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When does Computer science get interesting?

  1. Nov 6, 2014 #1
    So a year ago I tried an accelerated paced computer science course when I had no experience programming and I ended up hating it and dropping due to never understanding what was going on. Now I finally decided to take a intro to programming class that is pretty cool, but still no where near as interesting as mathematics.

    Next semester I think I will be retaking the accelerated paced course now that I have some background and a discrete math course. Then next year I can take the next programming course called discrete structured programming and then I will be able to transfer.

    Does a computer science major get much more interesting? I am thinking more along the lines of my discrete math course that included set theory, analytic logic, proofs, counting principle, algorithms and combinatorics.

    If not then I will most likely just stick with my math major and hope employment falls in my lap :D
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2014 #2

    esuna

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  4. Nov 6, 2014 #3

    jtbell

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    I've never heard of a CS course named "discrete structured programming", and a Google search didn't turn up anything, either. Can you give us a link to a page with the course description (or copy-n-paste it if you don't want us to know where you are)?
     
  5. Nov 6, 2014 #4
    That is what the professor called it. The actual name is
    CIS 233 - Fund Comp Sci III
    Introduces advanced concepts including: theory, generic programming implementation, applications, and analysis of associated algorithms including lists, stacks, queues, hash tables, trees, and graphs. Recursion, iteration, searching, and sorting algorithms and analysis. Prerequisite: CIS 232 Corequisite: CIS 241 Transfer: CSU; UC (For UC, both CIS 232 and 233 must be completed in order to receive transfer units). Materials fee $5.00. (Formerly CIS33)
     
  6. Nov 6, 2014 #5

    esuna

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    That looks like a standard second semester CS course. It was about the last month of mine when we started trees and graphs, that I finally started to find CS interesting.
     
  7. Nov 7, 2014 #6

    jtbell

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    OK, so it's basically a data structures and algorithms course. I consider that stuff to be pretty interesting in general, myself. There's potentially a lot of theory involved in analyzing and comparing the effectiveness of different data structures or algorithms. Some courses focus more on the practical applications and writing programs that use this stuff. Other courses focus more on the theory and use programs mainly as "illustrations".
     
  8. Nov 7, 2014 #7
    Ha. Told you it's not that bad. The divisions between different fields are somewhat arbitrary. Programming can be pretty different from math, but there's no clear cut boundary between math and computer science (and programming != computer science).



    Graphics, artificial intelligence, algorithms. Theory of computation is interesting. What's even more cool is that it has applications to hardware and compiler construction. Compiler construction sounds boring on the face of it, and there are aspects of it that aren't that appealing (not that I'm an expert, but I've looked into it a little bit), but it's cool that it puts the theory to work. I think the major might be interesting enough, but the thing you might have to worry about is that you might not think that a lot of the jobs are that interesting. Although, if you luck out, there are some jobs where you can put more of the theory to work and/or use more math. But that's a problem with anything. Not everyone gets to do the cool stuff. It's competitive.



    Don't hope it falls into your lap. Get an internship, network, informational interviews, job search books, etc.
     
  9. Nov 8, 2014 #8
    All of these topics were of high interest to me! But they seem heavily mathematical meaning that wouldn't it just be better to major in mathematics for these topics? A lot of courses in a undergraduate computer science degree look extremely boring ( ie. compiler design and operating systems courses.) Other courses like analysis of algorithims and computational complexity on the other hand are of MUCH interest to me.

    You were right! While programming is still not what I want to do for my life. I can see some fun and creativity involved in it. I think what made me hate it last time was all the syntax in C that got in the way of me learning the actual concepts. The intro course is taught in python which is making things much easier to understand. Also, I see what you did there for the programming != computer science :P

    Would my discrete math course be the most like what I would do in upper division courses then? Such as algorithm design and computational complexity? I intend to go to graduate school regardless of field I go into, but you (homeomorphic) have opened my eyes to the fact that I do NOT want to be unemployed or highly underemployed.
     
  10. Nov 8, 2014 #9

    esuna

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    Yes, I think you'd be better off majoring in mathematics and just take the upper division courses in CS that interest you if you can.

    My thoughts exactly. Which is why I'm not majoring in straight CS, just going for a minor. I'm actually in an operating systems course this semester and it is indeed pretty boring. At least, they way my class is taught is pretty boring. It potentially could be a very interesting topic.
     
  11. Nov 9, 2014 #10
    What is your main major Esuna?

    Also to anyone and everyone who knows. Would it be practical to go from a math major to computer science graduate school? Or just about any other graduate school? If I were to do a Math major I would try for minors in computer science and physics so I have options to go CS or engineering for grad school. But I am just worried that it will not be enough. Id rather not stay at my CC for a total of 4 years before transfer. I am already on the three year path ( I had to start low on math and I am in calc 2 now)
     
  12. Nov 9, 2014 #11

    esuna

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    Next semester it will be math :)
    It's practical. As long as you are aware of the requirements for admission to those programs and have the required undergraduate CS courses (likely from the minor).
     
  13. Nov 10, 2014 #12
    There's some variation in how it's taught and what's covered, but there's some overlap. My algorithms course didn't involve programming--some of the implementation stuff was covered in my data structures course. The algorithms course wasn't super-rigorous, but it was essentially a math course, in some sense.
     
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