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Finishing CS degree: How do I *not* get a desk job

  1. Aug 16, 2010 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I'm currently finishing up a BS in computer science, and will most likely stay an extra year to get an MS. My school is heavy on software engineering, and after all of this, I really don't want to spend my life behind a desk writing thousands of lines of code. How can I avoid that if I just get a BS? An MS? Should I be pursuing another type of graduate school? Thank you for any suggestions.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2010 #2


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    You have already chosen your field. Do you have some talent in designing programs such that others can slave away implementing your ideas? If not, you might be grinding out code for low bucks. After all, there are tons of Indians willing to do that for less money than many programmers in the western world make.

    I wrote custom application programs in the late 1980s. The value was not in the time I spent coding (though I charged for that) but in the time I spent understanding the needs of my clients and designing my programs to best address those needs.

    Good luck!
  4. Aug 17, 2010 #3

    Yes, I would say that I am quite talented in my work compared to those around me. I'm really looking for the best way to implement that though, without being a code monkey, which is why I want to know about my different degree options (MS in CS, just a BS in CS, MBA, MS in another field) that will keep me away from a screen all day. If it matters, I will also be completing a minor in chemistry, but so will all the pre-med biology kids.

    If anyone else has some insight on this that would be great too!

  5. Aug 17, 2010 #4
    Well, I can offer my opinion on the matter, but seeing as I'm not in the same position as you ( I am just starting a degree in computer science ) I'm not sure how useful/helpful it will be. If you wish to do something in the field of Computer Science, without being a "code monkey" I would have said research is the one way to go, so MS, PhD, that sort of thing.

    It really depends what you find most enjoyable about Computer Science and what you want at the end of your degree ( academia or industry ), are you interested in compiler optimisation or real-time systems, etc. If your school ( or another one if your current one is too software-writing oriented ) actively researches the topics you find interesting then find out more about by talking to the people involved.

    I'm considering going to down the road of research myself, I'm not sure if there will be very much money/jobs in programming when my time comes if what turbo-1 said is true.

    I hope this helps.
  6. Aug 17, 2010 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    You could always look into federal law enforcement, intelligence, and defense careers.
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