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#1 DubiousRex   User is offline

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Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:21 AM

Hello everyone! I just signed up to this forum to ask this very important question: should I transfer?

I'm a junior at my college right now and, as we all know, transferring schools comes with the highly likely risk of losing a lot of credits and being behind. I've already looked into how my credits would transfer and if I left my current school and went to a new one I would be considered a Sophomore. At face value it doesn't really seem worth it, but I have considered transferring for the Spring semester this and last year for the same reason. I don't feel academically confident in my school.

I go to a small, private, liberal arts college for Computer Information Science, recently changed to a contractual study for "Software Development". The problem I have at this school is that, understandably, the CIS program is not supported that well and I have felt for more than a year now that I wasn't getting the best education or at least the best out of my degree. My school focuses more in Web Design than software programming and has other miscellaneous CIS classes here and there. There are also some software development classes that they used to offer, but no longer offer at the school. I have doubts that my school is properly preparing me in Software Development even though I was told that the contractual study would give me the classes I needed (for example, I was told I could do those classes they don't offer as independent studies). The school I'm considering transferring to is a larger public school that has more put into their CS or CIS classes. If I transfer to that school I will definitely get what I need there. The problem I'm having is: Is it worth it?

Maybe I'm psyching myself out and I have all I need to get a job once I've graduated. Maybe not. I was hoping there was possibly someone here with more understanding of how the job world works post-college or at least has a better idea of what software development careers look for.


For more information, these are the classes that I have taken and am supposed to take for my contractual study. I included only major CIS classes and mathematics.

Spoiler


These are the classes for the school I'm considering transferring to.

http://bulletin.sc.e...65&returnto=794


Again, maybe I am just overreacting and I will get the same things at either school. I guess it's hard to say when I haven't had any classes that talk about software development (except for CIS 340). There are also smaller, not as important factors that I should mention as well.

My current school, like I said, is much smaller. I really enjoy the people here and the relationships I've made with professors and students, though I realize academics are more important. The school I might transfer to is much larger and I'm not confident I will enjoy being at the school very much, however within the software development field I'm interested in Game Development (which is supported by this school, but not my current school) and I'm interested in exploring the possibility of Cybersecurity (which is supported by this school, but not my current school. Though I realize I don't really need to transfer schools for Cybersecurity if I'm understanding its requirements well.)


Thank you for reading and helping in advanced everyone! Sorry if this is a no brainer or posted in the wrong area. I've been grappling with this problem for a while and I don't know who I can talk to who would be knowledgeable about the academic part of the situation and also be unbiased. I just don't want to make a decision and regret it.

Thank you again!

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Replies To: Should I Transfer?

#2 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:32 AM

Quote

recently changed to a contractual study for "Software Development".

'contractual study'?

Quote

If I transfer to that school I will definitely get what I need there. The problem I'm having is: Is it worth it?

If you feel you want to have paid for a more broad, and varied, course load then sure.. why not. If you are looking to just slam a piece of paper through and feel confident you can snag an internship or something to help bridge the gap.. then maybe not.

Quote

Computer Science for the Liberal Arts.

Ahhhhhhhh.... I'm intrigued on that content.

I don't know what you have left for your degree in terms of comp sci classes, or even what is available. If you want to do independent study and get to topics you want cool.. if you think the grass is more varied and greener elsewhere for the moolah - then consider making the change.
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#3 DubiousRex   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:45 AM

A contractual study is basically when the school doesn't offer a course so you can "create" your own major by putting courses together so it fits what you want.

I think my problem here is that I feel as though I haven't been taught the skills I need to be qualified for a software development job post-college. I had a conversation with my advisor about it and she said that the major was designed to teach students about the basics of programming with some loops and stuff and then they would be hired by IBM or Blue Cross Blue Shield or something like that and they would be trained to learn the rest. The problem is that I'm not really interested in working in those places and I'm not sure if those companies are accepting students from my college because they have something worked out between each other or if it's normal for companies to train new employees on what they don't know about Software Development. If that makes sense? I just don't feel prepared at all for the future.

The classes I have left for my major (in terms of CIS classes and math) are CIS 313 and 314 which is in the spoiler. Then there is Physics 2, Linear Algebra, and Calculus 4. I'll edit that on my initial post.
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#4 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:49 AM

In the end it's up to you. If you feel you, at this stage of the degree, will have access to a plethora of more classes to increase your knowledge base then I would consider it. If not then is it worth the hassle of being back a year?
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#5 xclite   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:51 AM

I think you're in a hard spot. You *can* learn things without a traditional degree with the usual courses, but it's harder. And it's not like all C.S. B.A. degrees are lacking in content, some are quite good. It does sound like yours is one of those which is lacking, though. Web development is certainly something worth learning and a challenging field, but not where I'd look for learning examples of good software/computer science (I recognize that I'm mixing these).

Does your school have any relationships where you can take courses at other schools? Even if they don't count towards your degree, there are 4-5 courses whose content is useful whether it's in the curriculum or not.

The fact that you're a junior makes me worry for your financial situation should you transfer. I left my engineering school for a liberal arts school and transferred back as a Sophomore, which I don't regret at all. I also ended up doing summer semesters to make sure I wasn't too far behind.
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#6 DubiousRex   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:20 AM

I realize I should have mentioned this in my initial post, but the degree I'm pursuing right now is a B.S. not a B.A.. The contractual study only added the CIS 313 and 314 classes to the normal CIS B.S. curriculum offered at the school.

The school I'm considering transferring to is relatively close to the school I am at now. They don't have any agreements with them as far as I know (since they were never mentioned when I brought up similar ideas). I am able to take classes at the other school which might transfer, but that all depends on if the classes I have taken meet their prereqs so they allow me to take the classes and if my school will even accept those classes. Based on the information I have so far a lot of my credits will not transfer and the majority of these are the CIS classes from my major. I'm not completely confident that I could take courses over there as a transient student. I haven't asked the other school if I could take courses there for no credit or what their policies on that might be. I will have to look into that possibility soon since it seems like a viable (and possibly cheaper) idea.

The school I'll transfer to is unfortunately more expensive since I will be considered an out-of-state student, but so far we have found they have similar financial aid programs to the school I am attending now. We will work that all out at a later time. First I just need to decide what will make me the happiest.

Since I've felt this way about my school since last year I think that ultimately if I stay I will feel like I'm lacking something or regret not transferring, especially if it DOES turn out I have an issue finding a job. On the other hand I'm equally worried that I do transfer and end up being held back and the classes I take at the new school are hardly different than the one that I'm taking at my current school. (Though honestly, if so many of my major classes that I've taken here don't transfer it is fair to assume that the classes won't be the same.)
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#7 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:20 AM

Quote

I feel as though I haven't been taught the skills I need to be qualified for a software development job post-college.


To be honest, this is usually the case even for institutions with solid CS programs. That being said, the program you've outlined is a little weak. I see some fundamentals, which is good, but not anything that really stretches you out on those fundamentals. I would not expect someone who showed me that curriculum to have really exercised their programming muscles or to have thought deeply about topics in computing. What I'd like to see would be some combination of more advanced coursework in theoretical CS topics (automata, theory of programming languages, that sort of thing) and practical development classes (compilers, cryptography), and if possible a year-long engineering course with a solid practical group project attached to it. That last one is incredibly useful, both for you and for anyone looking to hire you. Even if you fail to deliver in the end, having spent a year working on a real thing that someone actually wants is a massive plus.

It looks like you could get a lot of this by transferring, so that's a plausible option but it's likely to require at least an extra year in school (looking at the requirements for your target school).
However, if you've got a certain amount of hustle and you're willing to eat bitter for a little while - take some grunt jobs and be a pretty junior guy on some teams - you can probably get work with the degree you're already on track for. If you do that, you'd probably want to look for ways to fill in the material you're missing. This might be possible at University of South Carolina, in fact. (you might even be able to get away with auditing the courses, which would be great if you're already working and don't need to get the academic credit)
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#8 DubiousRex   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:37 AM

Thank you! I'll take those both into consideration!

I haven't had much luck with interning myself. I actually mean to go back to our career center to ask about it again just in case I wasn't looking in the right places. I'd also have to contact USC and see what their auditing policies are.

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions so far. The consensus so far seems that transferring would hurt me (other than longer time in school and financial aid)and that staying at my school is plausible but may end up with me having to work my way up for a longer period of time until I can reach the career goal I'm looking for. All of this is putting me more at ease with my decision making. :) Thank you again!
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#9 macosxnerd101   User is online

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 02 November 2016 - 02:59 PM

Here are some points to consider. First, I would visit any school you would consider for transfer, and speak with folks in the department. Get a feel for the curriculum, the extracurriculars, and the culture. Take a general tour of the campus as well. You are still an undergraduate, and college is more than just the academics. Seriously- make sure you will be happy and healthy in a new environment.

Second, look at finances, and see if it makes economical sense to transfer. That's not really something with which we can help you.

Third, look at your current program and see what you can add to it. Double majors and minors go a long ways. Pick up a math degree. Add a statistics minor. Courses from other technical disciplines will only help to make you a better computer scientist, and there are connections with computer science and other disciplines. Do personal projects as well, and showcase your code on Github. After seeing what you can add, does it still make sense to transfer?

Lastly, seek out internships and try to get real-world experience. This goes a long ways in getting a job.

Quote

I would not expect someone who showed me that curriculum to have really exercised their programming muscles or to have thought deeply about topics in computing. What I'd like to see would be some combination of more advanced coursework in theoretical CS topics (automata, theory of programming languages, that sort of thing) and practical development classes (compilers, cryptography),

By the way- ask how frequently these and other required courses are offered. Make sure what you want/are expecting is going to be offered.

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 02 November 2016 - 03:06 PM

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#10 DubiousRex   User is offline

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Re: Should I Transfer?

Posted 03 November 2016 - 01:32 PM

I have taken a tour of the school. I took a tour when I first looked at colleges and I took a tour of their School of Engineering when I considered transferring last year. I haven't been able to speak to any professors so I will have to look into how I would do that.

I currently have a major in Software Development with a minor in Applied Computing and Mathematics. Honestly I don't believe upgrading my math minor to a major will help much but give me a deeper understanding of mathematics and our applied computing is a minor only.

I will agree that I do need to do more personal projects. It had been my goal to do it last summer, but it didn't work out as well as I had hoped, but I plan on getting back into it during winter break. It is very much possible that I could get a lot of what I'm lacking at this school by taking classes online that are free (since it is true that college isn't necessary when it comes to learning CS concepts), but I felt as though I was wasting my time at this school if I was using free alternatives to learn about software development beyond programming. That and I'm not sure how well I will balance adding that class to my already busy schedule. Maybe this isn't the right attitude to have? I will have to look into it more.

I am going to get into contact with the advisors of the School of Engineering to ask about the classes being offered and how I could expect to go through the school if I enroll. Setting up something to talk to professors in the School of Engineering might be a possibility as well!

Thank you again to all who have commented! :)
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