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#1 Comatose   User is offline

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Computer Science at UCSC

Posted 04 February 2015 - 04:24 AM

Hey everyone, I just discovered Computer Science and programming 3 months ago and fell in love! I have chosen Python as my first language and plan to transition to C++ once I feel I'm ready.

I will be transferring from my local Community College next year and was planning on going to UCSC as a computer science major. Their computer science program states...

'Most courses in the computer science program at UCSC have a strong theoretical
component to prepare the student for designing, as opposed to simply using,
computer systems. '

What exactly do they mean when they say a strong theoretical component as opposed to simply using computer systems? After I get my degree I wish to become a programmer preferably in the video game field but at first any job will suffice. I want to go to a school that would best prepare for a life of coding and was curious if this school would be the right choice? Is learning theory typical for Computer Science at most universities? Or is this a unique trait for this school? Will this benefit/hurt me in anyway?

Another aspect about this schools Comp Sci program is that its mostly based in the C language. Is this a good language to master? I know its an old but excellent language but is it still used by a lot of companies? Whether in video game programming, business, etc...

Thanks!

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Replies To: Computer Science at UCSC

#2 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Computer Science at UCSC

Posted 04 February 2015 - 07:26 AM

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What exactly do they mean when they say a strong theoretical component as opposed to simply using computer systems

They are telling you that this is a step above some 'here is how to use Word' or 'here is how to just learn syntax for language X'. It is more geared towards a broader view of the underpinnings of WHY things work or the theory and architecture the a computer. At least that's the general view, but you may want to just call up their Comp Sci counselor area and talk with them about it.

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I want to go to a school that would best prepare for a life of coding

Comp Sci degrees are not known for being trades degrees. They don't just make you do the same home work in X languages and turn you loose on the world. Sure you'll learn a few languages, but that is not the driving force. again, big picture.. large topics on how things work, the theory on why those things do what they do. .etc.

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was curious if this school would be the right choice?

Read the other threads about people going to school and see how that weighs in. Degrees help broaden your experience and HR typically likes them.

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Is learning theory typical for Computer Science at most universities?

Have you looked at other school's comp sci programs? Most post their degree outline and course listings.

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Will this benefit/hurt me in anyway?

I am not one to think that education will hurt you, but your circumstances may differ.

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is that its mostly based in the C language. Is this a good language to master?

C is a good language. I would advocate looking around to see what other languages are taught.

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but is it still used by a lot of companies?Whether in video game programming, business, etc...

Hit a job search board and see what folks are looking for in your area.
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#3 Comatose   User is offline

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Re: Computer Science at UCSC

Posted 04 February 2015 - 04:53 PM

Thank you for that very detailed response!
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#4 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: Computer Science at UCSC

Posted 04 February 2015 - 08:39 PM

UCSC has a pretty good reputation for CS, and that curriculum looks like a pretty solid course of stuff that you're going to really want as a serious programmer.

You have to understand this, going in: programming is not just about wearing ridiculous spectacles and cashing in your stock options. It's a very hard, very mathematical discipline that also happens to be a lot of fun. If you go into it thinking that all of these classes like discrete math and analysis of algorithms are just stuff to get past so you can get your cushy job in the cushy office, you're looking at the wrong field.
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#5 jjl   User is offline

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Re: Computer Science at UCSC

Posted 05 February 2015 - 10:14 PM

Quote

Quote

What exactly do they mean when they say a strong theoretical component as opposed to simply using computer systems

They are telling you that this is a step above some 'here is how to use Word' or 'here is how to just learn syntax for language X'. It is more geared towards a broader view of the underpinnings of WHY things work or the theory and architecture the a computer. At least that's the general view, but you may want to just call up their Comp Sci counselor area and talk with them about it.


Computer science does not actually deal to heavily under the hood of a computer, that is more geared for computer and electrical engineering majors.

Computer science is a science, programming itself is not science. What they mean by a strong theoretical component is computer science theory: discrete mathematics, graph theory, algorithm design and analysis, etc..

Take a look at the curriculum and see what classes you will be taking, that will answer your questions
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