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Adding a computer science major

  1. Jan 5, 2014 #1
    So currently I'm in first year university about to begin my second semester. I know for certain I'm going to be majoring in physics (with possibly the potential to go to graduate school in condensed matter). However, there is also the possibility that I may just want to go straight into industry upon completion of my bachelors. And to be honest, while I think its possible to get a good job with a physics degree, it won't be easy. I do plan on doing a 12-16 month internship after 2nd year so that will definitely help. Nonetheless, recently I've been thinking I should complete a second major in computer science if I decide to go straight into industry.

    Note, my reasons for computer science are
    (a) Marketability (b) the subject matter seems interesting based on a programming course I took first semester.

    So then i'd be double majoring in physics and computer science, rather than only specializing in physics.

    So my question what do you guys think? I could possibly complete a specialist program in physics, along with a minor in computer science. But how would employers view a minor in comparison to a major?

    Also note I do plan on seeing a guidance counsellor at my university, but I would still like some preliminary thoughts.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2014 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey NATURE.M.

    Once piece of advice in gaining employment for any kind of software development work: make sure you have worked on at least one large scale, multiple person (i.e. team say 4+ people), complex project in the area of your interest.

    This is a thing that can be applied by some employers to filter out those that may not work in a real commercial development environment.

    The reason behind this is that you can show that you can actually write original and functional code (you'd be surprised how many people can't do this), can work in a team, be able to see a project from start to finish, and basically show that you know what real development work is like.

    This is regardless of the field you want to enter. You will need both domain and general knowledge regardless of what jobs you apply for and if successful, get offered.

    If you haven't done project work before, start small. You can choose your projects to be structured in a way that further projects build on top of your existing work. My advice to you is to make it a little bit more ambitious than you are capable of doing, but not too much that you will lose motivation and burn out. Start small and add to what you have accomplished in small increments.
  4. Jan 6, 2014 #3
    Thanks I'll definitely try. If I were to do a internship, I may then focus it on comp. science rather than physics.
  5. Jan 6, 2014 #4

    D H

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I'd suggest an internship that takes advantage of both of your majors: Something physical/numerical. Chiro already hinted that most computer science majors can't program. Shocking but true. The fraction who can comprehend math is even smaller. This is where your competitive advantage lies, so take full advantage of it.
  6. Jan 6, 2014 #5
    I didn't know that. I would understand the latter part since only single-variable calculus is required for the major program in comp science (certain courses require multivariables, and linear algebra though).
    I'll definitely keep this in mind when the time comes around. Thanks.
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