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T O P I C     R E V I E W
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 13, 2007 12:23
Hello Everyone,

Okay I have a year left in High School before i'm gone to University. Well i'm slowly narrowing a career path and a possible universities down. The years of being a doctor and going to cambridge are long gone.

Well the Universities I'm looking at are Waterloo, Guelph, Mcmaster, and Queen's university. Most of you have only probably only heard of Waterloo before for there research in computer technology.

But what I'm more interested in hearing is what you guys think about my possible degrees. I've been thinking about a form of either computer science, computer engineering, Mathematics, or something similar. With going to be an educator as my backup. Do you guys recomend Bachelor or masters? Which one do employers like the best? What about combining mathematics and c.s ? etc etc.

What am I good at in school? well obviously computers is my strong suit but it is backed up with good math skills as well as general science. Well actually i'm good in all my subjects but c.s, math, and science are the one's I like the most.

What do I want from a job? What I eventually want from a job is first a decent paying job which will provide me with financial security (don't need to own the BMW but want to be able to raise a family of what I make). I want to be able to have a life outside of my job which basically means when I enter work everything is focused on work but when I come home or when its the weekend work dosn't come in the picture. And I want to enjoy my work and not just do it for a paycheck or something. As for the actual work I want to be doing an array of things. I don't want to sit behind a computer typing code all day. And just as much I don't want to be in a board room all day. Instead I want to have a blend of several different styles of tasks.

I like general computers - i'm not focused on the hardware or software side of things but like an equal blend of both probably because i'm not excellent in just one side of things instead i'm generally good in everything. So obviously I want a career in computers.

You guys have any advice, suggestions, anything ?

Thanks
 
Rhonwyyn
Member # 2854
 - posted July 13, 2007 13:39
University of Guelph!!! *I* wanted to go there, but I wasn't sure how I'd pay for out-of-state, let alone out-of-country tuition, or if I'd want to move all my stuff that far away. A schoolmate of mine actually attended UoG for theater studies.
 
WinterSolstice
Member # 934
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:04
Find something you're either talented at, or you enjoy, and focus on becoming excellent at it.

I specialized pretty heavily after getting a good general grounding, and it has turned out extremely well for me [Smile]
 
nerdwithnofriends
Member # 3773
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:15
Stay away from computer science. It sucks.
 
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:19
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
Stay away from computer science. It sucks.

Yeah I heard that as well - but why? and what do you recommend?
 
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:25
quote:
Originally posted by WinterSolstice:
Find something you're either talented at, or you enjoy, and focus on becoming excellent at it.

I specialized pretty heavily after getting a good general grounding, and it has turned out extremely well for me [Smile]

Yeah problem with small high schools is that they don't offer specialized courses. For computers its basically just computer science it dosn't branch of it just stays general. So I don't know what specialty I like - I just know what I don't like.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
 
WinterSolstice
Member # 934
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:37
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
quote:
Originally posted by WinterSolstice:
Find something you're either talented at, or you enjoy, and focus on becoming excellent at it.

I specialized pretty heavily after getting a good general grounding, and it has turned out extremely well for me [Smile]

Yeah problem with small high schools is that they don't offer specialized courses. For computers its basically just computer science it dosn't branch of it just stays general. So I don't know what specialty I like - I just know what I don't like.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Well, since you know what you don't like, you're half-way there [Big Grin]

Don't rely on classes for learning. College (esp comp sci) is a load of crap. You need to personally seek out and learn the things you like while college gives you the basics. Otherwise, you're going to interview with someone like me who doesn't give your degree any weight. People like me want to know about your troubleshooting skills, your passions, your temperment, and your ability to follow directions under pressure. Those are what I look for in "newbies".

I've never seen anyone get hired based on a degree, unless there were two extremely strong candidates, one with, one without. It's what you decide to be good at.

Small example:
We have a programmer where I work. Good guy, fairly smart. BA in CS. He's fine, as long as he doesn't have to work overtime or learn something new.

We also have a programmer who has a BA, not quite as smart, but he spends his time learning everything. It doesn't matter what you toss at him, he figures it out sooner or later and runs with it. Sure, he's not as good at optimizing or tuning as the smarter guy, but the smarter guy has now been left behind... we needed a new Java guy, and you can guess who stepped up. The smart guy is now coasting on ABAP and COBOL, and the world is passing him by.
 
iDrifter
Member # 1800
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:37
"Bachelor or masters? "
When I did summer jobs when I went to high school, the job postings then was a minimum grade 8 education. After I left school to seek full time employment the minimum was grade 12. Now, for the same position, you must have a bachelor degree.
Get your masters if not higher.
 
Stereo
Member # 748
 - posted July 13, 2007 14:38
Computer science isn't so bad if you have a good program. Just stay away from the technical ones, and rather go for the more theorical ones - they can get quite close to computer engineering.

Now, from what you describe, you may want to try a mix of biotechnology and computer skills. Biotechs research companies use computer heavily for analysis of their all the data generated from their experiences, and often uses very specific hardware. So lots of programming needed, both high and low level.

Or something along. Computers are tools that are used by so many fields; even in sports, they are more and more making use of image and video analysis for training purpose. Just choose the field you like, make sure you have a strong enough background in computer science/engineering, and you're good to go!
 
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 13, 2007 16:12
okay good question then,

Well I have an understanding of the difference between c.s and computer engineering. But that is just a text book definition - How would you guys describe the difference?

As well what other main programs are out there with computers and technology I should look at?

And would going for computer science and math degree be a good idea? pros? cons?
 
Callipygous
Member # 2071
 - posted July 13, 2007 16:58
Forget possible career options and just study the subject you love most. If college works you will come out a rather different person to the one you are now, and trying to work out what that person will do in a world that will have changed as well is too difficult. You will run into patches when you hate your studies even when it's something you love, but doing so when that subject was one you chose mainly for a future career that perhaps you are no longer interested in is much harder to bear.
 
WinterSolstice
Member # 934
 - posted July 13, 2007 17:07
Well said, Calli
 
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 13, 2007 18:22
wow nice Calli - now the question still is what program to go in to - lol.
 
Steen
Member # 170
 - posted July 13, 2007 19:30
Choose whatever interests you the most at this time. You can change your major after you start if you change your mind.
 
MrJ
Member # 730
 - posted July 13, 2007 22:00
For computer science, you better really like programming, or if you don't like programming, it should at least come easy to you. The best schools will throw in a lot of programming along with the theory. Math is probably a better choice for a general education and often shares courses with computer science. Math will be exactly what you expect -- lots of math. Computer Science may not be. You'll actually be forced to use computers in some of the higher up math courses. Since you mentioned education, some universities have a Math Education major. You also might want to check out the new business technology degrees that are popping up at established universities. I don't know anything about them.

Generally a job you care about follows you home mentally. A job that involves supporting people (education, IT) will follow you home in other ways. The work-home separation you want probably only exists in large, established companies, where you're a number, you don't care about the company, and the company doesn't care about you. The job has to be hands-on and require no preparation. Many people live securely off that kind of job. The problem is that conflicts with your desire for variety. Small companies automatically have variety, but if there's a snag you will be asked to help out outside of usual hours. That's because there's nobody else there to do it.

I have a dual Computer Science and Math degree. I knew I wanted to be a serious programmer (I was already good at it as a hobby), so my goal was Computer Science. I've always liked and been good at math, so I also took a math course every semester. It was an easy decision to use math to fill in credits. In the end it was my hobby interest in programming that got me employed.

Don't go for a Masters or more unless you need to (requirement for a job you know you want, or automatic higher wages) or just want to be a student for a longer period of time.
 
Doco
Member # 371
 - posted July 14, 2007 06:43
Here is my observation - Computer Science people tend to end up in the IT department of larger companies creating semi-custom to custom applications. Some end up working for software companies creating software to be sold.

Computer Engineering people tend to end up writing software for embedded systems. Alternatively, my brother did the computer engineering and is a design engineer for Intel processors - doing chip design work.

From what you wrote I would nudge you towards computer engineering. It tends to be more of a blend of hardware design and software. And the hardware is not just plugging different cards into a PC chassis. (Sorry - but I've seen people call that hardware design and IMHO that is just wrong). Computer science people tend to end up doing just software. Having the right major is probably less important than finding the right job to get that blend.

I've worked with physics majors who wrote wonderful code and were excellent in dealing with hardware issues. I've also dealt with EE's who supposedly wrote good code, but couldn't code their way out of a wet paper sack and didn't know what a pull-up resistor was.

In any case - for me one of the things that makes my job more satisfying is knowing that while I work with rather ephemeral code, my code is part of a product that is actually used by people. I did IT type stuff in college and could not stand doing that for a job now. It just seems to far disconnected from the real world. Of course - that is just my perception of this world - your delusions might be quite different. [Smile]

Of course - this is all very personal and varies wildly from one person to another.
 
fs
Member # 1181
 - posted July 14, 2007 09:38
As a couple of people pointed out, college is not just about learning a trade but also learning about yourself. One of the things you should be doing is taking classes in a lot of different areas-- don't restrict yourself to C.S. and math with the bare minimums in other areas required to graduate-- take classes in everything that interests you. Think you might like literature? Take a class in it. Think you might like psychology or history? Whatever you decide to major in, ask yourself after taking a few classes, "Could I enjoy doing this for the next forty years?" (Not that you necessarily will, but if you are going to spend the resources going to college, you might as well be studying something you could see yourself doing for that long.)

Something practical to consider is not just the type of job you will be doing, but the types of industries and environments you'd like to work in. Pull up a site like monster.com and look at job postings from the kind of companies you'd like to work for and in the areas you want to work in. See what kind of jobs they have and what the requirements are. (And keep in mind those jobs may be obsolete by the time you graduate.)
 
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 14, 2007 13:05
Thanks for the advice so far guys and I hope more of you give your view points.

But its just so hard to figure out what you want especially being from a small town. I know people who go to one seminar on a particular career and they fall in love with it because its the only career which has ever been proposed to them.

I really like having a general knowledge of math, science, and of course computers. But so far there is not one aspect of the 3 which really interests me enough to specialize in it. Like i don't want to be behind a computer programming all day - I can learn a program fairly easily and enjoy making something. As well I like math - I like being given a realistic problem and figuring it out with numbers - which is why in the science department i liked physics more then bio because bio is mostly all memory - which is why in bio i liked the gene aspect of the course. And again which is why in chem. i liked the realistic problems which required you to use numbers and formulas.

MrJ - Yeah I understand work follows you home - and i'm willing to do some work at home but I don't want to be the guy who goes to work and comes home and continues working till 12 am. Couple hours here and there to keep on top of things but nothing more.
 
fs
Member # 1181
 - posted July 15, 2007 01:27
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
MrJ - Yeah I understand work follows you home - and i'm willing to do some work at home but I don't want to be the guy who goes to work and comes home and continues working till 12 am. Couple hours here and there to keep on top of things but nothing more.

Okay, you can rule out game development.
 
Rhonwyyn
Member # 2854
 - posted July 15, 2007 05:04
And moreso than actually doing work AT home, is how easy is it to stop thinking/stressing about work when you're not AT work? I like my job now, it's so much better than my old job, but as a feature writer, when I went on vacation for three days this summer, I couldn't really relax because I knew how many stories I needed to write when I got home. I took notes with me to write a story, so that helped, but it was still a stressful situation and one I was not successful forgetting.
 
stevenback7
Member # 5114
 - posted July 15, 2007 05:55
quote:
Originally posted by fs:
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
MrJ - Yeah I understand work follows you home - and i'm willing to do some work at home but I don't want to be the guy who goes to work and comes home and continues working till 12 am. Couple hours here and there to keep on top of things but nothing more.

Okay, you can rule out game development.
Wow I can't even remember the gaming company - but I loved the idea of if you couldn't sleep and went into the office at 3 Am there would be some geek like you working on the game just as if you needed to take a day of you just didn't show up in the morning without any reprocutions (sp?). As well as a fresh pot of Coffee always being made.
 




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