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I love computer science but I don't think I want to be a programmer

  1. Aug 9, 2010 #1
    I absolutely love every thing about computer science. I love complexity theory, AI, machine learning, Theory of Computation, Algorithms, etc. etc.

    But I know that if I get a bachelors degree in computer science then I will just end up in a software development job where I don't get to apply any REAL computer science, just programming. There is so much MORE to computer science then that, but there isn't any jobs that apply it.

    I know that I would love a research career in computer science, but from everything I've heard it is very difficult to actually get research jobs, or to actually become a professor.

    Do you think I should study computer science? Or would I be better off with something like computer/electrical engineering?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2010 #2
    Why don't you study mathematics?
  4. Aug 9, 2010 #3


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    Doing CS is an ideal way of avoiding becoming a programmer
  5. Aug 9, 2010 #4
    What? What do you mean?
  6. Aug 9, 2010 #5
    Aren't math and computer science intimately related?
  7. Aug 10, 2010 #6
    Hi there,

    The degree in computing science is not a degree in programming. From my knowledge, in computing science, you can develop new algorithm to make programs go faster/smoother/better. But you are not necessarily developing the program yourself.

    I have many friends that did theoretical CS, and their job is to develop new mathematical equations and algorithm to make anything on computers go faster and smoother.

  8. Aug 10, 2010 #7
    Those are subjects in math, too. Complexity theory is a huge topic in mathematical research, and is quite topical at the moment as well. The mathematical interest in complexity is tied in with CS too, involving application of algorithms etc.

    You could try studying both math and CS to the highest level - you'd end up with a myriad of options. Otherwise, CS majors don't need to resign themselves to becoming programmers. Have a search around the net and see if you can find stats for the most common CS jobs.
  9. Aug 10, 2010 #8


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    Firstly CS (at a proper CS school) is applied maths, you need never touch a computer - and will probably end up doing a lot less programming then a physics/eng student.

    Then there is, in a lot of industry, a strong bias against CS when it comes to hiring programmers. The opinion is that grads (or worse PhDs) from very theoretical based schools have no programming skills, so you are better off hiring a physicist/engineer.

    if you go to a crap school you will do a lot of programming, basically the course is just learn Java (or perhaps C# these days) in 21days - and no one will hire you as a programmer because you don't know any theory !
  10. Aug 10, 2010 #9
    If I were you, I'd at least pursue a Masters degree in CS or Applied Mathematics. These subjects are very closely related and at most universities very similar in program design.
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