View Full Version : I'm meeting with a college professor (computer science). Questions...... ->

12-05-2006, 07:21 PM

Currently, im a 14 yr. old 9th grader, Im taking the only programming course my school has, and thats with VB.net. I know C, some C++, and little MIPs Assembly. (scripting wise i know Lua, but that doesnt really matter) so I feel as if I have a firm grip on the programming concept/'theory'. This has led me to being very far along in my school programming course to a point Im past 3rd semesters work in 1/2 of the first semester. My teacher has recommended a few of his best students to talk to a college professor (Easter Washington University) on computer science. After researching it a little, computer science seems like something Id enhoy doing. So, on thursday im to meet with the professor and next week, he's to give us a presentation.

So, the whole point of this thread now that you have the just of it: should I expect something of this? Can scholarships come from this hobby of programming i enjoy doing? Should I mention my prior programming experience (ive developed software for hte PSP (quite alot actually... its my TI-Calculator to those who used to develope for that))?

So basically... Should I watch what I say in return for something? Or, the opposite extreme, Im far to young to think to much of this...

Sorry for hte ranting, Im just a little curious...

Thanks for any info or suggestions.

P.S. Im being pretty formal here, Im trying not to act my age as it leads to people giving me false positives 8-\

12-05-2006, 08:22 PM
I wouldn't see this as more than a bit of practical information on the future, being given to you because you seem to be showing great interest in that area. Unfortunately it's unlikely to provide you with a forum for demonstrating your skills, so you're not going to be "discovered".

That said, I'm pretty sure the prof. will be able to make light of a few scholarship options should you ask him.

One thing I'd just like to point out before he does is that computer science is about a lot more than programming. You need to be good with numbers and abstract concepts, databases (cardinality, redundancy, etc.), one thing you may not have yet considered is that you will at some point be required to present these things to other people. You may be a whizz and everything but if you're unable to put things down into a report that a non-technical manager can understand you may needlessly lose marks.

12-05-2006, 09:43 PM
What smurf said was spot on. You'll spend the first semester or two in college with actual programming classes. After that, it's pretty much all theory(depending on your professors, you may do coding in the theory classes, but in general it's all lecture/ideas/concepts). Ask yourself if you have the ability to look at a problem and see several solutions. Do you LOVE numbers, and they way they relate to each other? How much do you love pascals triangle?

Take a look at the data structures section of the tutorials found on the main site. That's the type of stuff you'll start doing in Uni.

12-05-2006, 11:10 PM
hmm... ok, that clears the fog a little. As for being 'discovered', I'm just aiming for something I could do to prove to myself, that I havent been kidding myself all along thinking I will go places with programming... And hopefully whatever I end up doing, will be recognized as something worth being discovered / taking me places. I dunno to be honest, actually... Ive still got time to plan, Ill worry about it later.

As for the loving numbers, I really like math, and it shows by how well I do in it (not to a point where Ill spend my spare time doing it, excluding any programming needing it). After playing games growing up, I decided to contribute somehow and make them. Than once C programming got in my life, I saw how much programming relys on math. It seems as if you use any math arithmetic you can brainstorm and convert that into doing what you want. Excuse my insane naieve-ness, I'm trying :-\

And to end it for this rant-of-a-post, I'm looking to do something towards professionally developing. The american dream I guess - 'getting paid to do what you love'. I can think on my feet, I figure out new formulas and routines to do different things, I'm just hoping itll stick with me til' college where it will be much more useful and can be spread among many subjects I suppose... I'm correcting my 3 mistakes made by my teacher every day or so, but that doesnt say much unfortunatly. I prefer C/C++ over VB.Net anyday, VB.Net restricts you to one OS and limits you in a sense, where C/C++ is very portable, and not so much a 'handed to you', compared to visual basic which allows you to click around and do what you want :(

12-06-2006, 08:38 AM
If you to be a true professional, you're going to have to battle against your personal preference and use the right tool for the job. Forget predjudices, if someone tells you to do something using something you should be able to do it.

Easier said than done, mind you... ;)

12-06-2006, 09:32 AM
Again, smurf is right(damnit! stop responding before I get a chance!).

Being a programmer is more than knowing just one language, and saying that's the best thing for everything. Everybody has a personal preference, of course, but when you're told you need to make a gui application in a week and a half, VB is where you go. There's hardly anything you can do in C++ that a skilled programmer can't do in VB(I know, I've done some crazy stuff with VB).

Languages to look into while you're waiting for college: Java, Python, Ruby, nesC, & MatLab. They all have advantages. The more you know, the better.

12-06-2006, 12:43 PM
If you to be a true professional, you're going to have to battle against your personal preference and use the right tool for the job. Forget predjudices, if someone tells you to do something using something you should be able to do it.

Spot on? I don't know. I usually find that I have to work on keeping my mouth shut when a manager pig-headedly wants me to use the wrong tool for the job, and knows nothing (and cares nothing) about the "right" tool for the job. Because after all, if someone tells you to do something using something (even if it's the worst choice in terms of languages or tools), you should be able to do it. I think this is probably the way it is for most non-manager types--they know the right tool, but the higher-ups decree something else that seems completely bone-headed.

Anyway I wouldn't expect much from the "presentation" on Thursday. Just sit back, and enjoy. If you have any questions about a Computer Science degree, in terms of the university program, or the job you can expect down the road, go ahead and ask. But it's all just to provide you with information at this point.

12-07-2006, 06:55 PM
There are few pre-professional scholarships like that for computer science achievment available, however there are many scholarships for those interested in pursuing degrees in computer science. I don't think you should really stress though, you're just a puny freshman.

If you want to do some good preparation for yourself, you should just make sure to network with people, get some living out of your life, and just have something to say for yourself about all the time you spent on the computer. You don't want to just look like a completely angular person who's walled in mountains of this technical mumbo-jumbo. I can tell you, I'm applying to schools right now, and some essay questions I just wrote about were

- How have you taken advantage of the educational opportunities you've experienced
- How will you contribute to the vitality of the university community

I mean naturally, I could have rambled for a long time about my life, my education, my nerding, etc. but in 200 words each, I had to sum up why they would really want me at their school, and I didn't want to give them an overview of my technical accomplishments. I alluded to these things, I talked about being self-motivated and sincere desire to learn, but your/my pre-professional programming accomplishments aren't worth all that much to the person holding your/my admission ticket or scholarship money. It's the person behind those accomplishments. Unless you come up with something which has shaped your character and is really just overwhelmingly amazing, don't bank on this stuff (what would be bank-on-able: http://www.sciserv.org/sts/students/index.asp)

Anyways, I'd learn Java and kick the AP Computer Science AB exam's ass, it's really easy, gets ya outta some introductory courses I hear.

>> The more you know, the better.

I dunno about that really. You could argue this both ways really, but I wouldn't advise this. I've just seen too many dumbasses waste their time fussing about language semantics, and moving on once they feel they've 'learned' a language.