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CS Degree with possible physics minor

  1. Sep 3, 2014 #1

    I've taken a leave of absence from UCSD (polisci major) to finish pre-requirements for a compsci degree. Initially, I left to pursue an astrophysics degree, but after taking a C++ and intro to Java class, CS has me hooked - I love the logic.

    So the major prep requires either two phys, two bio, or two chem classes. I am definitely going for the two phys classes and maybe the third as well; they only offer three phys for engineer classes.

    I'd love to work in the filed of space travel/technology. NASA hires computer programmers, but I wanted to post here and see if anyone had any insights/suggestions for classes/paths to research.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2014 #2


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    Have you considered a physics degree with a CS minor? I know that when you first start learning about programming computers, it can be really addicting and fun, but it can just as quickly become boring. Also, CS is more than just programming. Will the CS degree prepare you better for the career you want than a physics degree?
  4. Sep 7, 2014 #3
    I have to disagree with vela. I'm actually doing just as he suggests, Engineering Physics with Computer Science as a technical elective (minor). The problem with this degree is a lot of employers, unfortunately, look at your major and put you in a box of potential careers. They look at your minor afterwards. You'll see a ton of BS Physics majors on here, including me, trying to figure out how to sell themselves to employers. It's hard to get employers to understand the value of a physics education. I'm lucky though, I have a job waiting for me. I'm still looking around though to see what kind of value I might have... so far, none. Even my current employer views my degree with trepidation. He doesn't get it either.

    The worst part is that after freshman and sophomore pre-reqs I'll have taken the same amount of physics classes as CS. But, from the career fairs I've been to, I always get told that they're concerned I don't have the programming chops for their position. This may, or may not be true, I don't know. I do know that it is really frustrating to hear. Especially when the CS majors graduate without ever actually being required to make a persistent program with an actual GUI. There are some classes that offer this, but only a few and they generally just focus on interfaces.

    Anyway, that's my rant. Don't switch if programming is your goal. Otherwise you'll have a hard time getting those jobs.

    As an aside, vela is correct when saying they can become boring. Intro to Programming is really interesting and fun and the possibilities seem limitless... but then data structures, discrete structures, numerical analysis, architecture.... etc. It wont get interesting again until you start your 400 series classes. Even then, pick them wisely.
  5. Sep 15, 2014 #4
    Thanks for the insights everyone.
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