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View Full Version : Is anyone ever a computer scientist outside of college?



indigo0086
08-28-2007, 09:55 AM
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.

laserlight
08-28-2007, 10:11 AM
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 (http://www.djspinnet.org/wp/?p=382). 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.

indigo0086
08-28-2007, 10:21 AM
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.

DavidP
08-28-2007, 12:17 PM
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

brewbuck
08-28-2007, 12:50 PM
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?

Rashakil Fol
08-28-2007, 02:51 PM
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.

Wraithan
08-28-2007, 03:22 PM
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.

Don't put other down to make yourself feel better.

brewbuck
08-28-2007, 03:23 PM
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.

Rashakil Fol
08-28-2007, 03:58 PM
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.


Don't put other down to make yourself feel better.

Huh? I'm not a CS, CE, or an IT major. Or physics.

robwhit
08-28-2007, 05:05 PM
what do evil dictators know about fashion?

MacGyver
08-28-2007, 06:09 PM
what do evil dictators know about fashion?

I don't know, but one in particular claims to know about the kitchen (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070828122700.z70aj5ml&show_article=1). ;)

Dave_Sinkula
08-28-2007, 06:27 PM
And I hear Kim Jong-Il is quite the good at golf.

brewbuck
08-28-2007, 06:41 PM
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.

DavidP
08-28-2007, 07:23 PM
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

@nthony
08-28-2007, 08:37 PM
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.

brewbuck
08-28-2007, 08:55 PM
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.

Funny. At my school, the CS dropouts all ended up in engineering.

Just goes to show that such generalizations are a bunch of inflammatory garbage.

MacGyver
08-28-2007, 10:06 PM
Depends what "smart" means, though. I suspect people are using that word with different meanings.

indigo0086
08-28-2007, 10:16 PM
I know an older guy with an engineering degree who chose to start a comp sci-degree because, "I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my life" lol.

DavidP
08-29-2007, 12:06 AM
In regards to what @nthony said:

I guess that's why at my school the IT school is actually part of the Business college :D

soooo true

When it comes to Engineering -> Comp Sci.....i'd say it is somewhat true...but not as true as the Comp Sci -> IT -> Business thing. i wouldn't say it is true enough to make it a generalization (like the others), although I have seen some cases of it happening.

In my particular case...I am fascinated by many aspects of EE and CE, and I hope to take more courses in those subject areas.

maxorator
08-29-2007, 02:55 AM
My uncle is a programmer and works as an IT manager in a quite large company and has no papers whatsoever.

SlyMaelstrom
08-29-2007, 07:37 PM
I don't think there are many fashion designers who could be physicists.... and you think there are a ton of physicists out there that would make good fashion designers? I don't want to throw a stereotype on physicists... but the fanny pack and pocket protector haven't been fashion statements for... well... ever, now.

I have to agree with Brewbuck... you seem to have a grudge against IT majors (and also apparently Literature and Fashion Design majors), but in my opinion, a successful person in any of the above fields is just as well accomplished as the other. Just because many CS majors fall back on IT, it doesn't mean they were too dumb to handle it... it's just not what they were looking for.

BobMcGee123
08-29-2007, 08:42 PM
In the United States you need to have a special license to become a computer scientist, and therefore because this is regulated by the Federal Government you must have an ABET certified Computer Science degree.

EDIT:


and you think there are a ton of physicists out there that would make good fashion designers?


Wow, you guys are gay.

brewbuck
08-29-2007, 09:07 PM
In the United States you need to have a special license to become a computer scientist, and therefore because this is regulated by the Federal Government you must have an ABET certified Computer Science degree.

What the heck are you talking about?

SlyMaelstrom
08-29-2007, 09:12 PM
Wow, you guys are gay.Psshh... you know well and good that you dress better than anyone here.

brewbuck
08-29-2007, 09:27 PM
Psshh... you know well and good that you dress better than anyone here.

I'm not sure why sexual orientation is entering into this conversation...

indigo0086
08-31-2007, 09:26 AM
queatrix, is that you?