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As a CS student I am required to take a two part physics course.

  1. Oct 20, 2008 #1
    Will it be of any use to me if I just want to be a software engineer (which typical just consist of me coding things?)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2008 #2


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    Being a software engineer typically consists of solving problems. Just coding things is a side effect.

    It's probably going to be of more use than your compiler class (when are you goign to write a compiler?) or most of your algorithms class (when are you going to write your own sort routine?).
  4. Oct 21, 2008 #3
    The logic of physics and coding are very similar. In all reality, coding would be much better if more people used a scientific method-type approach to coding.
  5. Oct 21, 2008 #4
    Amen. After I finished my Ph. D. I, like so many others, went to work for a hedge fund. As ours was focused almost entirely on algorithmic trading we had quite a few programmers on the payroll to handle things like model validation for the quants. After a while I noticed that the ones who were excellent at their jobs were people with backgrounds in physics or mathematics; the ones who were terrible (and were, generally, fired after only a couple of months) were all comp. sci. majors.

    The computer scientists used to come knowing lots about scripting languages, writing compilers, Rails, Java, C#, LINQ, and so forth. Unfortunately for them, coding for financial mathematics relies almost exclusively on C++, and the C++ code they wrote was generally absolute garbage.

    On the other hand, the physicists/mathematicians came to us knowing an awful lot less about programming than their comp. sci. counterparts. However, they were infinitely better at sitting down and thinking about a problem in detail, which is far more valuable a skill than knowing the nuances of, say, PHP or Perl. The code that the physics/maths people wrote was generally far superior also since they seemed to have a natural willingness to think about type-safety, memory management, and computational efficiency.

    And you wouldn't believe how many times I've sat in interviews with alleged "computer scientists" who don't know anything about random number generation or propagation round-off errors.
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