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#1 bstfrmdamidaeast  Icon User is offline

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I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:30 PM

I want to double major in something like English or Film Studies. But would it be worth it to double major with Computer Science? I'm a huge movie buff and am into writing screenplays, and hopefully want to do some thing in that field as well. Would I be better suited to do a double major like Computer Engineering? I'm going to UVA by the way.

So either something like English or Film Studies(for personal hobbies), or Double Major in Computer Engineering(for potential job outcomes).

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Replies To: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:37 PM

I would advocate go full on with what you are passionate about. If you want to write screen plays then go do that.. eventually you'll be out of school and down one path or the other and the lesser used skillset goes to the way side... it's not like you can't learn to write code as a hobby.
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:43 PM

Nobody here can really answer that question for you in any satisfying way. You're going to have to figure out your own path, I'm afraid.

What I can tell you is:
  • computer science is hard, and it takes a lot of work. If you try to focus on two things, it'll make your life a lot harder. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should keep it in mind. CS is not like English, where you just get to make stuff up. (no offense intended to English majors - you know it's true!)
  • there are a lot more neat things you can do towards a CS degree than you'll have time to do even if you devote all of your time to that degree. A double major will force you to give up a lot of those things. Yes, you will keep learning throughout a hopefully long and interesting life, but your best chance to learn this stuff is right now - the more you do now, the more you can learn later. Think carefully about how you use this time.
  • career-wise, if I'm hiring someone and I see a CS/Film Studies double major, I'm maybe intrigued but also very wary. Who is this person, and how did they get that way, and what do they have to offer me as an employer? Is this someone who would rather be off writing screenplays? If so, why are they applying here? That sort of thing. Better have a good story ready.

The usual advice holds: talk to your academic advisor, and if you have any personal acquaintances in the industry try to get their ideas on the matter. But ultimately, it's your call. Will this get you where you want to be?
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#4 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 30 July 2013 - 05:25 PM

Quote

Nobody here can really answer that question for you in any satisfying way.


Didn't figure I'd post, huh? ;)

Of course, Jon is right. Nobody here knows you or your circumstances. I must agree with modi123_1. What's most important is to study what you're passionate about and if you have two passions then do them both.

I've been programming computers for over two thirds of my life but I chose to study chemistry at uni instead. Something about the abstract reasoning required to understand it appealed to me. When I started, I aspired to work as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry but before I graduated, I got interested in the theoretical side. Turns out that ties in well with my programming skills.

I wanted to be a lab rat but ended up a code monkey.

Straight CS majors are two a penny. Add a little breadth to your education. It doesn't matter what the other subject is. As long as you're passionate about it, there is a niche for you.

Of course, there is the slightly depressing fact that a lot of people end up in a job that doesn't use their specialist degree knowledge. If that's you, then you might as well study whatever interests you most* with no consequences. Problem is, you don't know ahead of time.

* I strongly believe that studying what interests you most is a recipe for success anyway.
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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 30 July 2013 - 05:32 PM

View Postcfoley, on 30 July 2013 - 07:25 PM, said:

I strongly believe that studying what interests you most is a recipe for success anyway.


Unless what interests you most is the semiotics of underwater basketweaving...
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#6 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 30 July 2013 - 05:38 PM

I'm glad you agree.
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#7 jboogieman81  Icon User is offline

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:43 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 30 July 2013 - 05:32 PM, said:

View Postcfoley, on 30 July 2013 - 07:25 PM, said:

I strongly believe that studying what interests you most is a recipe for success anyway.


Unless what interests you most is the semiotics of underwater basketweaving...


Not true there's plenty of uhm, underwater basketweavers. :lol:
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#8 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 12 August 2013 - 03:49 AM

Please define an underwater basketweaver's definition for "success." :P

To the OP: Don't get hung up on a "double" major. Double major makes sense in majors that share a ton of classes, like bio-chem. They probably aren't worth it for two subjects that don't have that kind of symbiosis. This is more of a tactical decision, getting the most out of the effort you must put into school, anyway. However, the real world may not be as impressed as you think, so don't kill yourself if that's the goal. If you want to do more than one thing, consider a minor.

I did Liberal Arts. Go a bachelors in English Literature and a minor in Computer Science. I also took all kinds of fun stuff and was only a few credits shy of a Philosophy minor and a Journalism minor.

I am a professional programmer / developer / project manager / DBA. The "minor" never stopped me interviewing for a tech job.
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#9 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:01 PM

View Postbaavgai, on 12 August 2013 - 05:49 AM, said:

Please define an underwater basketweaver's definition for "success." :P/>


"Success" these days is synonymous with "making lots of money".
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#10 jboogieman81  Icon User is offline

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:20 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 12 August 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:

View Postbaavgai, on 12 August 2013 - 05:49 AM, said:

Please define an underwater basketweaver's definition for "success." :P/>/>


"Success" these days is synonymous with "making lots of money".


Depends upon who you ask but yes for the majority that would probably be the definition of success while there are still some out there that would define success as living a happy life doing what the love to do each day. In fact, would you say someone like Bernie Madoff who made lots of money by scamming people is a successful person? So in other words success really is in the eye of the beholder. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
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#11 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: I want to double major, but I'm unsure if it's worth it

Posted 12 August 2013 - 04:51 PM

View Postjboogieman81, on 12 August 2013 - 03:20 PM, said:

some out there that would define success as living a happy life doing what the love to do each day


Granted. By such a definition, many low functioning mental patents are eminently successful. And, presumably, basket weavers.
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