View Full Version : Switching CS to Stats?

08-20-2004, 02:18 PM
I'm currently a 4th-year CS major. This is not to say I took many CS courses, but I still need to take classes on Operating Systems, System programming, S/W Engineering, AI, Database, etc. So, far, my programming skills are pretty weak. I know C++/Java but can only write simple trivial programs and a basic knowledge of data strcuture (i.e. how it works but not the coding part). I have no job experience at all in the computer field (not even a freelance entry-level programmer). That's about how far I am with CS.

Looking at the job prospect, I do see many S/W Engineering, C/C++ Unix, and the similar computer positions in my area (southern California) searching monster.com and other big job sites. However, most of the requirements include 3-5+ years of programming experience, using industry tools that I've tried to learn 3 years ago but now became obslete, experience developing huge application. I do not have Windows API (MFC), C#, .NET, SQL, experience and do not want to waste my time learning it, only to realize it's going to change in a few years from now. Or the company I'm trying to learn it for will no longer use it.

It's not too late though, I've thought of maybe changing my major to Statisics with emphasis in statistical computing and a minor in CS. This is the description in my catalog for the Stats major w/ emphasis in statistical computing:

Emphasis in Statistical ComputingModern day statistics applications require heavy computing for manipulating massive data sets, mining immense databases, and implementing computationally intensive data analytic tools to solve complex scientific problems. This emphasis is designed to prepare students
for careers in statistics by providing them with the data analytic and computational machinery needed to excel in all avenues of statistical science during an information age where statistical computing plays a crucial role. Students completing this emphasis would also be well prepared for graduate study in statistical computing and statistics.

Some of the classes do overlap my CS major requirements but the stats requires me to take a few more math classes. Is the job outlook in Stats good so far? I know Stats job are wide and you can find employment in fed./local government, marketing, science, etc. And if I can't find many jobs at the bachelor level, I could perhaps go on to get my Master in Stats or Bio-statistics.

If I do continue in CS (without double majoring Stats nor minoring in it), I could perhaps take classes where there are large projects and can show that in my resume to prospected employers. However, I know I'm going to be in a competiton for a fresh CS grad with no industry experience seeking a entry-level programming job. Moving to India isn't an option for me.

Any advice here?

08-20-2004, 02:24 PM
I would go for the statistical computing. It sounds like something that interests you, and you'd have more programming knowledge than most of the other people in that field - always a plus. As far as getting some experience - it doesn't have to be paid. Try and join an open source team that also interests you. Say what you did to help and use it in your resume. Even if you only helped a little, if you say "Worked on Such & Such Project doing This & That in C++", it looks a lot better than it does to you when a future employer is reading it.