might be wondering about the difference between computer science and computer engineering. The main one (at least at my university) is that computer engineering has a great deal more emphasis on the hardware aspects of the computer.

    With computer engineering I had a great deal more electical engineering courses than a computer science major. These included all sorts of analog design courses, and a signal processing course. It also required a more regimented list of science courses; Computer science majors could take a variety of science courses, while computer engineering students could only take physics and chemistry.

    I have no idea what other schools have, but the other difference that computer engineering degrees and computer science degrees have is that while computer science degrees have a secondary subject, computer engineers don't: the electrical and engineering courses make up for that.

    Tips for whatever your are:

    Co-ops: Also known as cooperative education. There is gold in those damn hills. Coops basically give unexperienced students (like you) experience in the computing field, while giving you lots of money. Coops, and internships, are awesome ways of getting money for college, and at the same time getting lots of experience to put on your resume.

    The other good way of getting experience is to take a part time job on, or off campus. As someone with computer skills, you are slightly rare, so you will get more per hour than the usual burger flipper. This will vary with college and town, and it will still probably suck for the cost of living. Most places where I live pay piss poor wages because computer people are so thick on the ground. It still pays better than McD's though.

    _______________________________________________________________

    I wager that might be good for a beginning. Please leave comments, criticisms, rants, insults and any other thoughts. Personel experience is highly valued.
     
  2. kingtoad

    kingtoad OT Supporter

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    There should definatly be more insight on other degrees that are offered in this post. There are plenty. If this post does receive a sticky, more people should contribute to this thread by providing information about other IT degrees, and possibly information about colleges and universities.
     
  3. D1G1T4L

    D1G1T4L Active Member

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    very nice post!
     
  4. CyberBullets

    CyberBullets I reach to the sky, and call out your name. If I c

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    what about CIS? :o
    At my university there are 3 areas you can specalize in while in 3rd and 4th year.
    1) Security
    2) Network & Systems Admin
    3) Software Development (My Spec)

    Here is a short list of some of the classes avalible for me in 3rd and 4th year. These do not include any of the 5 electives we also need grad.

    CIS 321 Fundamentals of Network Security *
    CIS 341 System Administration (Completed)
    CIS 370 Software Engineering (Completed)
    CIS 371 Object-Oriented Modeling and Design (Completed)
    CIS 380 Artificial Intelligence
    CIS 386 Human Factors
    CIS 392 Internetworking
    CIS 393 Remote Access Networking *
    CIS 394 Multilayer Switching *
    CIS 430 Advanced Database Topics
    CIS 480 Decision Support Systems
    CIS 492 Troubleshooting Internetworks *
    CIS 495 Advanced Topics in Computer Systems
    CIS 496 Advanced Topics in Computer Applications (In Process)
    COMP 350 User Interface Design & Programming
    COMP 351 Advanced Website Programming
    COMP 360 Computer Graphics (Completed)
    COMP 445 Web Server Installation & Maintenance
    COMP 455 Distributed Programming
    COMP 490 Network Security & Cryptography
    * New courses

    Manditory CIS Classes
    CIS 440 Project
    CIS 485 Ethics & Other Management Issues (Completed)
    CIS 385 Project Management (Completed)
    CIS 390 Data Communications (Completed)
    COMP 340 Operating Systems (Completed)
     
  5. G-n-P

    G-n-P New Member

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    I started out as an arch engineer (had to declare first year) and after 3 years decided it was teh suck being a calculator monkey, plus I spent most of my free time building computers so I switched to IT w/ an emphasis in network administation. I have already taken engineering calculus I, II, and III as well as diff eq, and physics for engineers etc., all of which is a waste other than just general personal betterment. So my opinion is make sure you know what you are doing before you pick one otherwise you'll have lots of minors....
     
  6. kenzo

    kenzo New Member

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    im going into CS major because i like math, and computers, but i havent taken any computer classes in high school

    im a dead?
     
  7. Jkuao

    Jkuao New Member

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    Can be tough. I went in with nothing but a rudimentary class in VB. You'll find out pretty quickly in the intro course whether or not its for you.

    Unfortunately a lot of people don't take the hint and subject themselves to the torture of repeatedly getting their asses kicked through the curriculum. I've known some people that have failed the same class 2-3 times but they're too deep to give up.
     
  8. MrMan

    MrMan New Member

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    Before I went for my CS degree, I had 2 years of programming courses in high school. My only advantage among the others were in the introduction course.. which is pretty much what most introduction courses are about... programming. I'd say, give yourself an advantage over the summer and learn on your own. You'll be fine, just stay focus in ALL of your subjects, even if you don't like it. It will pay off in the end. I put less effort on courses that I had no interest in (courses out of my major)... when I should have spent more time on it. Don't make that mistake.
     
  9. crontab

    crontab (uid = 0)

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    No. HS courses, even AP courses, are no where near colleges course complexity and difficulty. I went into college with just AP Calc and AP Physics credits with no computer classes at all from high school. Managed to get a BS in Computer Engineering just fine. Don't worry, all of this shit will be useless when you get out. heh.

    I have many guys that I work with that have degrees in college that have nothing to do with computers, Biology, English... These guys are better than the ones with degrees too.
     
  10. kenzo

    kenzo New Member

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    whoa
    my friend that is 2nd year in CS told me that they dont teach any computer science stuff from high school
    is that true?
     
  11. kenzo

    kenzo New Member

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    alright thx
    i will try to stay focus on all.....
     
  12. kenzo

    kenzo New Member

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    i c, i know it will be tough..
    i like to be challenged... thats the only way i get interested...
     
  13. crontab

    crontab (uid = 0)

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    Depends on the high school. Although I haven't been to HS in 10 years, but if they did have any computer programming classes, they probably will be very basic, basic, qbasic, fortran, etc. A stepping stone, but not at the level of learning methodologies and stuff, but enough to understand how lines ascii text can create functions, programs, etc.

    It all depends on the high school.
     
  14. kenzo

    kenzo New Member

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    ic thx
     

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