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What Do You Do When CS Isn't Fun Any More?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the recapturing-the-wonder dept.

Education 1177

wonderless asks: "Long ago and far away, I thought that I was going to be a Great Geek, and that I was going to provoke a revolution in the computer industry--and indeed, the world--with my mastery of technology. I could hardly wait to throw myself into an intense, highly technical curriculum and shine. But as I said, that was long ago and far away. Now I'm one semester away from graduation, with a 3.5 average overall and a lackluster 3.0 in CS, and I'm liking it less and less every day. I used to be able to say that at least it pays well, but now I can't even take solace in that. I drag myself to classes and through projects, and it all seems really pointless--I'm just implementing what's written in the book, and eradicating the countless off-by-one bugs is nothing short of mind-numbing. I'd like nothing better than to recapture the feeling of joy I used to get out of doing this, and to once again be able to say I'm doing what I love. What do you do when it isn't fun any more, but you'd like it to be?"

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What do you do when CmdrTaco isnt gay any more? (-1)

Trolligula (527461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527921)

Every few weeks, outside the Slashdot Trailer
in the late 1990s, stood a life-size cardboard cutout
of asmall tramp--outfitted in tattered, baggy pants, a
cutaway coat and vest, impossibly large, worn-out shoes
and a battered derby hat--bearing the inscription:
An advertisement for a CmdrTaco reach around was a
promise of happiness, of that precious, almost shocking
moment when homosexuality delivers what life cannot, when
experience and delight become synonymous, and our anal pumping
yield the fabulous, unmerited bonanza we never get past expecting.

Even in the year 2000, CmdrTaco is still here. In a 1995
worldwide survey of anal terrorists, CmdrTaco was voted the
greatest anal penetrator in history. He was the first, and to
date the last, person to control every aspect of the reach
around process--founding his own homosexual promoting website,
Queer-Web [slashdot.org], with JonKatz,
Hemos and CowboyNeal, and penetrating, fisting, slapping,
felching, sucking and dirty-sanchez'ing his way to the
top (literally). In the first decades of the 21st century, when
weekly male on male handjobs were a "normal" habit of
Slashdot authors [wsu.edu], CmdrTaco more
or less invented global recognizability for homosexual websites
and helped turn Slashdot into nationaly known homepage for sexual
deviants. In 1996, his third year in open gayness, his salary of
$100 an ass rape made him the highest-paid sex offender--possibly
the highest paid fag--in the world. By 2000, "CmdrTaco-itis,"
accompanied by a flood of CmdrTaco dances, songs, dolls, comic
books and cock suckings, was rampant in the faggot community.

Re:What do you do when CmdrTaco isnt gay any more? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528003)

WTF is this supposed to be about?

It seems to me to be completely irrelevant, and even more than that, unintelligent.

Just my opinion I guess.

Become who you were... (2, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527925)

...or better yet, who you wanted to be.

Re:Become who you were... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527968)

Yes. Get out as soon as you can. There are way too many people in CS now and if you are not happy with it at the moment, you will never be.

Pay (0, Redundant)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527929)

I used to be able to say that at least it pays well, but now I can't even take solace in that.

Actually, it does still pay well if you have experience (so yeah, you'll still be shafted here).

Re:Pay (2)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528027)

What are your other interests? Do you like statistics? Do well in Biology? Try Bioinformatics.

Care about networks, planning infrastructures and solving related problems? Look into being a SysAdmin.

Like beer? Get drunk.

work for McDonalds (2, Funny)

Count (107594) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527934)

see how long it takes you to appreciate love and adore the wonderfull joys of CS. I am guessing one day tops!

Go do something else, maybe (4, Insightful)

Sam Jooky (54205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527941)

You do something else. If you're about to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in one subject, then you're not very far from having another Bachelor's degree in something else. Have you thought about sticking around a couple years and getting a second major?

I have two degrees, one in CS and one in Archaeology. CS isn't what I want my career to be in, but I can take my computer skills and development knowledge and apply it to archaeology problems.

I like computers and archaeology a lot, though like I said, I don't want to be stuck in the computer industry for the rest of my life (can you say: Middle management, and other un-fun things when you get old?). But I like it enough that I can take it and mix it with something else I like and come up with a winning combination.

Talk to your advisors, too. That's what they get paid for. Mostly, though, you just have to go out there and do what you want to do, money be damned.

Good luck!

Sam Jooky

Re:Go do something else, maybe (5, Funny)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527986)

I have two degrees, one in CS and one in Archaeology. CS isn't what I want my career to be in, but I can take my computer skills and development knowledge and apply it to archaeology problems.

Yeah, and I can take my engineering degree and apply it to 18th-century western European literature.

Nothing wrong with that... (1)

cobol4me (444373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527942)

There's nothing wrong with that line of thinking: it's just a way of you knowing that you aren't suited for this field. Pardon the pun.

I'm in EE and I feel the same way. (0)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527944)

CS and EE are both very mature fields. The state of the art now in computer and os research was basicly the state of the art 3 years ago (aside from enhancements brought by miniaturization). not too much excitement to get you up in the morning and ready to conquer the world.

As some noted computer scientists have said, if they had to do it all over again starting now, they'd probably do biology or genetics, or physics or something, anything, please, besides computer science.

Your answer is in daytime tv (2, Funny)

badfish2 (316297) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527945)

Hit the networks. See what Oprah recommends. Maybe Maury can help you out. Find someone to scream at(maybe a professor - pick a feisty one) and duke it out on Springer.

You compare (1, Insightful)

Ryn (9728) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527947)

You look at how other people are doing, and think "Damn I'm lucky I have the brains".

Hear my violin? (4, Insightful)

AdventureExtreme (236773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527948)

Welcome to the real world my friend.
Unless you go to work for a company doing research in CompSci you are going to be doing pretty much the same thing say-in and day-out when you get a job.
All I can say is don't lose your appreciation of computers but realize that not all computer related activity is going to be cutting edge and challenging. Keep working and eventually you will get the chance to do what you want.

Masturbate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527949)

Its the renewable hobby.

Obviously... (2, Insightful)

FFFish (7567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527953)

...you find something else to do. Life is way too short to waste it doing stuff you don't enjoy. Go seek out something new and exciting. Stay alive!

Grad school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527955)

Get an MBA -- then you'll really understand
what pointless means.

.NET (-1)

robsmama (416178) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527956)

I know this is not very popular around here, but I'll say it anyway. .NET represents some very revolutionary ideas and I believe, has the ability to bring some meaning back to your life.

bye for now

It doesn't get any better (2, Informative)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527957)

If you can't even get through school, then IT isn't for you. Work makes school seem very, very fun in comparison. Once you're doing at work for a few years, you'll realize that it's not nearly as fun or interesting as you thought it was going to be. It's deadlines, crappy legacy code, stuipd managers, bad decisions that you have to live with, etc. It's a royal grind. If you're already burned out, you may want to save yourself the headache and consider a new line of work.

- A burned out 28-year old developer.

What to do... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527960)

What do you do when it isn't fun any more, but you'd like it to be?"

The Golden Gate Bridge. Is it true that they stopped counting, because they were afraid that everybody wanted to be #1000?

#1000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527994)

Wouldn't it be ironic, if there was no #1001... Because #1000 would not only off himself, but off the bridge along with himself...

do some projects of your own (2, Interesting)

trueimage (257163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527962)

find something that you would like to see made or that you are interested in... then start coding. it will be much more fun if you are doing something for yourself rather than yet another linked list to solve the sums of 5 numbers ;)

Study somemore. (5, Insightful)

ck_kid (88667) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527963)

Study geology or astronomy or (insert interest here) and apply your CS knowledge to something that would be rewarding to you.

CS is an enabler for most of us not an end.

You do not even really need to go back to school for this.


Two long, one short. I am lost.

I had that problem (2, Informative)

davovad (241692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527965)

I found that when I got into the industry and started doing different projects than you do in class (ie writing functional web applications vs writing bubble sorts) that I started having a *lot* more fun than I did in college.

Plus it is a completely different environment - you get paid - you get to work on something all day vs having to juggle a ton of classwork.

Finding the fun again. (5, Informative)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527966)

First of all, if you're one semester from graduation - finish your year. The piece of paper will still be worth something, especially when the economy rebounds.

As for finding the fun again... Take a break. Explore hobbies other than coding. Let your coding skills sit quietly in the back of your mind, and some time later, you'll feel the itch again - the need to code a little widget that's Really Cool. It mainly sounds like you're getting burned out to me.

OTOH, coding may or may not be what you really want to do. If your primary goal was to awe the world with your m4d sk1llz, you may simply not have noticed that you weren't having fun doing it. That will reveal itself during your sabbatical. If coding ever was fun for you, the desire to code will come back.

YMMV :). Good luck.

Change your Major (1)

SanLouBlues (245548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527967)

Professors in other departments love people who can program nifty apps which do things related to class. You get the enjoyment of applying your skills, and good grades without outright brown-nosing.

Get a job (2, Interesting)

cmorriss (471077) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527969)

That's what helped me. Seeing my work help others gave me a sense of accomplishment that I just didn't have in college. Coding is still somewhat fun, but the goal is more real in business. You don't just get a grade, someone tells you that your product has helped them.

Congratulations are in order (1, Insightful)

nytes (231372) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527972)

Yup, you've made it. You sound like a genyooine programmer.

Welcome to our world. Everyone thinks it's hot stuff, but after you've done it for a few years, it's all the same.

Makes it hard to go home at night and do anything with computers.

Do you really love it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527975)

I really loved doing CS, I'd suggest that th ecourse you are doing is at fault as mine was fantastic. Try investigating the course offered before applying!

Management Potential! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527977)

Don't like computers anymore? Soltion: become
a Product Development manager at Microsoft!

Recapturing some magic (3, Insightful)

Lovepump (58591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527978)

Sounds like you need to clear off for a few weeks, take in some sun, drink some wine, eat some good food and don't go anywhere near a keyboard.

It works for me as an mainframe contractor - take some time out, recharge your batteries keep doing it until you're bored. Then come back to the keyboard...

It happens to all of us. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2527979)

You are simply growing up.

Take Some Time Off (2, Redundant)

asv108 (141455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527980)

This isn't something that's exclusive to CS but rather all fields, burnout. Take some time off, go outside, take a trip. After a couple of weeks or months you may find yourself itching for the keyboard. If not, do whatever makes you happy. If you don't know what that is, find it and do it.

What else do you like? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527982)

I'm a little annoyed when the "Ask Slashdot" questions are along the lines of "What processor is best?" but this one is intriguing: what do the geeks do when being a geek isn't all you thought it was going to be?

I wasn't interested in CS when I went off to University, much to the surprise of my parents, and I can't say I am now either, 7 years after graduating.
The only advice I can give is to figure out what you're *really* interested in, and pursue that. It may still involve computers, but doesn't necessarily have to be programming, right?

You may want to finish the degree after a semester off, if you can do that. You may just need a break away from academia!

Oh no! (3, Funny)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527983)

Dude, like you gotta go into Management or something. Quick, look in the mirror and see if your hair is starting to get pointy.


the problem word here is "undergrad" (5, Insightful)

mr.ska (208224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527984)

You want to break down technological barriers? You want to implement the future? You want to compile boldy what none have compiled before? Don't get a job.

You're right... your job will more than likely be doing what everyone else is doing - implementing the well-known. Whee-hah. Sounds like that is exactly what you want to avoid.

I'm not usually one to advocate this, but go to grad school. You'll hook up with the people who are developing what will be the standard years from now, and are researching the bleeding edge. A Master's degree will be a good start.. if you want to really push the envelope, you gotta go all the way to Ph.D.

Grad school will break you out of the its-been-done rut you seem to be in. The only problem might be the cost (it's never cheap), and your grades. Check with some of your professors, see what it takes to get in. You may need to take another year and polish yourself up.

Failing that, start a pr0n website. Pr0n always seems to be on the cutting edge...

Didn't you get the errata sheet? (2)

daeley (126313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527985)

I guess you didn't get the errata sheet for the secret geek manual:

On page 844, in the paragraph that ends

"...being a geek is the worst thing ever, a meaningless existence full of drudgery and pain."

substitute "isn't" for "is", "meaningful" for "meaningless" and "with no" for "full of"

Also, at the bottom of page 1299 (this is a Peachpit Press book after all), replace the sentence "Never ever have a good time -- just keep staring at the monitor no matter what" with "Be sure to get out more -- staring at a monitor all the time is bad for your eyes."


As Far Away As Possible (2, Insightful)

twistedfuck (166668) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527987)

Get as far away from CS, once you graduate, as possible. Move somewhere where there is no computer industry and get it out of your head. If it no longer seems like you want to pursue a career in CS, then maybe you are better off not trying to, but you will only know how much you would miss it by getting some distance for a while.

Electronics Engineering (2, Insightful)

13Echo (209846) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527989)

Unlike most people who get involved in "higher learning," I go to school to learn, and not to just "find a job." I got fet up with CS a few years ago and opted to get involved in electronics engineering after a short break. I have loved it ever since and still learn new things all the time. I suggest that you look into it if CS isn't really for you. Maybe you can still recolutionize the technical world.

Challenges (-1)

gazz (101967) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527990)

Set yourself a challenge - put a time limit on it - try to come up with a new kind of project to work on, doesn't have to be useful, doesn't even matter if it's been done before, but do it off your own back

Failing that, try what the MIT hacks [mit.edu] guys use to spice things up

study more! (1)

darthtuttle (448989) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527991)

well, once you have loop invariants down you could always go for a Ph.D. (Piled Higher and Deeper) in Computer Science, there lies the wonders of computational theory, game theory, pebbles and spiders, and so on... ...Having been in the "real world" for a while I'm thinking of dropping out of life and going to school... ...something about the quality of the greeness of the grass somewhere else...

Find something that interests you. (2)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527993)

The last thing in the world you want to is stick with tech even though you dislike it, or it bores you.

Keeping current on your technology skills requires constant maintenance and efforyt. If you dont have the desire, your skills are going to suffer. It will only get worse with time.

My suggestion would be to experiment and explore other areas of interest that you enjoy.

Tech is used in just about every field of study nowadays, and perhaps applying technology to a different domain, like sociology, archeology, etc, would be a usefull application of your skills, as well as something that you look forward to.

Don't sell yourself short. 'Settling' on a tech career because of the money won't bring any satisfaction, and probably won't bring the money you thought it would either.

Rise Above (1)

Ashcrow (469400) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527995)

I say finish the degree since there is only a year left and see how you feel. If you want to do something else, then you can easily pay for school by doing a simple IT/Admin job somewhere and do homework in your spare time ... and belive me, there is LOTS of spare time doing IT/Admin stuff!

Try Something Different (1)

Angry Black Man (533969) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527998)

I chose not to major in CS because I already know a lot about the subject. Why not look into engineering or architecture? It all depends on what you're interested in and what you like doing.

Do Open Source Projects (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2527999)

If you think that you have enough learning CS subjects, do some open source projects. Search Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] or Freshmeat [freshmeat.net] for interesting projects you think you want to contribute. Then, after some experiences, your interest in CS will grow as your curiousity is pricked and your realized that your knowledge in CS need growing. When that happens, go for another one or two years in Master studies. That will sure be a lot of fun.

Don't Major in CS! (2, Interesting)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528001)

IMO, CS should probably only be studied by those who want to create new /SCIENCE/ in the field. Too many people want to use computers to do their jobs, or program for a living, and think CS is the way to go. Nah.

Far better idea: Get a degree (or 3) in something you're truly interested in. Like History, or Geography (or GIS, like me :)). Learn your computer skills while working on another degree, and that will create some serious demand for your abilities...... in the field you majored in!

You major in what you love to do, and use computers to make what you love that much better.

Like.... be a programmer who happens to be a genius in Physics! You think that wouldn't be in demand?

What to do... (4, Insightful)

TBone (5692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528002)

Realize that having a CS degree will at least get you in the door at places for more than just programming. I burnt out while I was in school, too, and dropped out in my last year, because I was tired of all the FSCKING programming. I mean, if I wanted to be a programmer, that's all fine and good, but I wanted to be, at the time, a systems analyst, and later changed my mind, and now I'm a systems admin.

Finish it out. I wish I had - but I got into the job market before the dot-com bubble started or burst, so I was lucky enough to not have to depend on my degree to get me just in the door. Now I'm going the night school here at an in-town unoiversity.

You're going to need the degree, coming in with minimal experience. I know, it sucks, but finish it out, then get out of the programming. I still go back to it for fun when I wanna do something, but hell, it's surely not what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Do what I do (2, Interesting)

niekze (96793) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528004)

I get tired of CS too. I'm about 2 semesters away. Some classes have great professors where you enjoy the classes and the projects because they are challenging. Other times (Tue-Thur @5:30) I'll have a professor that just reads power point slides and has midterms that are closer to DB vocabulary tests than DB process and design. In any event, I started learning stuff I wanted to learn on my own. Messing with sockets and gtk+ and other stuff. The reason CS gets boring is that a lot of the problems you solve in classes are miles from fun. Take the Travelling Salesmen problem. I'm sure almost everyone in CS has to do it at sometime or another. It's an interesting problem, but coding it isn't. So, long story short: my advice is to look into areas of programming you havn't tried and give them a shot. It could just be that the stuff you're doing isn't for you.

CS No Fun? Eh? (1)

jamieo (22197) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528006)

I say it all depends on who you're playing with, sometimes a bit boring. Try switching from CTs to Ts, or playing some different maps. Eventually a new .1 release will be out, with slightly altered gameplay and more new maps to learn/master. CS will then be fun again.

That was a joke.

But seriously, university can be quite boring when studying computer science. At least that's what I found. Work was quite different and much more enjoyable. The highs are much higher, but also the lows can be much lower - you have to get a decent and interesting job.

So you've basically got to decide if you want to plough on, get graduated and try to get a good job you'll enjoy, or bug out now and change subjects.

Nothing's ever fun forever, there's always high and lows. Whatever you choose, it's doubtful you'll be doing it for the rest of your adult life - even if your tech flame is rekindled and you get a great job and do well, you'll end up a manager or director and not be doing it anymore.

You'll probably hate your first job anyway (2)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528007)

In my experience, most people hate their first job after graduation. Accept it - go for the 'best' job you can even if you know you may not enjoy it. Try to stick with it for two years and get as much experience and training as you can. Then make a career change to what you really want to do.

Just because you studied CS, doesn't mean that you have to base your career around it. However, you should use it as leverage to get a good first job, because without work experience it's difficult to change tack. Once you've got a bit of experience, then you'll have a lot more freedom to change and move to what you really want to do.

The real sad cases are those people who get a 'good' job which they really hate, but then don't have the courage to change to something different.

What do you do? (2, Interesting)

uslinux.net (152591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528008)

Simple answer: Find something non computer science related to do.

What aspect of CS do you dislike? Programming? There are tons of non-programming jobs out there. As a sysadmin, other than the occasional Perl script, I don't write any code.

Really, just because you graduate with a CS degree does NOT mean that you need to go out and become a programmer, or even need to find a CS-related job. Ironically, I know a few English majors who are now brilliant sysadmins.

I don't mean to sound like a Troll, but if you're that close to graduation, then finish college and look for something which you like. A college degree is just proof that you can learn.

Well, what do you like? (1)

Palos (527071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528009)

Taking a computer science degree most times exposes you a very wide range of material. Ranging from the pure coding aspects, to theory, to hardware io. Which part of this did you like before? Also since you will be graduating, and a computer science major could be useful in almost any industry, maybe going into an industry that interests you, and using you computer science talents there would be enjoyable? A lot of people don't end up doing what they graduated with a degree in, maybe you're just figuring that out before you've been coding for 5 yrs :)

take a breather... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528010)

I had the same problem, CS was just plain dull... I dropped out of university and started making films.

After a little while, my intrest returned and I decided to make a small game engine (my reason for learning to code when I was aged 10).

So take a break - get a McJob to make ends meet, and enjoy life a bit.

Wrong Motivations (5, Interesting)

Courageous (228506) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528014)

"...at least it pays well..."

That's not a good reason for going into C.S. It reminds me of a trend in medicine, where folks want to become doctors because of the money. Only, somewhere along the line they figure out that they really don't like medicine; this is often after a substantial investment in medschool, which can leave crushing, mortgage-sized debts. Careers should be selected for love of the art, not love of money.

All that said, you're making a decision too early. You're in SCHOOL; the challenges you're facing there are nothing like what you'll be facing on the job. You'll learn more in your first year on the job than you did during the entire time you were in school. You'll face programming efforts with 50,000 lines of code or more in some cases. College C.S. is a good theoretical basis, but it really doesn't show you what you're going to face at work.

You don't have enough experience yet to be jaded, so stop puttin' on those jaded airs. :)


Find ways to make it fun.... (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528015)

About 2 years into my CS education, I realized that I had an active dislike for mathmatics, and only limited patience for the rigors involved in logic design and the debugging headaches that go along with any programming project.

The thing that saved me, however, was the fact that the field of computer science is so varied and vast that I didn't really have to specialize in programming to do what I really wanted to.

Look at all aspects of CS, and not just coding. That means networking, graphics, engineering, etc...

When I realized that I really wasn't cut out to be a coder, I started taking art classes and registerd a minor specilization in computer generated art. Now I'm a webmaster/graphics guru for a mid-sized financial company in texas. Part of my duties include administering servers and writing the occasional script, but most of what I get to do is purely creative. I take photos, paint, draw, and even write occasionally, being paid like a server administrator the entire time.

I know guys who hate coding, but love to build hardware. I know of guys who have gone into the electronics aspect of CS, actually engineering and building computer components.

It may be difficult to find a CS field you like, but there is almost certainly one out there for you.

CS education. (0)

wlp (135753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528016)

I just finished my degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science and I relate to the lack of luster and and frustration with the market currently.

I think that universities spend too much time teaching computer technology as a science instead of addressing artistic issues with coding, software development, etc. Software Engineering, even with UML and Patterns, is unrefined. Good software heavily depends on the capabilites of the individual. Two people can complete similar education with similar marks and have very different capabilities. Too often, students' work is look at too objectively and not subjectively enough. I think the best CS programs would take a similar approach as Medical Schools to in educating their students.

I don't know. :) What do you think?

cs degree comes with options.. (1)

saulgood (35572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528017)

there a lots of options available. have you thought about the european market? or teaching somewhere in central america ( i taught perl to
some guys in guatemala, it was a great time. )

much of what i find enjoyable and edifying about a job in tech is the "who,what and where" i am living the rest of my life with.

Become a Roadie? (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528018)

Sounds like fun until you tumble backwards down a ramp under a stack of Marshall amps, fall six feet from a stage into a road case and find out that the road crew doesn't have groupies. (It all happened to me.)

Most careers look great from the outside, but turn out to be boring. Why do you think it's called "work?"

Interdisciplinary Work (2, Insightful)

azaroth42 (458293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528019)

A CS degree is not just a way into *yawn* programming for some company or sysadmining looking after morons and their computers. It is knowlege that can be applied across the board to a myriad of fields of research, either academic or commercial.

The same applies to non CS degrees in the CS field - my (postgrad) degree is in Medieval French, but I'm working with computers in order to create electronic editions of medieval manuscripts; using XML with a search engine to enable people to search texts, descriptions of archives, descriptions of museum items, libraries etc. Find something else that interests you and you can say that you love, and apply your IT knowledge and skills to it.

-- Azaroth

And here I thought... (1)

yelims (160240) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528020)

What do you mean Counter Strike isn't fun anymore. Maybe try switching sides. That always seems to help me.


Re:And here I thought... (-1)

gdiersing (240179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528053)

Roger That

I retired from playing and admining a server because all the cheaters. PunkBuster stopped developing for it, but I think they are back at it. Anyway, my only hope is when HalfLife 2 comes out they rebuild the mod and intergrate an anti-cheat mechanism.

Go Go Go

Guess what (1)

dropdead (201019) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528022)

Guess what now you have to start making real decisions about your future. The joy's of being an adult.
Try taking a job in an unexpected area. A new challenge is a great way to find some excitement and focus.

I felt the same way (2, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528023)

Once you get out in the real working world, you'll come to appreciate your degree more. I started working on the Sysadmin/DBA side and have made the transition to a software/network engineer and am starting to appreciate the time I spent in school.

So don't do anything stupid until you are out of school and employed (ie. don't drop out) Just get a job and see what happens. If you hate your job, look for another one.

If you are reasonably intelligent and interested in doing stuff, you won't have too much trouble getting a job. One of the positive things about a recession is that it will shake the idiots and dotcom losers out of the industry.

How to cure boredom (2, Interesting)

banda (206438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528024)

Join the military.

Seriously, I got way more out of the practical Computer Programming Specialist courses at Keesler AFB than I did from Washington University's engineering curriculum. Once I was trained, they shipped me off to an honest-to-god Air Force squadron where I wrote code for embedded systems, designed databases, repaired hardware, and got to run around with a gun.

The money was terrible. The hours were tough. It was the best work experience of my life. And, as an experience I can put on my resume, it was spectacularly effective at keeping me employed after I was discharged.

join the club (1)

taco1991 (213491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528026)

I was as jaded as you were when I graduated with my CS degree a year ago. Most of the problem was I wasn't learning anything new during the last year of my studies - it was just rehashed or applied parts of my previous learning.

Looking at my job now (I've worked a little over a year), I know the parts I've enjoyed the most have been when I worked on a project full time, wholly engrossed with the development and creation of some new software. I would say that most engineers feel the most excited about work when they've created and completed something new from nothing. The lowest parts of my job have been when I have nothing to do - same thing like when you're not learning anything at school. Of course other factors exist - the work environment, coworkers, etc. but having challenging work to do is the part of my job that I enjoy best.
My best advice to you is choose a job that interests you and that will provide lots of challenging projects with the freedom for you do actually create and use your software development skills to their fullest. Otherwise you'll e bored at your desk day in, day out.

good luck

University is not the real world (1)

billmaly (212308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528028)

Have faith, stick it out. You've come this far, not long to go.

Real world, all that will matter is the degree you hold, be it in CS or in Applied Bogo Dynamism Philosophy. It's a 4 year degree, and it's a ticket in the door.

Also, bear in mind that CS in the real world is often times a far cry from the academic. If you still hate the idea of CS as a career, find something else you love. Teaching comes to mind. Drive a truck. Learn a trade (the plumbers and electricians I know seem to always have $$$ in hand, nice homes, good vehicles for those keeping score, and will always be able to find work).

Whatever makes you happy. Life's to short to work a sh*tty job that you hate. Me, I dislike my job (it ain't no career!), but it's a means to an end. My degree is in Urban Planning, and I work in a CS field. The degree doesn't matter, what will matter is the opportunities that it opens for you. End of soapbox rant.

Change Paths (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528030)

I spent 2 years in a Computer Information Systems course at a local highschool/college hybrid in town here, and it's totally ruined me. Before, I would write PHP for fun, at the start I hacked on the IRCd for StarChat, and now I can't even bring myself to bother USING the software I wrote (online journals, poetry databases, etc), let alone write more. For that matter, I stopped liking Linux, because I don't want to bother with all the crap I have to deal with to make things work - I used to love it, but now? Can't stand it. I use a Mac.

What I did was find something else that interests me - namely languages - and start exploring that. I had the good fortune of meeting a lot of Mexicans on StarChat, and through them, got a base understanding of Spanish in a week or two. I've also found myself comparing languages, alphabets, and so on.

Basically, what I'm saying is, find something else that interests you and do that instead. Maybe change your major and don't graduate for a while longer, but even if you do change your major, you'll have a lot of electives done already. Maybe Physics is more up your alley, if you like the math of computing, or Engineering if you like problem-solving and design.

There's more to life to computers, as I've found, and the trick is to find what other stuff you enjoy, and what interested you in computers in the first place, and to pick a path based on those.

Good luck.


Ask yourself... (2)

DrCode (95839) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528031)

You have to ask yourself: Is it software development that you're tired of, or is it academia?

You might want to try working outside college, either at a part-time job, or on an open-source project.

Finish, then find something you enjoy (2)

gowen (141411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528032)

I know it sucks right now, but you've invested plenty of time in it, and its a bad idea to quit. Its only a semester, a fantastically short period of time in the grand scheme of things.

Then go and do something completely unrelated for as long as you want to, and gain a bit of perspective. You may find that, with the daily grind removed, you remember what you liked about CS, or you may never touch a keyboard again. Either way, you'll be a college graduate, which does help in getting jobs, whatever your major is.

Besides sticking at something you hate for a short while is character building :)

You liked it while you thought you were good at it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528033)

But the reality turned out not to be quite the case.

Now you are rationalizing that it is not fun so it is ok not to be good at it.

It has nothing to do with CS. It has something to do with your mediocrity.

What a stupid fucking question... (-1)

anal-johnson (528597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528034)

Quit wasting daddys money in college and study, you retard. Welcome to the real world, nancy boy!

funny, had opposite experience (1)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528035)

i was a Comp. Sci student at NJIT till I realized I wasn't motivated enough, and switched to the "Science, Technology, & Society" program, which focused on policy decisions and environmental science/politics/philosophy.

I loved it, and was very passionate about politics and philosophy, but finishing my senior project left me drained and confused...

So now I work at an dot com, and wish I had a CS degree.

MAEK IT FUN AGAIN!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528039)

hi there again its me :) :) :)

i just waented to tell yuo soem things that i haev found to maek things fun again!

for instance i liek to do thise things at work:

talk to hot yuong actresses
turn them to stoen

now i cant do this all at werk so instead i just downlode picturs and use the the gimp or [slashdot.org] photoshp [pohtoshop.com] to maek them into stoen!!! it's lots of fun adn then icanhave "ATALIE PORTMAN NAKED AND PETRIFIED"!!!

thank yuo.

such ennui at such a young age (5, Interesting)

butocabra (118007) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528040)

It'd be a shame to call it quits before you've really begun the game. The complexities you'll encounter once you really start working will make whatever you've done in school look like a two line gw-basic program written on an ibm pc-at. The joy of working in cs projects transitions from the drugery of fixing minutae to solving larger, systemic problems. I urge you to take your good gpa, get a job, and really give it a chance.

Programming isn't the only possibility... (1)

Orbix (238630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528043)

I'm not sure quite where your interests lie, but I've been pretty much predicting the same frustrations for myself in a few years, which is why I'm planning on going to grad school to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering. My thoughts are this: CS covers software, while EE deals primarily with hardware and implementation, among other things.

It doesn't seem to me that software and the like has changed a lot over the last few decades; aside from the languages used and the hardware they run on, programmers are still doing primarily the same thing they've always done (this is an unsubstantiated opinion drawn from my observations and conversations... I haven't been programming but for a few years). Consequently, the stuff that really interests me is hardware. New hardware is very definitely different from the older stuff, and there are a lot of interesting developments out there.

My personal suggestion is to take a look at the fields in which the logic, processes, and potentially even the programming from CS applies and see what else is out there that's of interest. Don't limit yourself to just tech stuff, either. Look around, and see what interests you. If possible, see if you can find some alumni from your school that majored in CS but went on to do other things; they may be able to provide some good insights into life after CS.

Granted, this is coming from a freshman CS major at a liberal arts university, so YMMV, but regardless, good luck!


Um... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528044)

Dude, I don't mean to be a dick, but try something else. There's more to life than CS.

Here's the best advice you'll get. (2)

grytpype (53367) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528045)

Listen, everything you do will eventually become boring. If you switch to another field you think will be more interesting, that will become boring too. The smart thing to do is to go into a career where you can become independently wealthy when you're young, after that you can do whatever you want, when you want. The only career like that is business, particularly finance. If I had to do it all over again, I would go to Wall Street for sure, and I'd be retired by now.

Learn about eXtreme Programming (5, Informative)

under_score (65824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528046)

Honestly, I was starting to feel the same way in the work world. I've been a software engineer professionally for about 10 years. Extreme Programming (XP) is the twitch in your fingers when the meetings get long, it is the surge of pride when software works first time round. Check it out: http://www.extremeprogramming.org [extremeprogramming.org] or for a business-level summary: executive summary of XP [oomind.com]. Good luck! Don't give up just yet. School can be stultifying, and so can work. But if you are talented, there will always be good opportunities. Also consider starting your own business. There are lots of programs for supporting small business in most countries - it is very exciting and great experience. Or work for a startup doing cool stuff (not many of those around anymore, but still).

Ask Slashdot: Lunch ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528047)


I don't know how to think or search the web
so I'll just ask slashdot, I know they will post even my most inane questions. So here it is:
Am I hungry ? Should I have lunch now, or maybe a bit later ?
Thanks !

Try working... (2, Interesting)

feldkamp (146657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528048)

If you haven't tried finding an internship in CS/CE, I suggest trying to find one.

Real-world CS is a lot different than academia. I'm a junior (CE @ UM Ann Arbor) in college, and while I've liked some of my classes, most of them are merely there to teach the rigor of heavy computer science, so that we have the faculties to tackle the really cool problems in computing. Some people actually like the academia-side more... but those people are crazy (j/k).

The real place where I have fun is my job - not as theoretical as class, and you see real results. The most fun is when you get to actually *use* the stuff that they teach you in class.

Give it a while - and if you can't find an internship in your area, often CS departments have programming clubs, in which the members work on a large computer project together. Personally, I'm not involved with one of these, but it seems everyone involved has a lot of fun.

Good Luck, and remember - when all else fails, stay for a master's degree.


Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't I Happy? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528054)

Come on! You can't really expect an answer to this? Are you looking for other fun geek things, a different subject altogether, or are you asking how geeks balance their technical lives?

I can't imagine any answer really being satisfactory. Having been there and spent several months in a morass of numbness and apathy at the end of my school carrer I can say that the answer lies within. Slashdot has some very wise people (and a ton of unwise... but that's a different rant), but all the wisdom in the world isn't going to allow anyone to answer a question like this which can ONLY be answered by you.

So the only advice you should really listen to is: don't listen to anyone's advice. Sit down and quietly work out for yourself what it is that would make you excited about life again.

Go into politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528055)

No really, we need more (i.e., ANY!) tech-clueful politicians.

College Blues? (2, Insightful)

Baba Abhui (246789) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528056)

You're not too specific about:

- Which part of this large and growing field used to thrill you
- Which part of this large and growing field has burnt you out

Which would probably help you get better advice from everyone.

But it may just be a case of getting bored with the tiny, unrealistic projects that are typically used to teach computer science. Maybe it's not CS that has you down, maybe it's just college burnout. Applications in the real world tend to be more interesting in the sense that they're much, much larger, but less interesting algorithmically (is that a word?) speaking. You may find the real world to be a breath of fresh air, or you may find it even more oppressive.

In either case, finish your degree. You're too close to the end to give up on it. If you try some real-world CS and still hate it, you can try something else.

When CS isn't funny (1)

DrSpin (524593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528058)

Check out your local "Good Burger" and see if you think flipping burgers would be more fun.

I have been working with computers since 1972. Its not the computer that is fun, but what you can do with it.

When you do control software for 1,500 HP motors, a bug can be fun too!

Wait till you blow your first 8,000A fuse!

Experience is the key (2, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528059)

"eradicating the countless off-by-one bugs is nothing short of mind-numbing. I'd like nothing better than to recapture the feeling of joy I used to get out of doing this, and to once again be able to say I'm doing what I love. What do you do when it isn't fun any more, but you'd like it to be?" "

It sounds like you enjoyed it more as a hobby than as a serious career. If so, keep it that way and a find an alternative career that you can enjoy and use to pay for that hobby.

Things like the off-by-one bugs decrease significantly with experience. But, you also have to be disciplined and serious about your programming. I'm happy with this as I get great satisfaction out of having things just fall together and work well the first time. The initial effort might seem dry, tedious and unnecessary (design!), but I find it pays off in the long-run.

There's nothing more frustrating than having to deal with somebody else's sloppy code and basic bugs. Ultimately, I've found working with a team of senior and/or good software engineers results in better code to work with, so there are fewer of those off-by-one and bad pointer bugs to deal with in the first place. Unfortunately, you might have to "do your time" to get there.

Incoroporate your work with your hobbies (1)

sphix42 (144155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528060)

Find a way to use your CS skills to further your hobbies. This will give you the chance to apply your skill set to something you already do. If this works for you you'll find you're just working so you can pay the bills and further your hobby (or else you'll do personal development on your employers time).

For example, if you're in to paragliding, write something that helps explain the sport to new comers.

Personally, I merged my profession of programming with my love of live music to create db.etree.org and fortunatly don't spend too much of my employers time working on it :)

If you can't do what you love (2)

bartle (447377) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528062)

If you can't do what you love, then you might as well work doing something you're good at. If you're still a good programmer you might as well keep at it, really you're not going to find too much better in the way of a job. Programming is still one of the better paid professions out there.

What you may have to do is give up on the idea that what you want to do, what you have to do, and what you are good at are all the same thing. The vast majority of people don't have the luxury of doing what they love and getting paid for it; they grow up, get a job, and learn to deal. After all, the purpose of a job is to provide you with a means to do what you want, not and end in itself.

Passport to Something Else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2528063)

I'm 50, so I remember when computers were seldom used in business. It's clear to me that in the relatively near future - maybe 10 years, maybe less - nearly every discipline and profession will involve computers and information processing in one way or another. You would be wise to finish your education but majoring in a field that lights your fuse. You'll find that your C.S. skills will serve you well in that field.

Also, it's always good to know that should a career in your chosen field not pan out, you can always make a living at hacking. Knowing that you have a safety net should help give you confidence in your chosen profession.

Do random projects (2)

GrEp (89884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2528064)

Coursework got you down? Do a random coding project. The best way to keep interested in CS is be active in doing stuff that you find fun. Coursework definitely brodens your horizons, but if you want to do something interesting many times you have to take the initive. Here are some random projects that my roomate and/or I did to keep ourselves interested while at college.

-Teach yourself some Computer graphics and build a paralell ray-tracer.

-Get a book on Lex/Yacc and write your own programming language.

-Mess around with X-screensaver code and write a new screensaver.

-Teach yourself some about evolutionary computation and teach your computer to play blackjack.

-Learn about image filters and write yourself an image filter library.

-Pick up a book on neural nets and write one that does vowel recognition.

-Teach your self about kernel hacking and implement a new feature like process statistics.
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