Thread: Computer Science

  1. #1
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    Computer Science

    Hi everyone,
    I was wondering...I want to go into Computer Science but im not sure if i have the skillz or not. I dont know any programming languages and my math skills are just ok. Are there any prerequisits to start computer studies do you think ? like knowing one language already or somthing ?


  2. #2
    The Defective GRAPE Lurker's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    You should probably start working with languages, such as C/C++ or Java, and (much later) assembler. And you will need math skills, so be sure to research as much as you can!
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  3. #3
    C++ Developer XSquared's Avatar
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    I think that with most Universities, you don't need any CS background, as they have first year courses to teach you what you need to know. But it definitely helps to have some programming under your belt.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member joshdick's Avatar
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    Prior knowledge in programming and mathematics is undoubtedly helpful, but it isn't required. The CS degree has certain math requirements, but those are all satisfied by taking those courses in college. As for programming, they start out CS majors here at Drexel in Javascript first term and introductory C++ the next term. I don't think you'll fare badly without much previous experience.

    My concern, however, would be if you really like computer science. That's not too big of a deal, though. If you aren't very dedicated to CS, you'll find out within the first year most likely and just switch majors the way most college students do.

    "The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is responsible. Universes of virtually unlimited complexity can be created in the form of computer programs." -- Joseph Weizenbaum.

    "If you cannot grok the overall structure of a program while taking a shower, you are not ready to code it." -- Richard Pattis.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2003
    What is the main focus of CS? Like what do they teach in general?
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  6. #6
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
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    CS students will get a lot of algorithm type courses (discrete math) as well as a lot of programming courses teaching you structures and data-handling techniques (binary trees, linked lists, UDTs).

    I would say that if you're not good in math, you could possibly make it as a CS, but it will be hard. And think about the repercussions of your choice of field. Are you ready to sit behind a computer screen for 8+ hours a day? Because that's what you're training to do.

    You don't need to have a lot of programming experience going into it, but it will definately be helpful. You'll be behind your peers if you don't.

  7. #7
    and the hat of int overfl Salem's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    > I want to go into Computer Science but im not sure if i have the skillz or not
    Well losing the 'z' habit would be a big start.
    As for the rest, get the course syllabus / prospectus and see what it says about
    - what you will learn
    - what you are required to know already

    > like knowing one language already or somthing ?
    Depends - knowing it badly can be much worse than not knowing it at all. You may have to unlearn some bad habits.
    Mind you, the general competence of so-called professors who insist that "void main" is a good thing remains a source of despair around these parts.

    The primary skill you should learn on the course is learning how to program, independent of any language / OS issues. Once you know that, applying it to a specific language isn't that hard.
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  8. #8
    Registered User major_small's Avatar
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    May 2003
    >>Are there any prerequisits to start computer studies do you think ?

    prerequisite: being into computers

    >>like knowing one language already or somthing ?

    good if you actually know a language, bad if you think the "hello world" program is alot of coding... if your going to learn a language, focus more on the algoritms used than the syntax of the language... the syntax changes from language to language, but the algorithms are basically the same...

    at your point, it seems as if learning some psuedocode algorithms would help you most for now... then move into some javascript/C++...

    I personally think C++ is better for a n00b to learn if you have a decent compiler... another note: HTML doesn't count as a programming/scripting language... it's a markup language and the algorithms don't apply here...
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  9. #9
    Hardware Engineer
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    I agree with what was said above... You are usually not required to know anything about your specific major. I majored in electronic engineering, and I was shocked that so many of my fellow freshmen didn't know much about the subject. I assume that most CS freshmen do know some programming, but the curriculum will not require it.

    However, for Computer Science, Engineering, or Science, they will usually expect you to be ready for calculus. Ideally, you should have (at least) taken gometery and trigonomotery in high school.

  10. #10
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
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    umm... I'd recommend that you should have probably taken at least Pre-Calc if not calculus before you enter any of those fields. If you haven't, you're setting yourself up to be behind in college.

  11. #11
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    Well, I'm in my second year of Comp. Engineering, which is related to CS, so I think I have an idea of what you should expect. I'm at a community college right now, taking all my electives/prereq's, etc. I'm going to transfer to a university next year. It's quite a bit easier and cheaper that way. You'll have to take quite a few higher level math classes, so I would get started on that as soon a possible. If you find that you don't want to or can't get through the math, it would be bad to waste so much time with the other stuff. I was originally going to do CS, and then I would have to take Calc. 1-3. For CE I had to take a much harder math class than Calc. 3, from what I hear anyway. I took Calc. 1 in high school, so I could get all my math classes out of the way early. Right now I'm taking Engineering Physics 1. My guess is you'll have to take 2 physics classes as well. I find Physics to be easier than Calculus, but most of the people that I'm taking Physics with that were also in my Calc. 2 class, seem to find Calculus easier than Physics. Everyone has their preference I guess.

    Anyway, I really don't care for programming. I'm more of a hardware guy myself, which is why I'm not doing CS. I'm in my 2nd semeseter of C++ right now, and doing okay I guess. C++ is harder to me than Physics. I had 1 VB class in high school, which was a joke really. I had a PHP class before C++. That was the prereq. for C++. I thought that was a breeze, but I've struggled with C++ from the beginning. Though I could have better study habits, which would probably help a lot.

  12. #12
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
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    Well, I have my BS in Computer Engineering, and I have news for you, both Ricochet and Neon:

    Calc 3 will be one of the more confusing math classes you take, but certainly not the hardest. And if you can't handle that, you won't stand a chance in things like Physics 2 which is like a basics course on Electromagnetic Fields (aka the hardest class I have ever taken).

    As a CS, I'm not sure that you will have to take some of these courses unless you choose to take them as an elective. As a CS, you should be more concerned about your programming algorithm understanding. Basically, after a few programming courses (maybe after 1 or 2 and some practice), you should be able to grasp the concept of programming. Once you master the ideas, different languages are merely syntax changes, with a few exceptions. You have to look at the big picture and not get bogged down in the specifics of one particular language.

    As a CE, you will undoubtedly be doing more programming. If you think you can go through the CE program without learning and understanding a lot of programming because "you're a hardware guy", I have news for you. WRONG. If you want to study strictly hardware, drop out of your program and go become a technician at a trade school. The engineering world doesn't want you. Either that, or change your major to EE. You will NOT get what you want in terms of computer based hardware design out of a CE degree. That is Electrical Engineering stuff. (Fields, Heat Transfer, Signals & Systems, Digital Signal Processing). Ricochet, it sounds like you haven't thought this through or haven't had your major explained to you.

  13. #13
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    Electromagnetic Fields (aka the hardest class I have ever taken).
    we seem to agree on something... makes any course look like a piece of cake

    Either that, or change your major to EE.
    over here in EE you take 6 programming courses over 4 years...(C,C++,ASM(sparc)) and a couple courses on algorithm design.
    Last edited by ZerOrDie; 11-18-2003 at 11:13 AM.

  14. #14
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
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    Over here, the EEs (AFAIK) don't have to take as many programming courses as the CEs. For instance, they have to take Micros I, but not Micros II. I'm pretty sure they have to take at least one C course, where the CEs have to take at least 2 if I remember right.

    >>we seem to agree on something... makes any course look like a piece of cake

    * shudders as the memory * I dropped it the first time I took it because it was an elective and I didn't think I should have to work that hard for an elective... and then I got screwed and HAD to take it because it was the only elective that would fit in my schedule and it was my last semester. Too much theory for my liking. I HATED that class.

  15. #15
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    Jan 2003
    it's useful to know a language already because that way you already know what you are getting yourself into.

    you might wake up junior year when you are getting into difficult programming things, and realize it's total hell

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