Is anyone ever a computer scientist outside of college?

This is a discussion on Is anyone ever a computer scientist outside of college? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I've been wondering, I hear a lot on these boards about computer scientists covering theory, while IT and software engineers ...

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    Ethernal Noob
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    Is anyone ever a computer scientist outside of college?

    I've been wondering, I hear a lot on these boards about computer scientists covering theory, while IT and software engineers being the practitioners of programming. I've wondered the truthfullness of these statements because throughout college, while taking a few theoretical classes, most of my comp-sci learning has been grooming you to become a programmer, which makes me wonder, is there a market for computer scientists or is it just simply a major that covers a broad spectrum of the computer field in order to teach one how to program. I've heard a teacher even say that IT is more practical than computer science, meanwhile IT's highest programming in our school is visual basic and maybe introductory java.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    is there a market for computer scientists or is it just simply a major that covers a broad spectrum of the computer field in order to teach one how to program
    Recently, I read a blog post by a recent computer science graduate that attempts to address Misconceptions About Computer Science Pt. 1. She argues that since computer science is about mathematical thinking and formal ways to design IT oriented solutions and prove their correctness, what it teaches is just as practical in the real world as what is taught in "a generic IT course". However, a computer scientist may require more specific training as such is not sufficiently provided by his/her computer science training.
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    I mean, it's like many other areas of study, doctors study a lot of theory before actually taking jobs practicing what they've learned, much time is spent interning. Scientists learn a lot of theory, but eventually they go on to practice it. Personally most comp sci-courses I've been in are quite practical, it doesn't help that programming is my hobby.

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    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    Most computer science courses include lots of programming. I haven't taken a single computer science course that didn't include several programming projects (and all still include lots of theory).

    IT = Comp Sci. flunk outs
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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidP View Post
    IT = Comp Sci. flunk outs
    This idea that IT, CE, CS, etc are somehow a spectrum with the "stupids" at one end and the "smarts" at the other is just ridiculous and needs to go away. They are different fields with different goals. They all happen to involve computers -- so what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    This idea that IT, CE, CS, etc are somehow a spectrum with the "stupids" at one end and the "smarts" at the other is just ridiculous and needs to go away. They are different fields with different goals. They all happen to involve computers -- so what?
    It's no more ridiculous than the notion that physicists are smarter than literature majors.

    You can see which majors tend to have smarter people by looking at what direction people go when they find out that they're too dumb for their major. You don't see people who couldn't handle IT moving into CS; it's the other way around. All the people I know who've left the IT program for CS found IT to be easy and boring.
    There are 10 types of people in this world, those who cringed when reading the beginning of this sentence and those who salivated to how superior they are for understanding something as simple as binary.

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    I agree it is ridiculous. Just because CS majors fall back to IT and typically IT folks don't move over to CS doesn't mean anything truthfully. IT is a major that for most popular jobs in the field require less training, some of which you can get from your CS training, it simply makes sense to go to IT, since you are trained in it a little already.

    It is not a measure of intelligence whether one can do well in any major, it is a measure of their focus on the major and how well their brain works with it. I could never be a fashion design major, nor could I be a psychologist, does it make those professions require more intelligence than CS, because I can do CS, I can do advanced math and sciences, reading and writing, learning foreign languages, but fashion and psychology (among many other majors) would be near impossible for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashakil Fol View Post
    It's no more ridiculous than the notion that physicists are smarter than literature majors.
    That's not much of an argument. The idea that a physicist is smarter that a lit major is also ridiculous. The sorts of thinking they do are completely different.

    People in the "hard sciences" tend to think they're smarter than everyone else. Smarter? No. More arrogant, certainly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewbuck
    That's not much of an argument. The idea that a physicist is smarter that a lit major is also ridiculous. The sorts of thinking they do are completely different.
    If an evil dictator took over and forced the physicists and literature people to switch places and do the other person's job to the same standards, at the threat of execution, which group would have more survivors? You could do the same thing with physicists and fashion designers. The physicists could fake being fashion designers pretty easily. I don't think there are many fashion designers who could be physicists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraithan View Post
    Don't put other down to make yourself feel better.
    Huh? I'm not a CS, CE, or an IT major. Or physics.
    There are 10 types of people in this world, those who cringed when reading the beginning of this sentence and those who salivated to how superior they are for understanding something as simple as binary.

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    what do evil dictators know about fashion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by robwhit View Post
    what do evil dictators know about fashion?
    I don't know, but one in particular claims to know about the kitchen.

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    And I hear Kim Jong-Il is quite the good at golf.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashakil Fol View Post
    If an evil dictator took over and forced the physicists and literature people to switch places and do the other person's job to the same standards, at the threat of execution, which group would have more survivors?
    This argument is bizarre and inhuman. I'm not really sure how to respond, so I'll just stop.

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    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    All I know is this:

    1. I know more than one person that has gone to IT because they thought CS was too hard.
    2. Physics majors and Lit majors are both smart...just in 100% completely different fields.
    3. I never want to program in Visual Basic
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidP View Post
    Most computer science courses include lots of programming. I haven't taken a single computer science course that didn't include several programming projects (and all still include lots of theory).

    IT = Comp Sci. flunk outs
    LOL, this is anecdotally true in so many cases I've seen. Except I'd go one step further and posit:
    Comp Sci. = Engineering drop-outs.

    Even further to complete the series:
    Engineering -> Computer Science -> Information Technology -> Business

    I'm sure many will protest, and in no way to I claim this as a universal truth, but this heirarchy displays itself so strongly throughout our university that to deny its existance would be foolish.
    So many of the comp. sci students who have dropped out during the years have gone into IT. And from many of the IT students I know, their second recourse is the school of business. As well, I hear from so many of my bretheren that comp sci is only there second home, usually after not fairing well at an engineering discipline. I myself am a contributer to this life cycle as I initially came from electrical engineering before being "demoted" to computer science.
    Really, this ladder makes complete sense as most engineering fields undoubtedly contain more theory and work load than science fields (i.e. computer science) which in turn have more theory than the practical nature of IT excetera to business.

    This is not to shame anyone, I am not "ashamed" I couldn't cut it as an engineer: not everyone's calling is engineering, whether you like it or not, and the same applies for any field along the heirarchy, you do what interests you, no matter its technical merit.

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