View Full Version : College or No College :: Future

09-24-2002, 05:08 PM

I met C++ in September 2001. We immediately found a common interest in software design and implementation.

I am currently a senior at a college. I am way behind schedule though. My goal is to graduate within four years and no more. However, I ran behind a long the way because I have to take courses that are not related to programming and some courses have to be taken in a certain order. I will not graduate until after Fall 2003. Anyways, I really want to work on real software projects and not pay for an education I could get just via books from Amazon.com.

I am confident in my ability to learn any material related to computer science from hardware to software, and especially programming C/C++, Windows, and Winsock, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit ASM. From my perspective, anything is possible. You just need to buy a book! Heck, college professors use the same books I could buy from Amazon. I have studied from books that they found difficult including MFC, Winsock, and Windows programming. My concern is really why do you have to pay so much money ($$$) for an "education" you could get via books from Amazon.com?

Please understand I am not boasting. I just feel that I am in a situation now where college is and will slow my progress as a programmer and it is and will continue to fade that passion and desire I have for software design and implementation. I want to work on real projects including real problems and real applications. The project we do are jokes. For example, the professor in an OOP C++ course I am required to take does not like me because I rush the class. The class does not teach me anything as far as software design and implemention. Everything comes from C++ How to Program by Deitel&Deitel which I read a year ago!

I would like to know the importance of a college degree specifically computer science. For example, let say two applicants apply for the same entry position. One applicant has a BS in CS, but has no experience working on real applications ourside of college (note employers do not know this). The second applicant has very good experience for an entry position and can get the job done if given an opportunity. What do you think will happen?

Many "successful" people are college-dropouts including Bill Gates and Michael Dell. I have no problem staying in college; however, I honestly feel it is slowing my progress as a programmer. I really do. How do *you* know when it is time to call it quit?


09-24-2002, 05:27 PM
A college degree is important for most people. Who knows you could be a Bill Gates or John Carmack. But either way, a college degree always looks good and can't hurt you.

Your goal is to become a computer "programmer". However, computer "science" involves much more than programming. Most software engineers spend around 10-20% of their time programming (coding). While the rest of the project requires other skills that you'd be introduced to in your college courses. I agree with you that college can slow you down and learning by doing projects on your own will help broaden your technical expertise.

Because you're already a college senior, I strongly recommend that you not drop out. You're already so close to finishing anyways. Since the job market is pretty bad right now, having a degree will give you more options and is definitely needed to pursue a higher degree.

09-24-2002, 05:39 PM
Okay. Thanks.

Oh, I definitely enjoy problem solving. In fact, I practice problem solving in an optional course ran by the ACM every semester. I really enjoy the problems we work on.

I have another question.

I will probably stay, NOT because I want to stay, but because of fear. What is the best way to improving my experience as a software engineer? I am working on projects including MFC and Winsock. What can I do to improve my experience "on the side" or "hidden" as only employers will recognize it because I now very well by now professors do not care.


09-24-2002, 05:57 PM
like c said, u can be a computer god, nowadays most people won't even read your application without a degree man.

Some people get lucky, do you really wanna gamble your life on luck? Get your degree, especially scince u have invested so much time and stuff in it, if u back out now u may never forgive yourself man.

09-24-2002, 06:06 PM
I basically agree with what they said, degrees look good and if you're already close to being finished why drop out? So far i don't think I've learned much of anything in high school, but it's just something I need to do in my lifetime to be considered an acceptable part of society. You may not think you've learned a lot in your college courses, but again it looks good, and society wants you do be college educated. Now I don't know if your school has it, but there is another major called Software Engineering (Rochester Institute of Technology has it) which specifically teaches about the design process of programming. It teaches how to work on full scale projects. It also teaches how to develop on embedded systems and machinery and not just personal computers. It is more the 'implementing' aspect of programming, while comptuer science is more the 'theory' aspect of programming (if i'm not mistaken, if I am wrong about all of this I am a dumbass)

Anyway college is good even if you don't learn a lot from it. A lot of college graduates dont' even use their major in their career, they need to learn what they need to know from on the job training.

I thought Bill Gates DID go to college! I could swear I saw a picture from him that said it was him in college !


09-24-2002, 06:29 PM
gates never went to college, he didn't have to.

Allow me to make a comparison. Imagine your 17/18 again, in your senior year of high school again. Your sick of school, so u drop out.


You went 11 years (in your case 4(?)) just to drop out and not take the benifits?

09-24-2002, 08:05 PM
College can be important but it depends on what you want to
do though. Alan Kay invented the gui before machines were capable to implement it. Only later when machines caught up
was smalltalk and the rest developed. An api such as
MFC arn't usually covered from a pratical point since there's isn't much to just calling functions. If a course does approach MFC it would be more of how are OO frameworks designed.

Theoretical research is important but also knowing what can be accomplished is too. I try to take courses that interest me. Sometimes I learn new stuft in areas that I thought I knew.
For example from my first year taking BASIC I was once assign the take to find the maximum and minimum of an array. It never occured to me that you are able to do it using 3 * (n/2) comparisons until I read it in my algorithm book about four years later!

09-24-2002, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by Cshot
A college degree is important for most people. Who knows you could be a Bill Gates or John Carmack. But either way, a college degree always looks good and can't hurt you.

I agree. but on the other hand, some companis perfer too much on your degree than ability, that's bad~

09-24-2002, 11:55 PM
Now days in our society, the degree no longer shows your ability as a programmer, but instead your ability to communicate and function properly around others.

Companies don't really care about your knowledge of a certain programming language... that can be tought, through books, training "boot camps", etc...

What they want is an employee that can represent their company well. That means being a little more than competant when it comes time to give reports, or whatever. Part of my degree is actually requirements to take speach classes, and other such things not directly related to programming.

Things like that are why a degree is important. Like you said, if you want to learn how to program, pick up a book. I go far above and beyond the requirements of my programming classes, but I know I need at the very least my associates if I want to be competitive.

09-25-2002, 12:34 AM
Good point. Very good point.

Employers want well-rounded employees. However, not all college graduates are leaders. Leadership is something we are born with. It is innate!


09-25-2002, 12:38 AM
Very much agreed ;)

I also had to take some ****ty class on how to be a leader, work in teams, etc... Damn that class sucked, can't even remember then name of it.

09-25-2002, 04:58 AM
I think Gates did go to Harvard, but dropped out.

09-25-2002, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by salvelinus
I think Gates did go to Harvard, but dropped out.

Yeah, and look where that got him. He's a failure... Stay in school.

09-25-2002, 03:48 PM
he enrolled but never attended a single course....