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#1 peace_fixation  Icon User is offline

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Choosing my last electives (CS Degree)

Posted 03 July 2012 - 05:43 PM

I'm coming up to my final semester and I have some electives to choose, the only problem is that I can't decide which ones!

I have three spots to fill, and I'm going to do one called Knowledge and Data Warehousing which sounds really cool - working with some Big(ish) Data and learning more database stuff.

For my other two, I'm umming and ahhing over Agent Oriented Programming which is an AI course, and includes entering a programming competition. I could take a DB Admin course, or Security / Crypto, or something webby, maybe E-commerce, or UI Design, or a semester of C++ (I initially wanted this course, but it almost seems like a waste to just learn the basics of another language when I could do something a bit more ... academic.)

Or, I could compliment my maths major, which was basically Calc I-III, Linear Algebra and Numerical Methods with one of the data modelling / statistics courses, or learn Matlab or do some more theory - Stats 2 or Differential Equations maybe.

Any thoughts?

edit: I should probably mention that I'm kind of lost as to what I want to do when I graduate. I'd like a programming job, I guess that's obvious, but I don't really have a preference, except that I don't want to get stuck pumping out websites or iPhone apps.

This post has been edited by peace_fixation: 03 July 2012 - 05:47 PM


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Replies To: Choosing my last electives (CS Degree)

#2 Martyr2  Icon User is online

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Re: Choosing my last electives (CS Degree)

Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:21 AM

Well this may not exactly be what you want to hear, but you should probably use your electives for things non-computer related. I say this because you will become extremely valuable if you can demonstrate that you have experience in a field other than computing.

For instance, if you took accounting class (I know yuck right) but if you go into a job showing that you can design software that uses accounting principles you become very valuable if everyone else has no accounting experience.

Ideally most programmers come out of school and try to jump into the market working for a tech company. Some make it, but a large portion of them end up in companies where they work tech, but for a non tech company. I once jumped into a job in the travel industry. I wrote software and websites for a company who sold travel to companies and vacations. Another job I had was developing software for the appliance retail industry... yes, selling things like ovens, fridges etc.

If you can match up something desirable with your computing background you will become very marketable and you will expand your job opportunities greatly. Things that will help you a lot to pair up with computing are business related functions... business management, executive training, accounting, stats, math etc. Many science fields help as well.

Believe me, if I had a chance I would go back and bite my lip and go through some of these classes for electives.

At least this will help until you finally land in that dream job tech company. Not everyone is going to jump straight into Apple/IBM/Microsoft/Google coming out of college. You have to pay your dues and gain the experience.

:)
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#3 peace_fixation  Icon User is offline

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Re: Choosing my last electives (CS Degree)

Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:10 PM

Thanks for your comment! I had to finalise my preferences last night and I ended up choosing "eCommerce & Enterprise Systems" which is basically one big project for the whole semester using Java EE. I think this will be quite beneficial for me, because I have in some sense missed out on four programming courses with my choice of the maths major, which as you mention, is a somewhat non-computer related stream - we did some numerical computation but it was mostly theory.

I really wish I had an extra semester to fill, I came across heaps of interesting courses over the last few days! I'm going to have to coerce my future employer into funding a masters degree I think!

I'm doing courses with Udacity and Coursera as well, so that's an opportunity to fill in some gaps and explore other areas. I don't imagine they will be recognised as formal education but I still get the knowledge!

I might mention that I have significant experience in wholesale and logistics, I'm a mature age student, so I hope that will hold me in good stead when I apply for jobs, I'm not just a fresh-faced burger flipper (although I've been there and done that too!)
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