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#1 thatsnotmyname  Icon User is offline

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How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 07 June 2010 - 09:11 PM

How difficult is it for CS majors to get decent jobs? It seems like CS is always high on the list for most marketable/best paying undergrad degrees and that they're fewer CS majors than jobs. I don't know if this is an overly optimistic assessment of how in demand a CS degree is...

I'm just curious as I've been considering switching my major to CS. I'm currently a Poli Sci major planning to go to law school. However, I've slowly come to the conclusion that law school may not be the right path for me. I really enjoyed the one CS class I took (basically Intro to Java Programming) and I feel like I may really enjoy the life of a programmer. I'm researching what a programmer's life entails, their quality of life, average pay, and job satisfaction rates now. What are other career paths that are open to CS majors?

Thanks for any help!

PS I'm attending a liberal arts college-type school where we don't have an engineering department. The CS program is pretty small. The school is fairly well respected, though, just not in CS... if that affects job opps.

This post has been edited by thatsnotmyname: 07 June 2010 - 09:12 PM


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Replies To: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

#2 damund01  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:24 PM

A BSCS is really an entry point these days however there are jobs for someone with an AS CS(with a focus in some area e.g. programming) certifications are a great way to really get a job in addition to your AS or BSCS degree.

That being said don't let me scare you away from programming I personally know 3 people who are now employed because they showed merit and had a couple certifications to back them up on their application.

If you are happy programming you should follow what makes you happy, not what could make you wealthy.
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#3 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:28 AM

As damund01 said, a degree, albeit required in most cases, is hardly enough to warrant a job. It's all about how good of a programmer you become and what experience and portfolio you can build off your programming skills. If you can do that, landing a job shouldn't be difficult BUT this also depends on the area. Pay also varies greatly depending where you are.
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#4 Topher84  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:43 AM

Anyone can program... shoot for being a software architect. What I mean is that anyone can waltz through a CS program and still be TERRIBLE at the actual programming part. The real money comes in being the person who manages the group of programmers and can actually make decisions.
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#5 thatsnotmyname  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:58 AM

Thanks for the replies so far. It seems like developing a portfolio is a big part of landing a job. However, what kind of programs does a portfolio consist of?

I'm asking because since I am switching to CS relatively late, I will only have completed the two introductory CS courses, a discrete math class, and algorithms at the the end of my junior year. Then my senior year will be entirely upper-level CS courses with room for nothing else. I will have to take 8 CS courses my senior year.

So, my question is since I will have only taken the intro classes at the end of junior year, I won't have much of a portfolio to show during senior year when I assume that most people interview for jobs?
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#6 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:24 PM

View Postthatsnotmyname, on 08 June 2010 - 06:58 AM, said:

Thanks for the replies so far. It seems like developing a portfolio is a big part of landing a job. However, what kind of programs does a portfolio consist of?

I'm asking because since I am switching to CS relatively late, I will only have completed the two introductory CS courses, a discrete math class, and algorithms at the the end of my junior year. Then my senior year will be entirely upper-level CS courses with room for nothing else. I will have to take 8 CS courses my senior year.

So, my question is since I will have only taken the intro classes at the end of junior year, I won't have much of a portfolio to show during senior year when I assume that most people interview for jobs?


Interviews happen at the end after you graduate. No one is going to hire a student on while they're still in school. That said, your classes make up a very minor percentage of what goes on in your portfolio. Your portfolio is a reflection of work accomplished and achievements you've made including any competitions or awards you've participated in or won. The biggest emphasis will be on your work (professionally or not). Things people will want to look for includes problem solving skills on how you tackled a difficult coding issue. What particular things did you specifically worked on programming inside and outside of the classroom. Did you contribute to any open source projects or did you program neat usable tools yourself. Perhaps you did some free or paid contract work to build stuff for others. What did you build and more importantly how did you utilize the code to build it. Don't put too much emphasis on the classes. Great programmers rarely if ever focus on building their resume around their coursework or grades. 90% of it will be based on things they did on their own time.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 08 June 2010 - 03:24 PM

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#7 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:23 AM

1. Be very hard working and take pride in what you do.
Make it a habit from the get go to write good maintainable code. Don't go for the easy fix and not cover a fringe case.

2. Be a respectful guy and be friends with your teachers.
I'm not saying kiss ass, but shoot the shit with theme very once in a while even if it is superficial talk. When push comes to shove these guys are the ones who will back you up.

3. Code in your spare time!
People who only do coursework don't end up being good programmers. In the 4 year I've been in Uni I've constantly seen people drop like flies because of this. Our career is different from other careers in that we are expected by our peers to enjoy coding and most do code in their free pet projects.

Starting from your 2nd year, I'd start applying for internships. It's a massive headstart from your peers who will graduate without a single day of real work experience.

I've jumped that step unfortunately because I just started my own consulting company on my 4th year, but that's because I have a 2 year old and I like staying at home with my family.
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#8 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 09 June 2010 - 07:23 AM

The most important part is to be competent. Companies almost spam the listserv at my university with job openings because everybody is already hired (graduating) and half of them aren't competent.
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#9 thatsnotmyname  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 09 June 2010 - 05:08 PM

View Postxclite, on 09 June 2010 - 06:23 AM, said:

The most important part is to be competent. Companies almost spam the listserv at my university with job openings because everybody is already hired (graduating) and half of them aren't competent.


So are you saying that companies are forced to hire incompetent computer science majors because there are so few CS majors and they are in such high demand? Those are impressive job prospects/security.

This post has been edited by thatsnotmyname: 09 June 2010 - 05:09 PM

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#10 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 10 June 2010 - 05:46 AM

I'd hope they are hiring them because it's hard to gauge quality through a short interview process and looking at gpas alone. I know my graduating class is pretty small when it comes to CS majors. The intro classes are huge but a lot of people drop it when they realize it's not all "OHAI I WANT TO MAKE WORLD OF WARCRAFT, K BAI." Even in the small group that will be graduating, from my interactions, few know what they are doing compared to the total number of soon to be graduates.
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#11 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:40 AM

I'm saying exactly that. I've seen guys who couldn't code their way out of a singly linked list get jobs with high tech companies for big dollars. Who knows if they'll actually figure crap out.
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#12 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: How easy is it for CS majors to get decent jobs?

Posted 10 June 2010 - 01:32 PM

LOL let's face it. Over 90 percent of programmers (CS majors/graduates included or excluded; same shit) can't program to save their life. They can get the basic necessity done but the reality is their problem solving ability or their programming capabilties are very limited or they program things to work but program pretty poor code. It is rare to find a good programmer, and for every few thousand applicants you come across, you'll be lucky if you find a gem. Most solid programmers are picked up early on and generally speaking never apply to another job. They're more likely stolen from their current company than to hit the job market again in most cases.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 10 June 2010 - 01:33 PM

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