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Not sure if physics/cs is right for me

  • Thread starter CyberShot
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm currently a third year physics major who is thinking about switching to computer science. I'm growing more frustrated every time with each programming assignment because I feel like I have this unique way of solving complex computational tasks, and when it comes time to implementation, the detail-requirement nature of programming kicks in and ruins all my great ideas! I have to make sure every line is "right", or the compiler can't understand my instructions.

This is why I feel like I'm not going anywhere in computer science. I feel like I'm wasting my time with details, trying to shape my method of solution in to the "right" form for the compiler to understand.

I guess what I'm asking is what kind of major is the best match for someone who relies almost 100% on intuition, tends to approach problems VERY independently, always coming up with solutions using a different, sometimes unorthodox, route, and is very, very uninterested in details, like having to learn what the compiler decides is "right" so that it could properly implement my correct psuedo-codic algorithms?

Also, what kind of cognitive personality type do you think I have?

Thanks!
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Your problem is not that you can't program because you're too brilliant for a compiler to ever understand you, it's that you think this is the case and that's what is holding you back. Programming is very difficult for most people, and you just might be one of those in the majority that has to grind through it until you get the hang of it. Making excuses will NOT help you, ever.

If this were physics, you couldn't say, 'Well I come up with these complex and creative ways to solve a problem in physics, but the universe simply doesn't allow me to make mathematical errors!!' You need to pay more attention to your work.

Also, as an aside, computer science is not all programming, but for your sake, I wouldn't worry about that. You don't have to be a devilishly badass programmer to succeed, but your attitude won't help you get anywhere.
 
  • #3
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What you have:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect" [Broken]
What you don't have:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigour" [Broken]

Intuition can only take a certain length before it is rendered useless. There's nothing intuitive in infinity,complex numbers n-spheres and countless other subjects, Nonetheless these subjects propelled humanity forward in the quest for the ultimate truth (and the ultimate Ipod).

You attend an institution of learning and pay them to do exactly that. You don't go to college just so your beliefs and views will approved.

P.s

Before saying any of the examples above is intuitive, please consider that to YOU right NOW after studing and broadening your horizons it may seem intuitive, If you would try to explain some of these concepts to say ancient Greeks.
 
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  • #4
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You're just trying to start trouble aren't you? Didn't we say philosophy was the best major for you?
 
  • #6
I'm currently a third year physics major who is thinking about switching to computer science. I'm growing more frustrated every time with each programming assignment because I feel like I have this unique way of solving complex computational tasks, and when it comes time to implementation, the detail-requirement nature of programming kicks in and ruins all my great ideas! I have to make sure every line is "right", or the compiler can't understand my instructions.

This is why I feel like I'm not going anywhere in computer science. I feel like I'm wasting my time with details, trying to shape my method of solution in to the "right" form for the compiler to understand.
First of all, if you are having trouble with undergraduate-level programming assignments, then you must have trouble with logical thinking, because that is all that these undergrad-level assignments really require (aside from the ability to listen to a lecture or read a book to understand terminology and concepts).

Second of all, given the above (that you have trouble with logical thinking, which is ultimately the way people pose, outline, and solve problems), it is unlikely that you have a unique way of solving complex problems. Likely, you have a stubborn way of not solving simple problems.

I guess what I'm asking is what kind of major is the best match for someone who relies almost 100% on intuition, tends to approach problems VERY independently, always coming up with solutions using a different, sometimes unorthodox, route, and is very, very uninterested in details, like having to learn what the compiler decides is "right" so that it could properly implement my correct psuedo-codic algorithms?
You'd have to define intuition here. Intuition in solving math problems? Intuition in proposing biological theories? Intuition in creating works of art? My sense is that you don't have the intuition in solving math/physics problems the way you think you do.

Most important piece of advice I can give you: being uninterested in details makes you neither unorthodox nor independent. Every time you choose not to pay attention to a detail to the point that you understand what is behind that detail, you are choosing not to learn something. It is rather orthodox and usual to choose not to learn.

Also, what kind of cognitive personality type do you think I have?

Thanks!
If you want to understand your style of learning/perceiving the world, think about it for yourself. Models won't get you there. Neither will being dishonest with yourself.
 
  • #7
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^^^^^^^ We already said all that stuff. Don't rekindle the flames.
 
  • #8
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I wish I had a Kindle
 

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