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Computer science and your opinion.

  1. Jan 30, 2014 #1
    What do you think about computer science? Do you think outsourcing could be a reason not to pursue this career? Online education is perhaps making it too accessible?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2014 #2


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    If you're talking about Ph.D. level Computer Science (not the same thing as programming or software engineering) I think it is an excellent, exciting career with as good or better prospects for the future as most other areas. Nothing is safe from outsourcing (or insourcing).

    For the time being programming jobs are plentiful and some of them well paid (this is not universal across the USA or across industries). However, the amount of programming work is growing faster than outsourcing is growing (and outsourcing isn't as popular as it used to be for various reasons) so if you're a good programmer I think you are reasonably secure.

    As for online education, materials have been available on the web for almost 20 years now. Demand for highly skilled people still (for now) outstrips supply.

    The only sure thing these days is a trust fund.
  4. Jan 30, 2014 #3


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    Even that might not be a sure thing if the trust fund is not managed well.
  5. Jan 30, 2014 #4
    Hmm, is it most appropriate to gain a Ph.D. if one is pursuing computer science?

    Thank you for your insightful answer!
  6. Jan 30, 2014 #5


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    If you want to do Computer Science, then yes a Ph.D. is the way to go.

    If you want to be a programmer or a software engineer, a Ph.D. won't help you much technically and it isn't really respected in industry (in my personal experience).

    A BS is usually enough if you're good but an MS will probably improve your capabilities (especially in more technical areas like embedded systems or real-time software).

    It boils down to your interests and what you want to do with your life.
  7. Jan 30, 2014 #6
    What do PhD computer scientists do exactly?
  8. Jan 30, 2014 #7


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    I would say a computer scientist does research (or applied research) on the theory of computation or one of various applications. For example, a computer scientist may research methods of solving differential equations, or optimal ways for a message to traverse a network, or improved image processing algorithms or the like. A software engineer will use engineering and computer science principles to develop large, highly reliable and effective software systems. A programmer (in my opinion) may not have developed engineering skills but can successfully develop and maintain computer programs. There is a lot of grey area between this somewhat arbitrary definitions.

    In my experience, the average computer scientist is not a stellar programmer (there are exceptions of course) and typically doesn't have the wide range of tool/stack/api knowledge a lot of programmers do. It's more of an applied math field than anything.
  9. Jan 31, 2014 #8
    Wrong. The only sure thing these days is managing a trust fund, then managing another one when that one goes under.
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