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Computer Studies w/o Excessive Coding?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the computer-science-lite dept.

Education 255

Peterus7 asks: "I'm a student at the University of Washington, and I was planning on majoring in Computer Science or Informatics until I took Computer science, and I'm realizing that it's simply beyond me. I grew up with computers, and naturally I want to study a field that involves a lot of interaction between people and technology (mainly computers), but the Intro to Java class I'm taking now is driving me over the edge. Any suggestions for a technologically intensive field that doesn't require ungodly amounts of coding, or perhaps any general methods for surviving computer science courses for new students?"

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Careers dont all requre coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384347)

But most of the good ones require a CS degree.

And employers know this. CS programs are code intensive, beacuse they wan't to make sure you're capable of the type of logic they're looking for.

propz to GNAA

Re:Careers dont all requre coding (3, Insightful)

saden1 (581102) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384617)

If your goal is to "survive" then you are not the type of a person employers are looking for. In all honesty there are a lot of techies out there right now out of a job because their objective in school was to "survive." Coding is an art form and is stressful. You don't naturally become a good coder/developer over night. You have to spend lots of time doing the work and just mucking about. More importantly, you HAVE to want to gain knowledge on your own not because the professor tells you to do this homework/project.

Saying it is "beyond me" tells me that you have given up getting better at it. I suggest you find something you are good at. Maybe information systems will provide you with satisfaction.

Good Luck.

I got one... (0, Funny)

Big Sean O (317186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384362)

Repeat after me: "You want fries with that?"

ECE (2, Insightful)

glassesmonkey (684291) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384379)

Most Big-Ten schools have renamed their EE dept. to be called "Electrical and Computer Engineering"

You could always try the EE route. Usually you need a few courses in intro. programming and maybe have to write some matlab code someday.

Re:ECE (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384510)

You could always try the EE route. Usually you need a few courses in intro. programming and maybe have to write some matlab code someday.

Yes. If you go for ECE you'll be writing MATLAB code, but if the programming in CS is too tough for this guy, then EE definitely will. There are probably another three calculus classes to take before he can do ECE, and if programming Java is too tough for him, Calculus definitely will be. Nevertheless, the CE route (which still requires all that Calculus and probably still more coding than he seems willing to do) is more like what he wants, it seems. CE will be more about digital design of computers, but he needs classes like introductory java to be able to follow the examples in algorithms and data structures classes.

Re:ECE (4, Insightful)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384932)

The coward is absolutely correct; CS is generally accepted as an easier major than EE. No EE major I knew, including myself, had even the slightest problem with the introductory programming class (which was C++ based). As an EE, you don't get any of the classes that really go into methods of generating algorithms and architecting code structures from top-level concepts to the tiny details, yet you end up having to use some of the most arcane languages in existence. Verilog, VHDL, AHDL, assembly for who knows how many different platforms, ABEL, MATLAB, SPICE; dozens of languages that may not necessarily be all that bad on their own, but every vendor has a different one. And that doesn't count the complicated mathematical structures you need to use to calculate the behavior of even simple circuits, semiconductors, signal processing, and electromagnetic waves and fields. With CS at least the majority of the concepts are language-agnostic and tie together pretty seamlessly from freshman to senior year.

Re:ECE (1)

philthedrill (690129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385163)

Most Big-Ten schools have renamed their EE dept. to be called "Electrical and Computer Engineering"

Actually, Washington is one of the schools where it's CSE [washington.edu] (Computer Science and Engineering) and EE [washington.edu] is another department.

As for advice, find out what you're good at and what you like doing... and don't choose your major based solely on how much money you'll make when you graduate (there are many miserable lawyers because of this). Industrial Technology Education (ITED) is like a hands-on approach to using computers and networks. Chemical engineers are instrumental in semiconductor manufacturing. If you're good at (and like) math, you should consider analog/power electronics, or signal processing (all EE). I have a friend who's a very smart computer engineer... he doesn't like coding in C/C++ that much, but he told me that he found his calling in digital signal processing.

The point is, if you're paying tons of money for school, it's worth it to take the time to find out what your skills are and what you like to do.

Forget ECE go for MSCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385247)

just get a MSCE no learning anything but how to reformat a drive, and how to count up licenses

Computer Science (5, Insightful)

justinmc (710870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384383)

This sounds familier to me. I did a Computer Science degree in UCC (big Uni in Cork Ireland) and you would not believe the amount of people in my class who only realised what Computer Science was once they were in the course. A lot of them just wanted to 'do stuff with computers' and did not want to actually learn how to code, or build hardware etc. I guess the best example was when a class mate said to me - 'This class is stupid, we haven't even been thought how to use Windows or Excel'. I responded with: 'No, here we are meant to learn how to write the next Windows (O/S) or Excel (Applications). I finished the course in 1999 and got my Degree - and went into a job where no coding was required (Network Security). However I still find every Theory class useful. Example, I was on the Cisco Advanced Routing Course and the instructor was covering OSPF (a dynamic routing Protocol). He was of the opinion that no one could know what SPF was, but I knew this from my algoriths course in 3rd year. My advice to the poster is to understand what computer science is. If they want to do something with Systems and People, then a course like the BIS (Business Information Systems) course at UCC is useful. But if you really want to know the maths and theory of computers - I recommend Computer Science. Thanks Jay

Re:Computer Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384627)

... we haven't even been thought how to use ...

In the south you might hear "we haven't even been learned how to"
Do the Irish lisp, or what's going on here?
Is this some Irish phonetic spelling of taught? (like in Boston, Worchester = Wooster)

Re:Computer Science (1)

delete (514365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384767)

No, I think it's just a spelling error.

Re:Computer Science (2, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384690)

No, here we are meant to learn how to write the next Windows (O/S) or Excel (Applications).

Computer Science != Computer Programming. A good computer science program will have minimal coding requirements (just as much as is required to demonstrate the theory).

Re:Computer Science (4, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384705)

Computer Science != Computer Programming. A good computer science program will have minimal coding requirements (just as much as is required to demonstrate the theory).


You have to understand a language well enough to figure out the examples given in higher level courses. Therefore, for most people, the first year or two of a CS degree is very definitely computer programming.

Re:Computer Science (3, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385055)

You have to understand a language well enough to figure out the examples given in higher level courses.

If higher level courses include *any* examples of code, they're not being taught properly. Pseudo-code (or even just pretty pictures) should be sufficient.

Re:Computer Science (3, Insightful)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385343)

I agree, but this isn't how it works at most colleges in the real world. Colleges have industry at their door demanding well-educated graduates, and in CS this often means fairly proficient in C/Java/what-have-you. Granted, no one straight out of college can walk right into a developer job. But I took a software engineering course for my CS degree. Do you think that has ANYTHING to do with computer science at its core? Not a chance. But it makes for a better developer if I at leave have a clue what a development model is.

I think nowadays, you'd have to be going somewhere like MIT or Cornell to get a *true* CS education, with high-level examples, pseudo-code, etc. and little actual coding.

Of course, this is all my opinion.

Re:Computer Science (3, Insightful)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385534)

I partly agree. I used to TA introductory courses to Computing Science, and the first thing I told my students is that if they wanted to be programmers, they should go to a different institution. We were in the business of making computing scientists.

That said, the first year courses are all introductions to programming and programming concepts. You then take one more course in pure programming in your second year along with your logic and algorithmics classes. After that, you're expected to be able to pick up languages as you go. Classes in non-procedural programming (Lisp, Prolog), Object Oriented Languages (Java, Smalltalk), and Compilers (lex, yacc) all expect you to do a considerable amount of programming to cement certain concepts in your head. Even the algorithmics courses expected you to be able to come up with an algorithm and implement it.

So, Computing Science is NOT the same as Computer Programming, you're right. However, the pure study of algorithmics and protocols and language without any practical element is nearly useless at the undergraduate level. Only as you get higher level degrees does it become truly possible to leave the computer behind and do all of your work on paper.

Re:Computer Science (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385563)

I should clarify that in my compilers class, we didn't study lex and yacc. They were tools that we had to use to help us write our compiler. In the other classes, we DID study prolog, lisp, java and smalltalk at the language level.

Re:Computer Science (1)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384750)

Example, I was on the Cisco Advanced Routing Course and the instructor was covering OSPF (a dynamic routing Protocol). He was of the opinion that no one could know what SPF was, but I knew this from my algoriths course in 3rd year.

That's funny, I had the exact opposite experience. I was able to make it through a similar class because I understood OSPF and other routing protocols. When you think of it in terms of OSPF after working with it for years it's a relatively simple concept. :-)

Re:Computer Science (3, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385473)

Too true. In my computer information systems course, there were a few people who understood what programming was (even though they'd never done anything but copy javascript off tutorial websites), but most people were completely clueless.

One girl asked me, the first time we were in the lab, 'Do these computers have HotMail?' I almost cried. A few weeks later, the fellow beside me asked me for help with a compile error that he couldn't figure out. I looked over at his screen, and saw the error. 'Missing semicolon on line 34'. I told him he was missing a semicolon on line 34 and off he went.

People don't understand that computer science is computer work, not computer play. They signed up, most of them because they like chatting on MSN and want to make lots of money. They don't realize that there's a lot of work, thinking, and math to CS, and sometimes, it's just over their heads.

--Dan

Oh dear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384386)

I guess this is part of the reason why there are an excess of IT techs. Programming isn't as easy as many think.

In general (and based on observations of my CS classmates) I would say that unless you can program before you even start a computer science degree (even just working knowledge of Basic - or in this day and age, Python [IMHO, Perl is next to useless as a teaching language because it's a mess]) - you're probably wasting your time.

If you've been hacking on code since high school, you're probably fit in nicely.

/computer science graduate

Re:Oh dear. (4, Interesting)

YouMakeMeSoANGRY (641079) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384419)

1) Coding isn't as hard as most coders would like to claim. All it requires is the ability to think logically, and a bit of practice.

2) One of my best friends at Uni who got a 1st had done no programming before starting his degree.

3) Many of the people who had been 'hacking on code since high school' actually did less well than they thought they would as they had preconcieved ideas about just how good they were.

(I'm also a CS graduate)

Re:Oh dear. (2, Insightful)

nickos (91443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384571)

It depends what you're coding. If you're just programming Java then you're right - it's not that hard, but there are areas where programming is difficult. At these levels coding is an aptitude - you've either got it or you haven't.

Re:Oh dear. (3, Insightful)

YouMakeMeSoANGRY (641079) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384652)

I'll agree that at a certain level coding does become more challenging, however the great grand parent was asserting that:
1) Coding at CS undergraduate level is hard.
2) Unless you already know how to program, as CS degree is practically impossible.

Both of these assertions are false. In particular, number 2 is an absoulte crock.

In what way is writing a program to solve a problem in Java any less intellectually challenging than using C to solve the same problem?

The 'hard' part in writing a program is how to attack the problem, i.e. the structure of the program; this bit doesn't change (much) from language to language.

The introductory software engineering course in my undergrad program covered Haskell (a functional language) as well as Java to get this point across (we covered C elsewhere). Two very different programming paradigms, and each week we had an assignment that was to be completed in both. We learnt very quickly to think in terms of the problem not your favourite language.

Re:Oh dear. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384839)

"In what way is writing a program to solve a problem in Java any less intellectually challenging than using C to solve the same problem?"

With Java even less than perfect programmers can write a network server without fear of remote root exploits.

"The 'hard' part in writing a program is how to attack the problem"

Not if you are trying to write securely & safely in C. So far I only know of very few people who can write securely in C.

Writing in C is like walking from A to B but having to control each and every joint of your body individually. Screw things up and you are in for a world of pain.

Writing in a higher level language frees you from this - you just need to figure out the best path from A to B, and a few other high level stuff - lots of other people have done the hard work of doing the nitty gritty.

Of course the MIS people just need to learn enough to write high-level memos to programmers ;).

Re:Oh dear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385046)

1) Coding at CS undergraduate level is hard.
The poster said "Programming isn't as easy as many think". Nothing was said explicitly about "coding at CS undergraduate level". I'm not even sure what that means.
We learnt very quickly to think in terms of the problem not your favourite language.
Then you probably were not utilizing all of the facilities of the langugae appropriately. Design of purely functional and object oriented systems is not the same and requires you to think in different terms.

cognitive science & hci (3, Interesting)

kndnice (453079) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384394)

i study cognitive science (specializing in computation and human-computer-interaction [hci]). this field is basically the abstraction of interactions but without doing hardcore programming.

i started out as computer science and engineering and didnt like how it pigeon-holed students. cognitive science is a great field involving computer science, neuroscience and psychology.

(MIT's media lab is a cogsci lab)

EE Info (2, Interesting)

ezelkow1 (693205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384398)

I am currently an EcE student at Purdue. Personally, i find the electrical sections of an ECE degree to be much harder than the programming elements, but thats just me. At least here, with a Computer engineering degree there is still a fair amount of programming that you have to do. 2 C courses, 1 course in ABEL (hardware programming), 1 Course in advanced data structure programming using C/C++, 1 Course in VHDL (integrated circuit design and programming), and those are just the ones ive gotten to. I believe there are a few more.
As far as a degree in computing without much programming you are probably going to have to look into IT administration or networking, I would think those routes would have less programming involved. Just ask an counselor at a school that provides these degrees.

No Help Here ... (1)

Mad_Fred (530564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384400)

I'm over in Sweden, and all I can say is that we've got the same problem here, for many people programming is the main stumbling block in their informatics studies. On the other hand, you can "get away" with very little programming here if you pick the right courses. Basically someone studying informatics at my uni only really has to learn and use programming for a total of maybe 10 weeks during the first semester, after that it's entirely possible to pick courses that don't include programming all the way to your degree. You do miss other good things that come in those courses though, so many people get stuck with more programming than they'd really like because other things in the same course are valuable. But I know this varies a lot between universities as well, around here we get a lot of science philosophy and similar stuff that people at more technically oriented unis are spared (no I didn't like it much at first :-).

Sorry... (4, Insightful)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384402)

Sorry, but you should learn something else. Really, if you don't take the time to learn programming (hey, be thankful it's Java and not LISP ;-) you should do something else.

I think it's extremely important to at least understand the basics of "how is software built". And learning a programming language is actually a lot easier than learning a real language, and you can learn both if just sit down and practice, gawddamnit !

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

Re:Sorry... (1)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384478)

There is also the possibility thet he just has a bad teacher.
There is no reasone why an intro course in jave should not be fun.

Some teachers don't understand that an intro course has to be structured properly and not leave a lot for the students to fill in.
In an advanced course you can skip alot and let the students work it out on their own, ( less work for the teacher...), but in an intro course it is not fair to do that.

He should try reading a good Java book and see maybe Java is not so bad, only the teacher.

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384501)

"He should try reading a good Java book and see maybe Java is not so bad, only the teacher."

A good teacher can perhaps inspire many students even to put up with something like Java. But Java is a boring, dull, tedious choice for an introductory CS course.

Re:Sorry... (1)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384659)

Java might be boring, but his assignments don't have to be.

I'm jusst guessing, but from the use of the words "not up to it" it seems that his problem is that he was given tasks but not a clue on how to do them,
hence the referral to a good java book.

If he would have complained that java is boaring I might have agreed with you, allthogh usually I would attach the title `boaring` to a task not to the tool used to solve it.

Re:Sorry... (5, Insightful)

ajagci (737734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384522)

Sorry, but you should learn something else. Really, if you don't take the time to learn programming (hey, be thankful it's Java and not LISP ;-) you should do something else.

No, he shouldn't be "thankful". Quite to the contrary. LISP is an interactive, dynamically typed language, which makes it great for introductory CS teaching. So are Python, Basic, Logo, Ruby, and many others.

Java is a statically typed, compiled language with enormous libraries and messy, complicated development environments. That makes it a poor choice for an introductory course.

I think it's extremely important to at least understand the basics of "how is software built". And learning a programming language is actually a lot easier than learning a real language, and you can learn both if just sit down and practice, gawddamnit !

For someone who already knows programming, that's true. But these students are supposed to learn programming.

Your argument actually supports what I'm saying: you should teach students programming in a language that is well-suited to the task of teaching and that doesn't burden beginners with irrelevant and complex features. You should also teach in a language that doesn't narrow the view students get of CS; sadly, Java is a one paradigm language, and a very limited paradigm at that. Once they have learned programming in a teaching language, as you say yourself, learning another programming language is easy.

Re:Sorry... (3, Interesting)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384622)

You should also teach in a language that doesn't narrow the view students get of CS

I agree. At my uni the very first programming class any CS/SE/CE student takes is done in Haskell, of all languages. I think a lot of people found it difficult to think in that language, perhaps because they had already used, or were expectig to use, Java or C++ or similar. I didn't much like it at the time but looking back, it was an excellent choice for an intro class. Touched upon a lot of concepts that I didn't see for years after in C++ and Java coding, even simple stuff like recursion. Makes you think differently. One of the better COMP classes I've taken!

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385921)

Haskell isn't LISP though.

Re:Sorry... (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384783)

No, he shouldn't be "thankful". Quite to the contrary. LISP is an interactive, dynamically typed language, which makes it great for introductory CS teaching.

Back in the day I tutored 1st year students doing scheme. It was good that they learned the functional paradigm early, and it was good that the amatuer hackers were on a par with the newbies in an unfamilar language, but The Pain, The Pain! The syntax is not newbie friendly, and finding bugs and misplaced brackets with them was very frustrating.

Re:Sorry... (2, Insightful)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384784)

Java is a statically typed, compiled language with enormous libraries and messy, complicated development environments. That makes it a poor choice for an introductory course.

On the contrary, that makes it an excellent language to learn with because you don't suffer from the "shooting yourself in the foot" syndrome. This is the exact reason why CS classes in nearly every high school while I was that age taught programming in Pascal...the compiler will catch the programmer assigning an int to a string then testing it like a boolean. Beginning programmers shouldn't have to worry about these things, they should be grasping the larger concepts language structure and the first algorithms.

What have CS courses switched to? Java. Why? First off, Javadoc. You head over to Javas resource page and you have an easily indexed hierarchy of all the base Java classes. Secondly, Java reads like English. Sadly, System.out.println is probably the most useful and complicated statement a beginner will learn, but look for any Java source and you can practically read, in English, what the code is doing.

--trb

Re:Sorry... (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385226)

Secondly, Java reads like English. Sadly, System.out.println is probably the most useful and complicated statement a beginner will learn, but look for any Java source and you can practically read, in English, what the code is doing.
If you want English readability, go with Cobol. It was originally designed so that beancounters could program using their "language".

Re:Sorry... (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385669)

Ugh, Java is a terrible language to teach in. It's far more than is required. Because it's taught at a straight procedural programming language at the beginning to avoid confusing students, they pick up all sorts of bad habits and use the language very poorly once they get out of that class. It takes a while to retrain them to use Java properly and in the Object Oriented fashion for which it was intended.

Pascal and Modula-2 are excellent teaching languages. Assembly, to an extent, is also an excellent teaching language. Getting students familiar with the computer early on usually pays off in the end. C is a bit obtuse as a teaching language, but it's what we used to do all our work in after our second year. Java is a wonderful language to teach OO classes with - far better than C++.

Re:Sorry... (3, Insightful)

noselasd (594905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384704)

Really ? There are thousands of things to do with a computer
besides writing programs for it.
* Administration, you don't really need much programming experience to administrer a large site of e.g. Active Directory controllers.
* Network planning/engineering..
* Application useage, e.g. modelling in Maya , 3D theory.

Re:Sorry... (2, Insightful)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384791)

Really ? There are thousands of things to do with a computer besides writing programs for it.
* Administration, you don't really need much programming experience to administrer a large site of e.g. Active Directory controllers.

An administrator who can't write scripts (scripting counts as programming, IMHO) to automate task isn't worth the money in my world. Especially when managing large sites you won't get very far with just the GUI's provided by MS and third-party companies. Even more so when there are UNIX systems around.

* Network planning/engineering..
* Application useage, e.g. modelling in Maya , 3D theory.

I didn't know you had to study to use Maya... but on second thought... ;-) Seriously though, the one who asked this "Ask Slashdot" said "or perhaps any general methods for surviving computer science courses for new students?", and if you don't learn at least the programming basics you simply won't survive this.

Re:Sorry... (2, Insightful)

yod@ (21039) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385916)

to mention any decent self respectin admin better be able to tool through some C to fix a dumb compile error.

Shell perl C at least a decent understanding..

Make -- dunno how many times ive had to fix makefiles to point to the right shit on various non linux platforms building OSS on them.

Understanding the computer from ground up has helped me tremendously throughout my career. This means understanding how CPU work how memory works
how software interacts with software..

I dunno how you can get off saying an admin doesnt need to know how to program.. an admin that cant automate is gonna be a tired and angry admin :P

Instructional Technology (3, Interesting)

teknikl (539522) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384407)

The science of using computers with the goal of educating people. The computer side isn't nearly as hard as dealing with the people.

I took the masters program offered by the Bloomsburg University IIT [bloomu.edu] . The program covered the use of modern multimedia tools and techniques (and some light programming) in conjuction with instructional design and task analysis.

There are quite a few other similar programs out there - be mindful that there is a whole track at other colleges focused simply on instructional design - thats not not as technical and tends to focus on academic issues regarding computers in education and CBT.

One of the most interesting things you can with this degree is get an Instructional Technology Specialist certificate. Then you are certified to direct technology operations for an entire school district. Now you're working with people!

Maybe your should re-think your career? (4, Interesting)

Captain Kirk (148843) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384414)

If an Introduction to Java involves too much coding, perhaps this will never be the field you feel really happy in. There's a huge difference between liking computers and choosing to spend your life with them. You will spend almost a third of your life working so avoiding things that don't make you feel good is very important.

Why not take a little time to visit your university career guidance centre, do a few psychometric tests, chat with an adviser and see if there might be a career you are happier in?

Re:Maybe your should re-think your career? (1)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384755)

If an Introduction to Java involves too much coding, perhaps this will never be the field you feel really happy in.

I disagree. Just because you're not happy coding doesn't mean you can't go into computer science. There's a hell of a lot more to computer science than first year programming classes. The trouble is that most colleges treat computer science as a major to teach people how to become code monkeys and that's generally pointless since those jobs are going to India.

Computers and ? (4, Insightful)

Zarf (5735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384415)

Don't just study computers, get a minor in CS and a major in something else... anything else... Computers and Business, Computers and Physics, Computers and Biology, Computers and Art, Computers and Theater... Computers and English.

Really. You need to diversify your investments, skill and monitary investments both. Diversification is the key. Find a niche market you can fill and fill it well. Computers and Video production... things like that. What are your other intrests? How do computers fail to help people in these areas? How can you improve the use of computers in these other fields? Do you know anyone who is in a special industry? Have you volunteered to do anything in the community? How can computers help them?

Then... MIS is for you (1)

SkewlD00d (314017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384417)

Management Information Systems: you dont do shit but maybe VB, Fortran or some other equally worthless language. Of course, you're not exactly qualified to do anything either... Btw, my CS degree didnt require very much coding... it's mostly irrelavent theory, math, algorithms, and the occasional program. Coding is a monkey-skill, soon to be outsourced to India or made obsolete by better languages/engineering methods and higher-level scripting. Ideally, you should be able to write code w/o any redundant structures, algorithms, lines, etc. Look into Abstract Syntax/Semantic Languages, and Graph-based Programming.

Re:Then... MIS is for you (1)

neillewis (137544) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384742)

Anyone else remember The Last One [c2.com] from the eighties? It seems like a 4GL that will free management from pesky programmers is always just around the corner.

Programming is a *creative* skill, at least the way I do it...

Re:Then... MIS is for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384917)

Why isn't this modded either -1 Troll or +5 funny?

Re:Then... MIS is for you (1)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385024)

Unless you're actually expected to provide entire MIS solutions, like my MIS group was responsible for, in which case it's handy to know database design and programming (SQL), write custom web pages to get user data for more specific queries (asp, vb, html, javascript, ADO), or you're expected to generate flat files out of a database in nightly jobs on a unix box (kron script, perl, java, awk/sed, SQL*Plus, PL/SQL).

Well, you get the idea. I've worked in several programming areas (I'm a telephony programmer now...) and the most coding I ever did was in the MIS group.
-Steve
--My dog ate my sig.

well, there are alternatives, but... (3, Informative)

ajagci (737734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384422)

You could study applied math, electrical engineering, computer engineering, cognitive science, human-computer interaction, psychology, etc. All of them involve high-tech and aspects of computer science, but they won't make you do lots of programming initially. However, when you actually work in them, it will be hard for you to avoid programming anyway, and you will be less prepared.

If you hate your intro CS course, chances are that the intro CS course is just poorly taught. And Java itself is a pretty questionable choice as an intro CS language in my opinion: it's tedious, it's sluggish, and has enormously complex libraries. It also is based on a very narrow view of what programming is and how people should build abstractions.

I'm not sure what you can do about that. Switching majors within your university is one choice. Switching universities might be another if you think that that kind of teaching is common at your university. Or you may just sit through this and hope that it improves. It depends on how much you are dedicated to CS. Your university may also treat this as a kind of hazing ritual, to weed out people who just aren't all that interested in CS after all.

One think you can do is have a look at the intro CS lectures at other universities and see how they compare (MIT's 6.001 is a good course to look at); maybe that would help you make up your mind whether you just dislike your course or whether you dislike the field.

Human factors (3, Informative)

tengwar (600847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384476)

Have you considered studying human factors (i.e. user interface design)? It's a small field, but when I've employed people for this they've really made a huge difference to the quality of my software. No coding is needed, but HTML is often required and it's sometimes useful to be able to craft a demo interface in a prototyping environment such as VB.

Help me! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384560)

I'm taking a degree in Baking, but I don't like kneading dough. Can anyone suggest a university where I can get by the minimum amount of getting flour on my paws?

Hugs n Kisses

-Junis

Re:Help me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384916)

I'm taking a degree in Baking, but I don't like kneading dough. Can anyone suggest a university where I can get by the minimum amount of getting flour on my paws?

Am I the only one that read this as

I'm taking a degree in ba n king, but don't like .....

--
This sig is intentionally like spam

Re:Help me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385104)

I'm paid to maintain a network of computers, but I'd rather post on Slashdot. Can anyone suggest a network where I can get the minimum amount of user interaction?

BA in Computer Science / Business Info Sys (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384567)

A friend of mine in college got a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. Less math/programming. This was at University of North Texas between '85 and '90.

Others opt for business Information Systems. Some programming, just for gits and shiggles, some design, blah blah. Benefit: be the boss of your arrogant techie friends... :)

My advice: stop reading slashdot (3, Insightful)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384580)

And spend the extra time learning to code.

If it turns out you can't learn to code, stay away.

You are simply not a 'nerd'.

Been there... (5, Insightful)

jakoz (696484) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384587)

General Methods
Find buddies.
I'm not kidding. People to study with equals much faster learning. When I started uni (too long ago) I was doing a Comp Sci/Electronic Engineering double, and the workload was insane. Pretty quickly, everyone worked out pretty quickly that the only way to cope with the insane workloads was to work together.

I don't mean cheating either. It's just that it's like having a tutor, all the time. That should be your first port of call, and if you still can't do it, (not having at go at you) you should really look at a change of careers.

Hope that helped.

Oh yeah... (1)

jakoz (696484) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384596)

...I just remembered something from uni. Once you get the deal with OO the rest will suddenly click. It was like that for pretty much everyone in my course.

choose another major (4, Insightful)

hankaholic (32239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384623)

Keep in mind that there's a large difference between fixing Outlook Express for Grandma and the field of CS.

It's going to sound a little harsh, but if you want to futz with computers, go work for Best Buy or CompUSA in the repair department, or start your own PC repair shop. If you're looking for a more analytical field and enjoy both coding and higher-level math, CS is more your bag.

Don't mistake this for elitism -- someone who enjoys construction isn't necessarily an engineer, and someone who enjoys using computers and software isn't necessarily going to enjoy trying to design computers and software.

Also keep in mind that computer use is something that professionals depend upon more and more, so even if you choose a field which doesn't seem to relate to "computers", you'll probably end up staring at one for years to come anyways.

Good luck!

poli sci (2, Insightful)

kwoff (516741) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384626)

Have you considered Political Science?

I would suggest ... (1, Troll)

judicar (726669) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384650)

Web design. It requires little or no actually neuron activity. Don't forget the black turtle neck and wigger fro, oh yeah and you get to ride around the office on a razor scooter while sipping a latte.

Some of the highest-tech fields don't require ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384657)

... an in-depth knowledge of coding. (Continued from subject)

I decided at a young age that I was not going to code GUIs for a living, so I took up assembly language and now at the age of 20 I am overwhelmed with job offers doing malware analysis, vulnerability engineering, and software protection. I know plenty of people in those fields who either cannot code at all in any language other than assembly or can't write production code to save their lives. It's more common than you think.

Take the time and learn coding, though; it's one of the most intellectually satisfying things you can do IMO, when you're not coding GUIs in Java for an asshole teacher who spouts buzzwords. In fact, I failed such a course last semester.

The Answer To Your Question In Three Letters: (0, Offtopic)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384675)

SCO.

All you have to know how to do is file baseless lawsuits and blow a lot of hot air. Plus, if there is one thing we know for sure about SCO, it is that there is no programming going on.

How to think... (3, Insightful)

martin (1336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384676)

Personnally I like to misquote an Oxford (UK) professor on items like this..

"An Universiry education is designed to make you THINK. A course is designed to make you think "

If you want to learn about computers then a Uni education is the best. It won't necessarilty teach you specific skills (Word, Excel, IOS etc) but will teach you how to understand the issues in a computing fashion.

I've seen lots of people who know alot about Excel, but because they haven't been taught the principles of programming, don't use 'names' when selecting areas for formula's etc. They just use the cell ranged (C1-C13). When you have to insert/delete a row, it quickly becomes a mess to update all the calculations.

OK so this is not the best example, but I think it proves the point. If you know the principles you can work the problem, rather then just knowing specific things.

Re:How to think... (3, Interesting)

KieranElby (315360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385131)

I quite agree.

Another good quote is "Computer science is as much about computers as astronomy is about telescopes" (Dijkstra, I think).

I suspect this isn't the case in all universities, but actual programming was a very minor part of my Comp Sci. degree (at a UK university). In fact, I don't recall ever writing any code in my "Programming Language Design" or "Artificial Intelligence" modules.

You're not UWCS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384686)

If you're having trouble with the intro class, you're obviously not in the major yet. The intro class is a weeder class! You're soiling the good name of UW CSE!

Poser!

wrong course? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384687)

if you think java is too much for you, you're most probably in the wrong course.

That's the weeder course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384718)

If you're struggling with the first course of a CS program, don't worry, you're not alone. It sounds like the course is doing exactly what it's intended to do: cut down on those who just can't "hack it" (pun intended).

Infomatics is a fine major. Try Applied Math in addition and with some intensive networking you'll probably get a job offer or two in a few years.

You are talking about SCIENCE (1)

at2000 (715252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384739)

Coding is very objective. The computer (not human) tells you whether your code is right or wrong. This is science - you can only be right or wrong, not a mixture of both.

If you want to study about human related things, then you need to study business, not science. There are a lot of information systems programmes out there for you to choose. They never require you to be proficient in coding.

Re:You are talking about SCIENCE (2, Insightful)

batemanm (534197) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385005)

Coding is very objective. The computer (not human) tells you whether your code is right or wrong.

I teach 1st year CS at University and a lot of the time the student's program compiles (computer says it is right) but doesn't do what they have been told to do or would break if you sneezed near it, both of which count as wrong (or not quite right). The computer only tells you if your codes syntax is correct it has no idea if it is semantically correct.

This is science - you can only be right or wrong, not a mixture of both.

Coding isn't as precise as people like to make out. Programs are an expression of an idea and as such the details differ even if the overall idea is the same. Some implementations will be better expressions than others.

If you want to study about human related things, then you need to study business, not science.

A computer is not an independent entity it sits in an environment and interacts with that environment. People are part of that environment therefore at some point computers (and the code therein) have to interact with people, even if it is through another piece of code. Computer Science is human related at some level.

maybe electronics (1, Interesting)

auzy (680819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384753)

I'm a current 3rd year computer science student, and I honestly believe that you will to do some coding to become deeply involved in computers, because you cant understand how something works, if u dont know its internals.

In fact, the period when u learn the most about computers is when u do computer architecture, where for me at least, we had to learn assembly language.

However, maybe by doing digital logic or something, u can be involved with computers, and only worry a bit about coding, but dont count on it too much.. I'm actually recommending at least basic digital logic to ppl, because for me at least, it taught alot about optimisation, amongst other things

I dont want to start a flamewar, but u will actually find learning C++/C, later on alot easier then java, because java is less sensitive to compile time problems I've found, and because there aren't pointers it can confuse ppl..

anyway, dont give up so easily mate.. I suggest u learn a bit of C/C++ on the side to see if programming really is ur thing or not..

Try liberal arts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384758)

At my university, sociology and communications were the best majors for people who wanted a degree but didn't want to actually do any work.

"I want to be a doctor, but I can't handle blood!" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8384763)

Computer Science == programming. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Sorry to be blunt, but if you can't handle an introductory course to Java programming, then you have misjudged your own abilities, and computer science is not for you.

"I really like physics, but I can't do math."

"I really like sports, but I hate breaking a sweat."

"I really want to be a doctor, but I can't handle blood."

You need to be realistic about your own abilities and find something that is more suited to your own abilities, and more important, your ability to persevere. Maybe a college degree isn't for you. If you want to stay in technology, maybe you should get a 2 yr IT certificate, or maybe get your MCSE and become an admin.

Other people have suggested Electrical Engineering, but sorry, if Java is blowing your mind, how the hell will you be able to do the math and physics involved with Electrical Engineering? I have an Electrical Engineering degree, and I studied my ass off, so I know how hard the math and the concepts are in the upper levels. If you can't handle programming (which is essentially flow charting) you can't handle engineering, period.

Sorry about that, but maybe this is the right time to switch fields into something else that you will be able to formulate a career on. It really sounds like computer science will just lead to misery for you.

Re:"I want to be a doctor, but I can't handle bloo (2, Insightful)

Jamie Lokier (104820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385038)

I know an excellent Electronic Engineer who works with high speed RF and digital circuits, who wouldn't be able to handle Java programming. He cannot handle VHDL and that is somewhat closer to circuit design.

Electronics takes a different kind of thinking than programming, and some people have a distinct aptitude for the former.

Re:"I want to be a doctor, but I can't handle bloo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385684)

If you want to be a doctor but can't handle blood,
there are alternatives, such as physical therapy.
From people I know, when they start handling corpses
in medical school, many people change sections so
they can watch instead of having to handle the corpses.
But there are plenty of alternatives.

Learn to code! (2, Insightful)

PinkFluid (23536) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384795)

Studying Computer Science without the knowledge of programming is like studying Physics wihout the knowledge of math.

How are you supposed to know the machine if you don't know how it works? People that know how to use few specific applications or know how to write HTML or XML don't deserve a PHD.

It's like being a mechanic who knows how to drive a car, but doesn't know how to fix the engine ...

I wonder... (0, Offtopic)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384873)

how many people are going to read this headline, roll their eyes, and move on?

I know I did two of the three. I'll let you guess which two.

offtopic? (1)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385623)

This is hardly offtopic, moderators.

Try a MIS degree or something else (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384913)

If you don't want to program try those - MIS, Business Computing etc.

Of course there's a possibility that you might actually LIKE programming, but you just don't like to do it in Java.

A way to find out is to try other computer languages. If you aren't even interested in doing that, then I doubt Computer Science is for you - you'd at least still need to do some pseudo code. Pick some other course.

It really doesn't matter so much. The whole idea is to get a decent cert, then get a job or get enough contacts + experience (whilst building your own portfolio - help relatives/friends ) to get a job. Once you've got a job, if you learn a lot and do a lot of good stuff, that cert doesn't matter as much after a while - this is not like Law, Medicine or Civil Engineering. Or perhaps Accounting - I haven't seen many people move into Accounting from other fields tho, more the other direction.

actually actual 'coding' is just part of it.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384999)

and the real 'cs' is done without writing a single line of code, you can draw diagrams for example that are very relevant to the design of something without knowing how to write a single line of code.

the coding part is just the part where the building gets built(pardon the analogy).

however if "introductory to java" is driving you around the edge maybe you need to seriously rethink your career options or you have a seriously sucky professor. if that is driving you nuts what would some course that introduced you into microprocessors with the use of assembler do to you?

pick up some coding project that intrestes YOU and code it. heaps more motivating than doing simple dialogs with swing by copying code from text, and helps much more into getting used to coding and knowing what to do where(and will probably make you to look up information from the net by yourself, for yourself).

you know, counter strike doesn't count as cs.. even though there's gazillion guys who have jumped into studying 'computers' because they just enjoy playing games or using programs and are not really intrested in what makes them tick(or how a big software project could be executed) at all.

MIS, IT, (1)

Surreal_Streaker (636407) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385113)

Coding is a great way to truly understand the power of computers, but there are many computer related disciplines that do not require extensive coding. MIS leverages high level technology understanding to solve business problems without having to unduly worry about the code. HCI ( Human Computer Interaction ), understanding how individuals and systems interact, may also be of interest.

While the last 15 years have richly rewarded artisan programmers, we are moving into an age where most programming will have to conform to increasingly rigorous blueprints. I tend to think of most coding as trending towards the white collar equivalent of construction - but much easier to export to cheaper labor markets, and requiring less equipment ( but more training). It is certainly nice knowledge to have if you are working around computers, but increasingly unlikely that you will be able to make highly meaningful contributions to society programming (unless you are skilled and visionary enough to remain one of the few artisans). Real change will be effected by those who can define at a high level, the needs of the business. Why not try to find a path that will lead you into this space? The code will take care of its self.

BSc v MCSE (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385117)

if you want to know HOW to do something you do a vocational course like MCSE.
if you want to know WHY you are doing it, you do a degree.

looks like you didn't even check what was on the course before you did it.

I'm sorry, (4, Insightful)

His name cannot be s (16831) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385122)

You've come to the wrong room. This is "Computer Geeks and Coders". You're looking for "Liberal Arts Pansies"

Seriously, I'm curious what kind of Job you want after you get this degree. How technical? If you don't wish to write code, and earn a degree that's related to "Computer Science", I'm not sure that you are going to find a Technical-related career all that fun. This is what we do.

If you are imagining a career that you just use a computer, anything will do these days.

And further to the point, if you can't hack coding (pun welcome) , RUN AWAY FROM CS. If you end up in a career where you are going to be building interactions between users and computers, and can't code, I don't want to work with you.

eof

CS is an interdisciplinary science (1)

1iar_parad0x (676662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385175)

I've spent the last 5 years writing code. I've gone back to school to finish my degree.I hate writing code. I enjoy mathematical logic. I like the rigour of foundational mathematics/theoretical CS.

Unfortunately, CS courses don't transfer well, and I don't feel like paying large ammounts to finish non-major coursework (unfortunately I can't transfer it in from another university) at my old school.

I hate writing stupid code. I hate paying someone for the privilege of writing trivial classroom code. I'm working without the degree, so a math/physics double major with a minor in CS will work for me. Frankly, no one cares what your major was in IT. CS-based math courses (theory of computation|algorithms|discrete math) tend to lack rigour. My experience is that they often stop sort of proof. How can you study graph theory without proofs? Erdos and Dykstra are rolling over in their graves! This may be differ by school. CS is the one field you can teach yourself.

Do you want to be in IT or do you like applying computers to scientific problems? Frankly, physics, chemistry, and biology have computational subfields. There are even a few bioinfomatics programs for undergraduates. You might find cognitive science or statistics interesting. Heck, many good physics departments offer a computational physics/scientific computing course(s). It just depends.

The other option might be to suffer through a few CS courses, and get a degree in something else and study CS at the graduate level. Most CS departments take people from other disciplines. Math is the best in that regard. Some MIS programs (like CMUs) allow you to focus on non-programming areas and are pretty good. You might like a program like Boston University's "Cognitive and Neural Systems". CalTech has a similar program at the Koch Lab. I even saw a "computational mathematics" program at JHU that required little programming. In fact, some of the best computer scientists are secretly mathematicians. Knuth, (Martin) Davis, Minsky, Ritchie, and many others have PhDs in math.

The little joke among computer scientists is that the best don't often study it. Logicians and combinatorical mathematicians tend to be better with the theory. Engineers are better with hardware. EEs are usually the ones who write device drivers. Heck, who wouldn't want a Claude Shannon or Lofti Zadeh working on CS problems. Frankly, I don't understand the point of modern-day CS. It's not math and it's not quite engineering. I like CS, but I just hate the boring coursework.

If you're still not convinced take a look at "The Feynman Lectures on Computation" and "Feynman and Computation". One of his hobbies was algorithm analysis. The man wasn't just a brilliant physicist. He did groundbreaking work with computers. I was first introduced to analog computation and quantum computation by Richard Feynman's work. He also worked on some deeper computational problems during the Manhattan Project (see "Surely You're Joking" [his memoirs]).

Type analog computation in a search engine and you'll see that this area of CS is done by other other fields. I've been reading about the applications of analog computation and their relation to limits of computation (see Neural Networks and Analog Computation: [umass.edu]
Beyond the Turing Limit. In fact, the future of computing may lie in some analog world [indiana.edu] . The computer program is math (see An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications [homepages.cwi.nl] )

sorry (formatted properly and a few extra lines) (2, Interesting)

1iar_parad0x (676662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385279)

I've spent the last 5 years writing code. I've gone back to school to finish my degree. I hate writing code, but I enjoy mathematical logic. I like the rigour of foundational mathematics and theoretical CS.

Unfortunately, CS courses don't transfer well, and I don't feel like paying large ammounts to private school to finish non-major coursework (unfortunately I can't transfer non-major coursework in from another university at my old school).

I hate writing stupid code. I hate paying someone for the privilege of writing trivial classroom code. I'm working without the degree, so a math/physics double major with a minor in CS will work for me. Frankly, no one cares what your major was in IT. CS-based math courses (theory of computation|algorithms|discrete math) tend to lack rigour. My experience is that they often stop sort of proof. How can you study graph theory without proofs? Erdos and Dykstra are rolling over in their graves! CS is the one field you can teach yourself.

Do you want to be in IT or do you like applying computers to scientific problems? Frankly, physics, chemistry, and biology have computational subfields. There are even a few bioinfomatics programs for undergraduates. You might find cognitive science or statistics interesting. Heck, many good physics departments offer a computational physics/scientific computing course(s). It just depends.

The other option might be to suffer through a few CS courses, and get a degree in something else and study CS at the graduate level. Most CS departments take people from other disciplines. Math is the best in that regard. Some MIS programs (like CMUs) allow you to focus on non-programming areas and are pretty good. You might like a program like Boston University's "Cognitive and Neural Systems". CalTech has a similar program at the Koch Lab. I even saw a "computational mathematics" program at JHU that required little programming. In fact, some of the best computer scientists are secretly mathematicians. Knuth, (Martin) Davis, Minsky, Ritchie, and many others have PhDs in math.

The little joke among computer scientists is that the best don't often study it. Logicians and combinatorical mathematicians tend to be better with the theory. Engineers are better with hardware. EEs are usually the ones who write device drivers. Heck, who wouldn't want a Claude Shannon or Lofti Zadeh working on CS problems. Frankly, I don't understand the point of modern-day CS. It's not math and it's not quite engineering. I like CS, but I just hate the boring coursework.

If you're still not convinced take a look at "The Feynman Lectures on Computation" and "Feynman and Computation". One of his hobbies was algorithm analysis. The man wasn't just a brilliant physicist. He did ground-breaking work with computers. I was first introduced to analog computation and quantum computation by Richard Feynman's work. He also worked on some deeper computational problems during the Manhattan Project (see "Surely You're Joking" [his memoirs]).

Type analog computation in a search engine and you'll see that this area of CS is done by other other fields. I've been reading about the applications of analog computation and their relation to limits of computation (see Neural Networks and Analog Computation: Beyond the Turing Limit [umass.edu] ). In fact, the future of computing may lie in some analog world [indiana.edu] . The computer program is math (see An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications [homepages.cwi.nl] ). Church's Thesis may prove to be the most valuable piece of 20th century mathematics. In fact, I've seen a few logicians that use LISP code to do mathematical work (like Gregory Chaitin).

Ultimately, I think you need to figure out what you really enjoy doing and find other people who are doing it.

learn to code (1)

TJmoney (754109) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385214)

Knowing how to code is a really important skill to have if you want to do anything in depth with computers, even if you dont want to do any real developing. If you can look at a program and grasp the general idea of how it works, it makes it a lot easier to use and troubleshoot. I myself am studying CS, and hope to get a coding job. I was required to write a compiler for one of my classes, and it helped my coding abilities a lot because I now understand the process of going from "if foo than bar() else foobar()" to machine language, and can write more optimized code because of it. This is analagous to being able to use software better because you know how it works. To really understand what you are working on, you need to understand what is going on underneath it.

So the bottom line is, if you cant handle coding, i'd suggest you change your career goals.

Then change majors (4, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385246)

My university had 3 different computer related majors. CS, IS, and MIS. CS was for people who understood math, theory, and coding. IS was for people who don't understand theory, have some math, and could code. MIS was for people who had no clue about math, theory, or coding. They usually became your boss.

-1: Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385249)

You could try VB.Net

Become IT analyst (1)

Geccie (730389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385263)

Become an IT analyst - No experience required.

Google Didiot

Groklaw Didiot

MIS (2, Interesting)

_aa_ (63092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385277)

What you want is "Management Information Systems [uis.edu] ". This is essentially computer science minus the coding. This course selection is geared more towards people who are to manage the people who make the software.

Of course you may consider simply obtaining technical certififcations in place of an actual degree, they can be just as fruitful on a resume if not moreso. MCSEs and CCNAs and A+s require almost no knowledge of programming.

even if ... (1)

sir_cello (634395) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385281)


Even if you don't want to code in your career, you should do some of it in your CS degree: otherwise you won't have a rounded appreciation of what it takes to do the coding, especially when you're interfacing with coders (you seem to want to take on a less-than hard-core style of CS career).

Sure, I'm a BEng and I write high level code, not assembler or microcode: yet I had to do a number of assember and microcode classes at university even though I knew I would never want to use the skills: the point is that I'm a better high level designer and coder because I understand what's around me, not just superficially, but from the hard lessons of doing it.

Life is too full of people that "think" they know how to do something without ever having to do it. The benefit of a university education is that you're supposed to have depth in what you do, and what's _around_ what you do. That depth best comes from some actual experience, not just from a few paragraphs in a text book. The world will be a better place because we'll all understand more about the landscape rather than our narrow focus.

Do you want to learn or get a piece of paper? (2, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385338)

"Practical", hands-on work is required to learn and understand things at any level.

You need to toil for a bit as a lower level undergraduate to give you the base knowledge that you'll need later. If you think that intro to Java is bad... just wait until you are a Junior and they have you code a project in a language that you've never heard of -- and expect it done in two weeks or so.

The lower level classes seperate the wheat from the chaff. I'll put it to you this way. My CSI 201 course (the first course for majors) was a lecture with 550 students in it.

Data structures had around 450.

Algorithims had about 200.

Senior classes had 40-50 max.

If you can't hack it, that's cool. But if you stick with the program, you'll find the higher level classes a heck of alot more interesting.

Management Potential? (1)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385467)

If you don't like coding you could always get a MBA and be the pointy haired boss ;)

If you think that is bad (1)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385484)

wait until you get into the real world and end up writing code that has to write code in another language. I've had to do that several times over the years.

And even more fun is writing SQL that produces control cards for utility runs. Oops, gotta do that this morning to generate the list of packages to free later this week.

Seriously, if you don't like programming (be it Java or some more friendly language), why are you in a CS course?

Be happy you didn't take Fortran as your intro language like I did. (Arithmatic ifs and 1 hour common exams in the auditorium, ah memories. The best memory is the dirty looks I got when I finished first out of 400+ students and walked out of those exams and still aced them). Damn, am I showing my age here?

English Studies w/o Excessive Writing? (1, Troll)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385502)

Posted by Cliff on 4:43 25th February, 2004
from the english-department-lite dept.
Peterus7 asks: "I'm a student at the University of Washington, and I was planning on majoring in English or Literature and Compositions until I took English, and I'm realizing that it's simply beyond me. I grew up with the language, and naturally I want to study a field that involves a lot of interaction between people and the language (mainly fiction writing), but the Intro to Story Structure I'm taking now is driving me over the edge. Any suggestions for a linguisticly intensive field that doesn't require ungodly amounts of writing, or perhaps any general methods for surviving english courses for new students?"

Computer Eng Tech (1)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385504)

At my school [neu.edu] we have the School of Engineering Technology [neu.edu] which is a more well rounded CS and CE learning experience. There is some coding, but there is also hardware, and theory with a dash of EE and networking. I left CS and went to it (Not because I didn't like coding, Calc kicked my tushie Frosh year), and it was quite an enjoyable experience. Some of my friends were also CS refugees and there were a few in the same boat as you, and they also did quite well in the environment, albeit with a little difficulty in the coding classes.

Good for you (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385517)

You found out you really don't like coding. Coding is like music or art; not everyone's talent lies in that direction. It's good that you realized this because it doesn't look like there will be many new coding jobs over the next decade unless you are in a developing country.

Career wise, I look at my company and we have plenty of coders, but what we really need is salesmen who understand technology. There is always work for people who can sell. The requirements would be a business degree with a minor in information technology (whatever they call the track that prepares you for an MIS career) and (THIS IS NOT A JOKE) you have to play golf. I am not making this up: we are seriously hampered by a lack of golfers in our company. In major consultancies, golf is almost a religious obligation.

That said, if sales is not your cup of tea, let me give you a number of job titles you might be interested in that don't involve much or any coding:

* Network/System Administrator

* Data Center Administrator

* Database Administrator (DBA)

* Database Analyst

* Systems Analyst

* Graphic Designer

* User Interface Designer

* Project Manager

* Geographic Information Systems Analyst

* Technical Writer

* Product Manager

this list goes on and on.

I would suggest the following. Look at the help wanted ads and make a list of the kinds of jobs being listed. Take that list, and the one I've provided above and do a little research on what those people do and what they need to know. Next, think of some company you might want to work with, call up the HR department and say that you are a student that is looking at career paths and you'd like to find out about the kinds of career preparation you need to do job X. Don't worry if you get blown off by some companies. For reasons that will become clear, the ones that rude and unhelpful are not the kinds you want to talk with anyways. With luck you may be able to get in for a meeting and talk to some people in HR or who actually do some of the kinds of jobs you are interested in.

You have two agendas: an overt and covert one. The overt agenda is as I have said above. The covert one is to meet people and build a network. There's a good chance that if you show the kind of initiative I'm suggesting you will land an internship or summer job, and eventually a permanent job offer. Also, you will begin to build a network.

If I had to make one suggestion to people starting their careers is that their most important resource they have is their list of friends and acquaintences. Cold calling looking for a job sucks, so I'm suggesting you want start working on getting past that part now. When you apply for a job, you have to jump through a series of hoops and you can be disqualified at any point for some lame reason without ever getting to the all important interview. But you can call a friend any time, and if he happens to be hiring or be friends with the person who is hiring, you're in. Ideally, you want to be in contact before the job is created so that it is specifically designed for you.

It may be the editors / environment... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385638)

I had a full load of upper level biochem/microbiology coursework and thought the 'intro to c' course would be cake. It nearly killed me. The problem was not the coding, but rather the editors and environments. I was routed into the labs to do my assignments, logged into a sun workstation for my first time ever, and given a keyboard cheat sheet to emacs as an editor... Thanks for all the help guys...

Rather then learn Unix shells and figure out vi/emacs - I did all my homework on using a DOS based C compiler that I used for, learned the zen of mounting a floppy and eject the bloody thing, and a command/script to strip the bloody ^M's off. It would not surprise me to see they sent you off to a Unix lab. It is Java - you don't even have to recompile your source code if you build your classes on a machine/editor you are comfortable with.

Of course, if the coding is really the source of your problems - you are boned. Either the prof is nasty or you should have done more prep work before taking the class.

Weeding Out Period (1)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385698)

There is usually a 2 year weeding out period in CS degree programs. It's not so much an education as a filter. Additionally [IMHO] Java is a really poor choice for an introduction to programming. Among those ubiquitous programmers who value style and 'correctness' above getting the job done, Java offers a certain 'elegance.' With experience in many other languages I still find Java tedious to use.

On the flip side, if you are not nourished by long hours in the dull glow of a crt; if you don't find algorhythms sexy, if you'ld rather clock out and have a life instead of debugging through the night until it works: then this might not be the career for you!

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