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MS vs Double Major

  1. Apr 6, 2012 #1
    I am a freshman at CU Boulder currently studying computer science. Currently I am looking at getting a minor in physics as well as the MS in computer science. I was wondering if I should forgo the MS and get a double major with physics in its place since it would be the same number of credits. Either way I will be done in 4 to 4.5 years(total, 3 to 3.5 left). I like both departments equally, it really is just a matter of which combination would be better for getting jobs MS CompSci + Physics Minor or BS CompSci + BS Physics
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2012 #2


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    Hey blackhawk5367 and welcome to the forums.

    With regard to programming, the important thing will be what projects you worked on and what kind of depth of knowledge of both the domain and non-domain aspects with regard to the projects that you are able to communicate to the interviewer. You will of course be tested technically, but it's more important that you have worked in the project environment because projects (1) don't always finish and (2) are very different environment from doing solo work but a very good training background for real software development because:

    a) things are getting more complex, and deadlines are shrinking which means you need to have more people that implement things that are more complex and have some kind of management (self-regulated or externally regulated) that makes all of this happen.

    b) When you do everything by yourself, you run the risk of having the "I will code everything from scratch" syndrome or the "I will create the perfect code/design" syndrome which will haunt you after you do the interview when you find out how much that outlook hurts you.

    c) Because no-one can create the kinds of programs required for most purposes by themselves.

    Now you can get this kind of experiences in a lot of different ways. You could get it in a PhD or a research project of some sort, you could get it by working on open source projects or doing your own projects over time or through some kind of coursework. Point is, many roads to the destination and you do not need to be constrained by a formal masters program (sometimes it can work against you).

    If you can find a project to work on of some sort (start small and add on experience as time goes on), then this is what I recommend. The reasons for this is that you will be working on something real and as a result get knowledge that is applicable, put in to context for something that others can see has been useful, and to actually meld all the stuff people call 'theory' with the stuff people call 'practice' in a way that they are intertwined so that your experience is a lot more useful and has perspective.
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