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Anti-computer science

  1. Sep 16, 2011 #1
    Hello everyone. I've been posting all kinds of queries here in hopes of getting some feedback about different academic and career paths. I really appreciate the help I've been given, and I promise that once I have some wisdom to impart that I'll give back to the other people out there searching like me. I've been struggling with the decision of what to declare as a major, and this is a big issue because I am a 2nd year transfer student who needs to transfer! I like all of my subjects (love physics and chemistry) and I'm a good student, and I don't want to pigeonhole myself by choosing a field that I'll want to break out of later. I know that most engineering programs prepare one for many careers, but recently it dawned on me that computers are the tools of the modern age and that the best thing I can do for my future might be to study the heck out of them. This is my second try at college; I was a poor student before but I did take two semesters of symbolic logic and they stood out like flowers in a dump as my absolute favorite classes in school. The only other classes I could get A's in were art and music.

    So here I am, seeking advice again. I've taken a semester of C++ and I picked it up easily, and I have enjoyed applying the concepts I learned there in other classes. As long as I take things step by step, computers make sense to me and they seem like a great pursuit because to truly understand them one must understand math, physics, logic, and language. I'm not too excited by the prospect of being desk and office bound for my whole life, but I think that CS might be a good foundation for lots of different careers. I'm definitely not your "typical" software person, but if i could use CS to land a cool job doing good work (not apps but stuff to help people/the planet) then I think I'd kill many birds with one stone. I can see it being a great skill to take into other fields like engineering or oceanography, and it's a good trade to fall back on. Plus, it seems like it could be a surfer friendly career...

    Thanks for reading my post;)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2011 #2


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    I can't really tell what you are asking for....?

    sounds like you have thought out just about everything

    edit: nevermind I think my reading comprehension is degrading by the day

    Personally I think you should have a look at these computational science courses. iirc they are quite flexible because, like you said, just about everything needs computational power these days.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  4. Sep 16, 2011 #3
    It is not just engineering that have many different career options but most reports I see of jobs in demand in the future more computer science than engineering. I say Computer Science is an essential to giving way for new technology of the future. I say you should do it. Teach yourself a few more languages and see if this is what you really want to do.
  5. Sep 16, 2011 #4


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    Hey blaughli.

    I agree with what Ivan92 has said, but I would add that instead of talking about "computer" science, we should extend his comments to "science" in general. The innovations and discoveries in science have a ripple effect on all related areas like engineering and likewise that eventually filter into human life.

    If you want to study computation per se, then there are many many different models of computing something. There are procedural ways (C, BASIC, and so on), Functional ways (Solving minimization and logical problems, example Prolog), and other ways and styles of computation (not to mention Quantum Computing).

    Investigating computation for its own sake may yield some more insightful and innovative techniques for some general class of problems and if you are interested in doing so, you might end up revolutionizing the world for the rest of us!

    Good luck in your endeavors!
  6. Sep 16, 2011 #5
    Maybe, depends where you go to school. My sister is a computer science major at a large state school and the education she is getting is embarrassing. It's barely taught at more than a high school level.

    If you want to keep the most options open I would say math, physics, or engineering. They will push you hardest and force you to learn the most.

    If you are at say Carnegie Mellon, I'm sure computer science is a great major to pick.
  7. Sep 16, 2011 #6


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    blaughli: I agree with you that computers will be useful no matter what you choose, so if you are interested go ahead and study them. One comment - you will not necessarily be 'desk and office bound'. With a laptop and wireless networking, there's nothing stopping you from sitting on the beach (or wherever) and coding away.
  8. Sep 16, 2011 #7
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I am definitely thinking about the future job market as well as my interest in my future work... To go further, since I'm interested in all of the sciences (maybe especially chemistry), as well as engineering (ME design, possibly robotics), are there proven approaches to integrating a study of computation with these fields?
    I had a friend, a double major in Chem and CS, and though he loved Chem and was a wiz at it, he said when it came down to numbers that starting a software company is much cheaper than opening and running a Chem lab. It's a shame that many folks might turn away from science in pursuit of salary but who can blame them... How to do both?

    As an extreme aside, what if I decided to go to med school? How could these all fit together?
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