Was my Computer Science degree really worth it?

Originally published at: https://tech.staging.frocentric.io/2021/06/02/was-my-computer-science-degree-really-worth-it/

Originally posted by Xuntos to Was my Computer Science degree really worth it? Originally published on: https://www.yusufcodes.com/was-my-computer-science-degree-really-worth-it Degree Benefits  Gained an overview of fundamentals in the field I was exposed to various topics in my studies, ranging from learning programming fundamentals in Java, to writing and understanding algorithms & data structures in C#. I was…

Great post! This is a particularly interesting topic given how many different routes there are into software engineering careers.

I did a computer science degree too, and I valued a lot of the same things that you did (although managing time really well is something that I’m still working on!). I took a different career path to you though, as I went on to spend almost 14 years doing computer vision research, so I found a lot of the theoretical courses useful too, especially the courses on logic, discrete maths, reasoning about programs, statistics, linear algebra, graphics, parallelisation, concurrency, AI and ML. I also got to do UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Projects) projects during my first two summer holidays and a 6-month internship in my third year, which gave me really valuable experience and helped me to see that a research path was the right direction for me.

I was fortunate enough to finish my degree 16 years ago, when tuition fees were much lower, but I can imagine how daunting today’s fees must be to A-level students who are thinking about uni. At least UK student loans are very different to other kinds of loans though, in that you may not have to pay them back in full, because they’ll be wiped after 30 years, and they don’t affect your credit rating (they shouldn’t really be called “loans”). There’s a potentially reassuring guide for anyone who’s worried about UK student loans here. I guess this won’t completely reassure anyone with financial responsibilities that aren’t fully covered by the loan though.

I started with Computer Science and was keen to get into development. But I (and the tutors) quickly realised that I was excelling more in the business IT focussed modules, and was lagging in the more technical coding ones (I began to loath Java!). I guess it didn’t help that our course leader was someone who loved himself but (as we later found out) wasn’t widely respected and all his books were absolutely slated!
Anyway… after the first year, I took my tutors advise and switched over to Business IT… which I ended up loving!

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I think it’s actually great that you had a tutor who was able to recognise where your strengths were and redirect you. I took a Computer Systems Technology which was 50% hardware and 50% software. By the end of my first year it was very obvious that software was where my strengths (and interest) laid, but I just continued muddling along.

I started working as a junior web dev while still studying and eventually dropped out of my course, but sometimes wonder if I’d switched to a Software Engineering degree if I might not’ve seen it through, but c’est la vie!

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