The Importance of a Minor

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

18 Replies - 3158 Views - Last Post: 27 November 2010 - 07:06 PM

#1 Brewer  Icon User is offline

  • Awesome
  • member icon

Reputation: 179
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,044
  • Joined: 14-June 10

The Importance of a Minor

Posted 18 November 2010 - 08:53 PM

One thing that I have been trying to figure out recently is whether or not I want to take on a minor or a joint major. Obviously this would look good on my resume right after I graduate, not having many other credentials to place on the resume, but how much will it matter later on down the road?

I have looked at the options and a major in Computer Science and a minor in Math can be completed (at my school) in 4 years, as can a normal major or honors major in Computer Science. A joint major in Computer Science and Pure Mathematics, however, would take 5 years to finish.

Is this extra year worth the trouble? I believe that the first few years of my career will set the stage for how my professional life will further unfold, so after this point, I don't see any major advantage to having spent another year and another $10,000 (in my case) for the extra academic honors. However, right after I graduate, when I am just starting my professional career, having this extra degree or having a minor could give me a decent advantage over others just entering the industry.

What are your thoughts?

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: The Importance of a Minor

#2 -shadow-  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head
  • member icon

Reputation: 17
  • View blog
  • Posts: 204
  • Joined: 18-November 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:02 PM

Keep in mind that sometimes they overestimate how long it will take to graduate.
My college says it will take me 5 years to graduate with my cs major alone but I
only need 48 credits of cs classes total, and I'm taking 8 this semester.

I'm still deciding myself whether to change my minor to a second major but I
think eventually I will once I get some of my gen ed classes out of the way.
A dual major is a great move if you can handle the work. My advice would be to
look at what the course load will actually be, what classes are required, etc...
and make an informed decision.

best wishes,
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#3 Brewer  Icon User is offline

  • Awesome
  • member icon

Reputation: 179
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,044
  • Joined: 14-June 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:07 PM

@-shadow- - The only joint major program that I would consider would be a joint honors degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. There are two main downsides to this. The first downside to this plan is that this requires a whole lot more math than just a Computer Science degree would. The second problem is that doing this joint major would mean taking LESS Computer Science courses, an idea that I am not really fond of.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover

Reputation: 416
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,335
  • Joined: 28-September 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:28 PM

I was all set to do a second major in electrical engineering, but then I did some research. I spent some time looking at jobs I wanted to eventually be eligible for, and starting wages, and I found that a Masters in cs was far more valuable than a second degree in pretty much anything, and with a much lower extra credit requirement. What I gathered from the information that I looked at, is that 2 degrees qualifies you for more jobs, not necessarily better jobs. I saw a lot of senior engineering and engineering management jobs that were looking for Masters degrees, and none that were looking for double majors. I've since dropped my enrollment in a second major and enrolled in the masters program, so make sure you do your research and consider what kind of job you want and consider what employers are looking for.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#5 mostyfriedman  Icon User is offline

  • The Algorithmi
  • member icon

Reputation: 727
  • View blog
  • Posts: 4,473
  • Joined: 24-October 08

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:44 PM

If I were you I would do that extra year because I love mathematics, and my interests in computer science are mainly theoretical which need a strong background in math. I would do it for the thirst of knowledge.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 Brewer  Icon User is offline

  • Awesome
  • member icon

Reputation: 179
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,044
  • Joined: 14-June 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 19 November 2010 - 04:01 AM

@mostyfriedman - I agree with you, math is a great subject! But when does the cost of the extra courses become too much? Taking the joint major is easily another $10,000 for me. And I agree with hookiethe1, a Master's degree (which I intend to get regardless of my undergraduate decision) would be far more valuable to my career.

Theoretical computer science is great, but eventually I will have to stop with the theory and actually start using what I have learned. I do not underestimate the power of a strong background in math, I just question whether or not it is necessary.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 pumbaa  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 3
  • View blog
  • Posts: 18
  • Joined: 26-November 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 26 November 2010 - 03:08 PM

Guys, I was the one who screened resumes for my company/division, before relocating in the company and switching to a trainer position. It is a defense company that is very large. I'll leave it at that.

We were interested in E.E., CIS, Computer Sci., Mech Eng, Math... A few other degrees spattered in there too.

However, we were not concerned about double degrees, but the GPA. GPA is king! I would not look at anyone less than a 3.7. to bring them in for an internship/ CooP. Currently I am running a 4.0 GPA and my managers are all over it!

Additionally, a Masters is the way to go, there are a lot of people out of work who have their BS/BA's. You need to go higher. On top of that, get yourself a CooP/ Internship so you will also have experience. How many times I have read a job description that asks for a BS and 5 years of related experience.

Just an FYI. I am an old fart who has gone back to college after 30 years!
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#8 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular

Reputation: 56
  • View blog
  • Posts: 264
  • Joined: 02-August 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 26 November 2010 - 10:08 PM

View Postpumbaa, on 26 November 2010 - 03:08 PM, said:

However, we were not concerned about double degrees, but the GPA. GPA is king! I would not look at anyone less than a 3.7. to bring them in for an internship/ CooP.

You wouldn't look at anyone with a 3.5 from a place like Cornell or Berkeley?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 pumbaa  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 3
  • View blog
  • Posts: 18
  • Joined: 26-November 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 02:48 AM

View PostNikitin, on 26 November 2010 - 09:08 PM, said:

You wouldn't look at anyone with a 3.5 from a place like Cornell or Berkeley?

Actually no.

Since we were in Western NY, the 3 main schools we would pull from were Cornell (30 minutes away), Binghamton University (Watson Engineering) (10 minutes away), and Penn State. 3.5's were a dime a dozen and we considered anyone below as the party animals, and not serious.

Now remember, this was for our CooP program (not off the street hiring). Which was basically a 3 month interview as I called it. We had a very large list of people applying and only about 30 slots out of a facility of 4000. If a person got into that summer internship, they were pretty much guaranteed a job when they graduated. Then they were placed into the ELDP (Engineering Leadership Development Program), Usually after being with the company for one year.

But even off the street hiring (Which was tougher too, unless you knew someone). GPA was considered since most, if not all of those college grades did not have direct experience under their belts. 4 years of college and a job at McDonald's did not count.

The way I filtered it was by Major, then grade, filtered out anything <3.75. At that point a Resume/ Curriculum-Vitea was copied and sent to the appropriate managers. Then the ones that flowed to the top would be interviewed, then an offer for the CooP made.

There were a couple of double Major/ Minor students in the mix. They made it a bit more flexible to place them if slots were filling up. For example someone who was Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering would actually be looked at in 2 different areas, for example Software Development, and Mechanical Packaging.

My particular department was ESM (Electronic Systems Measures) So we looked mainly for the Math and E.E. Majors.

The thing is there are so many folks out there unemployed, even with Masters degrees (and they are waiting tables!) that companies can tighten up who they want to hire since there is not much of a difference between a 3.5 and 3.75. But when you are looking at hundreds of applicants for a handful of slots you can get real picky. We found grades to be a great yardstick. Those who were serious and applied themselves came out on top.

I go to school full time and I work full time. I also have a family and home to balance in. If this old fart can keep a 4.0, then you young stallions can too!

My main advise again... focus on your Major.. Score big grades! Get into a CooP, or internship to get the experience IN A RELATED FIELD on the resume. Go for your Masters, then ALWAYS keep taking school! Even if it is one class a year, keep taking college classes and then earn additional degrees. You are now in a job, chances are the company will pay for it. I am going to school for free as my company is paying for it and I am pushing 50 years old!

This post has been edited by pumbaa: 27 November 2010 - 02:55 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#10 pumbaa  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 3
  • View blog
  • Posts: 18
  • Joined: 26-November 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 03:01 AM

Oh yeah if someone was from Berkeley, chances are they were not our type anyway :gunsmilie: Considering the business we are in!
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 Brewer  Icon User is offline

  • Awesome
  • member icon

Reputation: 179
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,044
  • Joined: 14-June 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 05:52 AM

pumbaa, thank you for the input! It is always interesting when someone with first hand experience in the matter gives a few words. I found out yesterday that even as a first year student I could declared my major as Computer Science and my minor as Mathematics, so that is what I did. In my 3rd year I will apply to the honors program simply because I will meet the requirements for the program anyways by the time that I graduate.

As for a co-op or an internship, I have come to understand that these are two different things. At least at my university, co-ops are programs through the school. When you are registered for a co-op, you are considered a full time student by the university and the university will even help you find a co-op that is right for you. An internship, however, is independent from the school and you receive no credit for the time spent out of school. You also have to pay a course fee for taking on a co-op.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#12 pumbaa  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 3
  • View blog
  • Posts: 18
  • Joined: 26-November 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 06:36 AM

Jambr thank you for the kind words.

For all intents and purposes you are correct on the difference between CooP and Internship. Actually in fact spot on! Generally from the business point of view (at least for us) it did not matter as much in regards to what we were looking for. We wanted the best and the brightest and the programs offered us a way to get that.

The University's teaming up with the Business for CooPs made it much easier to get students of course :smartass:

I hope I can share here based on my 30+ years of experience in business. I actually cut my teeth as a 17 year old, High school Junior at Raytheon Data Systems as a technical illustrator in their Education Center. Additionally I worked for my fathers X-Ray business as a service tech and lab designer at a young age too... So I've been at it a long long time... :online2long:

I love to teach people, in particular when they are willing to learn. My goal is to give to this community, as I am also going to be grabbing knowledge from here as I journey through my programming education.

It's been nearly 30 years since I went to college and I have forgotten pretty much everything in programming.. Besides it is all obsolete now too! :helpsmilie:

This post has been edited by pumbaa: 27 November 2010 - 06:39 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 Brewer  Icon User is offline

  • Awesome
  • member icon

Reputation: 179
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,044
  • Joined: 14-June 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 07:03 AM

At my school the co-op program is strange. It's something that isn't required and you only do it once (usually between your 3rd and 4th year) and it lasts for 8, 12, or 16 months. I suppose the student and the employer decide on the time together. Also, where I live, there isn't much of a software industry, at least that I know of.

This is my first semester in university and I am only taking three courses, and to be realistic, I am looking at a B in two of these courses and a C or a D in the other. Is my GPA already shot? The only grade I have left all three classes is my final.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 pumbaa  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 3
  • View blog
  • Posts: 18
  • Joined: 26-November 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 07:28 AM

First of all never give up! As you complete more classes your GPA will go up, if you do well of course. Just work a little harder, but a lot smarter as you move along :sweatdrop:

A CooP is not the end all, nor the golden ticket per-se. There are always other ways to learn and get experience in a business setting. The main thing is to get industry experience. But CooPs are a really good route.

On your own... You can go to local businesses, and see if they would be interested in doing a short term internship with you. Of course you could always look for that job, that matches what you are studying. Just think out of the box.

Just go for jobs that will benefit your resume. I posted mine in the resume thread. See how it all fits together. Only 2 short sidelines.

Actually your CooP sounds normal. Ours went from May to August/September. A number of those undergrads participating came back subsequent years, and then were hired upon graduation. This is the place you would ideally like to be.

And yes, most if not all are not required, but what it is doing is giving you experience on your resume. So if you were up against another graduate getting a job, you both have a 4 year degree, but you have 2 or 3 years of direct business experience through a CooP or Internship, who do you think would get hired, all other things being equal?

Really, a CooP/ Internship is a leg up and an experience generator. You can also look at it this way. It also gives you a window as to what you will be doing as a potential career. This gives you the opportunity to figure out is this is something you would like to do for the rest of your life (or 20 years).

Like I said.. I'm an old fart and have done many things in my 30+ professional years. :wheelchair:

However, it seems I ALWAYS go back to computers and training.. Even when I tried hard not too!

I got out of doing computers when I was a CTO for 15 years. After 3 years in Program management, I moved 500 miles (same company), got sucked into computers again, because the previous contractor did not finish their job. I stood up 460 servers, and completed the job 2 weeks early.. and they moved it up by another month before that too! So I got it done 45 days early from the original. From there an opening came up in the training arena. I simply love it. The funny thing is one of my old managers told me I should be a professor.. (or trainer or teacher), because she thought I was that good at teaching.

Final words of advise on this one. Do get the experience though a CooP or Internship, this way you might find out what you REALLY love to do! Life is so much more fun and satisfying when you truly enjoy your work.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#15 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular

Reputation: 56
  • View blog
  • Posts: 264
  • Joined: 02-August 10

Re: The Importance of a Minor

Posted 27 November 2010 - 10:02 AM

Pumbaa, what if somebody from a place like ITT Tech or Florida Institute of Technology applied with a 3.7? Would you look at them? :)
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2