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Questions about compsci(switching from physics)

  1. Jul 20, 2013 #1
    Right now I'm well into my third year as a physics major and I'm starting to wonder whether or not it's for me. I really do enjoy studying physics, but I am starting to think that a more creative career choice would be beneficial to me.

    I have taken many language and programming courses for fun over the years. I have recently had the opportunity to intern with a company that provides language learning solutions to various businesses internationally. The work I was tasked to do was in statistical analysis, and computational linguistics, and I really want to switch to Computer Science because of this valuable experience. I speak 3 languages, and I have been learning my fourth for the past few years, and I never knew this type of field existed until recently.

    I've always wanted to study linguistics, but I have been burned in the past by a low-paying degree (I did a B.A. in Music Theory after H.S.), and it really seems like Compsci would allow me to at least become involved more in the field, and still provide reliable alternatives for employment. I can always study physics on my own time, at my own pace.

    I am generally curious as to whether or not this sounds like a decent idea? I have many other interests and skills that could benefit from an extended knowledge of computational skills. I don't think that I would ever make any world-changing discoveries in physics/photonics anyway. It just doesn't feel like it's for me anymore. Would computer science help me learn a more professional and rigorous level of computation, and allow me to do other, more creative things?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey QuarkCharmer.

    Here is some advice for you if you want to go into development of some sort (programming, etc).

    If you want to do this then you will need to get some projects under your belt in some capacity. The more involved it is in scope, number of people involved, number of platforms used, and complexity, the better off you will be for prepa ration.

    Focus on a specific domain and become proficient in that. Take a complex repository and add to it. Learn the ins and outs of the particular domain you are getting into along with the necessary programming and computer science knowledge that supplements the development.

    Learn about programming with API's and scripting languages to a point where you will just look at an API or documentation and be able to write code using the specification in very short time.

    If you haven't participated in at least one serious project in a team based environment, then you won't really understand the nuances and subtleties that software development entails and the people who have this training will in all likelihood be hired over yourself.

    If you want to get into more academic roles for computer science, then you should speak to faculty members as this kind of work is very different from the kind of work you do for many businesses that need web-pages, data-base, or general application software to be developed through any point of the development cycle.
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