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Is computer science competative/hard?

beramodberamod 490 replies22 threads- Member
edited July 2013 in Engineering Majors
I'm reading posts that say only the brightest and most competative go to comp. science. Is this true? cause if it is, uhhhh, then i will have a hard time in college. But i will enjoy it. Any comments?
edited July 2013
28 replies
Post edited by beramod on
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Replies to: Is computer science competative/hard?

  • justinmechejustinmeche 564 replies13 threads Member
    My story: I went to Cornell (tough CS program) without any CS experience in high school. I stayed in the program for 3 semesters before dropping it, but I should have never done it in the first place. CS is weird because it takes a certain kind of person to be able to do that stuff well. Many of the students in the class had been programming for years and developed strong skills. I was just starting off and got lost quickly. My main difficulty was understanding the theory and using code to solve creative problems. Also, CS at Cornell had some of the more strict affiliation requirements. To succeed in CS you have to be really good. Average won't cut it. By the end of the 3 semesters I hated CS very much.

    I knew a MechE with a 3.9 GPA who dropped the first 200 level CS class after seeing the first project. It just didn't make any sense to him. I managed to get through it with a C+. My partner ended up doing the entire first project himself because I had no clue.
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  • feifei 640 replies48 threads. Member
    CS is all about practice..you can know the theory but if you don't try it yourself, experiment with it and are eager to learn it you will most likely fail.
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  • indie_boyindie_boy 543 replies13 threads Member
    I am a CS major and I believe CS is one of the hardest major...Many people think they can just understand the syntax and they are all set. wrong, there is much more...when ur writing algorithms it requires a lot of creativity. There are times when I sit in front of the computer hammering the brain to find solutions. Moreover, CS classes can be really time consuming.

    But if you are really interested in CS, you might do just fine. If you lose interest in the process, CS classes can get really hard.
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  • ithacaithaca 14 replies1 threads New Member
    Hmmm... I went through 4 years of CS and am now working and getting a masters. I don't think that it's quite as bad as some of the earlier posts make it out (at least in my experience). I think the best way to explain it is that you're solving logical problems with complicated structures... usually these problems aren't too math intensive w/c kindof surprised me. Anyway, don't be intimidated... the 101 courses are pretty easy so you should be able to do well in that class and have a pretty good idea if it's the major for you.
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  • feifei 640 replies48 threads. Member
    hey ithaca where do you work? and how is the work like?
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  • ithacaithaca 14 replies1 threads New Member
    :-) Now it's my turn to be discouraging...

    I work at Lockheed Martin in NY. It's the biggest defense contractor and they have a lot of software work going on (mostly military applications). I have to say that I really don't like my job. Since I started programming in college, it's always been interesting to me, but I wasn't prepared for what it would be like doing it for 8+ hours a day (and the + can go as far as 24 when things get really tight). I found that it just wasn't for me. I need to be talking to people and doing different stuff to keep from getting board. It got to the point where I just couldn't see myself doing that for the rest of my working life. That's why I'm going back to college... my new dream is to get a PhD and become a professor at a 4yr college. This way I can teach CS which I still really like, and I can talk to people and have some variety (I know, I can't spell) in the day.

    I know this message is discouraging, but this is just my experience. Most of the people that I work with are completely satisfied with what they're doing and wouldn't have chosen a different career, so take it for what it is...
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  • jamimomjamimom 3277 replies1 threads Senior Member
    My son flunked Computer Science, an object base programming course that was a big 5 credits which really put a hole into his schedule and necessitated his going to summer school. Not to mention what it did to his gpa. It was the only course he flunked, and the one where he worked the most. He retook a similar course which was split into two 3 credit courses at a local college in the summer, and it was much easier for him, but he hated it just the same. Said that the main reason he passed it was because of the work he put into when he flunked it. Several reasons why he had so much trouble with the course other than the fact that he is inherently lazy and did not approach the subject the right way until it was too late: 1)Many gifted and motivated CS majors were in the class. They knew the stuff pretty well already, and worked endless hours on like issues. THat brought the level of the course up much higher than it should have been, and the grade curve was very steep. 2) The grad student who ran the recitations had no idea how the class was run, was an international who not only spoke poor English, but had a disdain for anyone who did not undestand this "simple" course, and was not happy teaching this course to spoiled American brats. He would actually say this quite often. He was reprimanded for this attitude several semester later when the complaints against him accumulated, but my son got him when he first arrived. The college did little to orient him in his position, I must say, in his defense. He had no idea what the expectations from him were, or how the US undergraduate system worked, or the sequencing of that particular course. Appallingly, he did not sit in on the class he was supposed to be augmenting and often he did not cover the same material.

    The two problem occur often in math/science /engineering/computer courses in universities where the use of grad student is prevalent., and where these courses are heavily subscribed. When S retook the course locally, the class did not have such a high learning curve, and the professor who taught the course also was the one who answered any questions about the course, graded the tests and went over the assignments so everything was consistent.
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  • justinmechejustinmeche 564 replies13 threads Member
    CS takes a lot of self-discipline since you are expected to learn many languages on your own. Java was used in the three courses that I took but we were also expected to learn everything else (C, C++, Unix, etc.) in order to be competitive for internships and jobs. I kept telling myself that I liked CS when in reality I hated it. Discrete math was the course that finally convinced me to give CS up. If I had any sense I would have stopped at CS 100.
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  • indie_boyindie_boy 543 replies13 threads Member
    justinmeche, Discrete math got me big time too :(
    Now im retaking that class...
    But i somehow feel it is not that bad now...maybe itz not that hard cuz im retaking it...
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  • beramodberamod 490 replies22 threads- Member
    This is not looking good at all... no it isn't. Can anyone recommend me a major that requires artistic talent yet considered a science degree (BS). I think i might have to give up my dream of becomming a CS master. (maybe not, we'll see)
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  • CC AdminCC Admin 29515 replies3000 threadsAdministrator Senior Member
    I suggest- Mechanical Engineering, Architectural Engineering.
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  • justinmechejustinmeche 564 replies13 threads Member
    MechE can definitely be used along with artistic talent. Designing things is one of the main parts of MechE and creativity is a big part of the design process, especially when designing a product that many companies produce (such as cars, SUVS, etc.). A machine can be both efficient and beautiful. Architectural Engineering may have artistic elements as well but I am not familiar with that kind of engineering.
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  • makammakam 157 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I'm glad you asked this question because I've been wondering about this myself. I love computers and have been considering going into CS in college but I'm afraid I won't be able to keep up. My experience is basically self taught and highschool level. By next year(senior) I will have taken all the computer related course available at my school but that's it. Can anyone recommend a New England school that is challenging but manageable? Also I've noticed some schools are now offering degrees/specialties in multimedia which is really what I'm interested in. Anyone with any info on that?
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  • 2331clk2331clk 1648 replies9 threads Senior Member
    According to my S who is finishing up CS degree in May from CMU, you either get it or you don't, his words. There were a number of his smart friends in majors like ECE who couldn't make it thru the intro CS courses.

    Information Systems (IS) is a course of study you might want to consider if you like computer work and business without the intense writing of code in CS. At least at CMU IS is much easier than CS.
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  • DMartinDMartin 2 replies0 threads New Member
    ok.. I am going to give the flip side. CS is easy. What are you guys talking about? I had no idea what I wanted to do in college and kept taking CS classes because they were the "easy" ones. ... Finally just declared it as my major. I liked the fact you actually had to do something, verses listening endlessly to those lectures !

    However, you HAVE to be a LOGICAL person. If you aren't forget it. As for life after, you have to enjoy change. The industry evolves so fast with new technology, you are always learning something new.
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  • feifei 640 replies48 threads. Member
    yea CS isn't very hard if you are logical...the computer is basically dumb and CS is basically telling the computer how to do things...but step by step...kind of like teaching a child. you have to teach it every single step. for example if you want to pick up an object you can't say that "pick up the object" you have to fill in every detail in between like get up, walk to the object, reach out your hand etc. etc. Bottom line if you are logical CS is easy.
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  • CC AdminCC Admin 29515 replies3000 threadsAdministrator Senior Member
    even for some of my brightest genius friends here, a lot of them find CS to be difficult. DMartin what school do you goto?
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  • golubb_ugolubb_u 362 replies9 threads Member
    CS can be easy(er) at some colleges where coding is emphasized over theoretical problem solving. Some universities want students to learn C++/Java at the end of graduation, and this is very doable in most cases. So, taking CS at these colleges is a great option if you want to get a job and make a lot of money.

    However, unis such as Cornell and MIT stress theory much more than practice...this is where it gets really tough. They assume that you're an ace coder, they assume you can pick up any language in 2 weeks, they assume you're one of the top students anywhere, and then slam you with paper problems based on these assumptions! Some of the sharpest have been sliced up at MIT and Cornell, from what I've heard thru friends. I'm sure CMU, Stanford, Caltech etc. are all equally tough, but if you're not really into theory, stick with programming and you should be fine. This may involve choosing your school carefully.
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  • feifei 640 replies48 threads. Member
    I think theory develops with coding practice...it's kinda unfair for those schools to focus too much on theory on intro level CS classes. Also CS is an excellent do-it-yourself subject. It's very easy to pick up a book and start learning. To be successful you just have to CODE, CODE, CODE. Make up your own little assignments. Think of something that will make something easier to do and write code for it. That's how you get practice and learn at the same time. For example I remember that one of the very first program I wrote by myself was GPA calculator. I picked up an intro C++ book and intro Visual C++ book. Then I just looked at the tutorials and coded it on my own. That's how you learn CS. Don't rely on your professors too much for this subject. CS can be fun once you start to make up your programs. Just stick with it.
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  • justinmechejustinmeche 564 replies13 threads Member
    I never did any programming before college and once I was in college I didn't have time to do any of my own programs because I spent so much time trying to figure out how to do my assignments. The key difference between the successful and unsuccessful students in my early CS classes was the pre-college experience.

    I still have all of my programming books, two years after switching to MechE. I used Java in school and bought books for C and C++ but never read them. Maybe I could get better at it now that I have a better grasp of engineering. The only "programming" I have to do this semester is in Excel. I don't call it programming, but we have to set up spreadsheets for design projects and solving engineering analysis problems. I made my own GPA calculator as well, but used Excel for that.
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