How much is too much?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Ronin Distance, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    This particular question will hopefully address two of the major "roadblocks" in my path towards distance education. The title of the post makes reference to something that has been bothering me for quite a while. Unlike what you may be thinking, I'm not talking about number of degrees, but rather, number of classes.

    But first, a little history.

    I'm looking for a mathematical career. While not my favorite of subjects (that would be geography), it is indeed, my goal. Why? I got my reasons. Nothing weird or mysterious, just something I want to do. The thing is, pure mathematics, while a worthy endeavor, is not something I particularly enjoy. Or rather, it's not something I find value in.

    Which leaves Computer Science.

    "The application of mathematics to the art of computing", as a professor once told me. Now that's a something I can get behind. But here lies the problem. As someone with a multitude of interests, who also likes to keep things simple, the university that would benefit me the most in terms of cost, location, and access to resources and information, also features one very interesting situation. A strong curriculum.

    Perhaps, too strong.

    With nearly 25 classes in Computer Science alone (which would mean taking about 3 classes per semester), plus 5 to 8 more in Science requirements, along with Electives and General Studies, I wonder if this isn't overkill. I mean, sure, I want to learn. Just not sure if this much. Can someone with a bit of experience in Computer Science and distance learning tell me their opinion about this scenario? I know it's a long read, but any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2008
  2. leo

    leo Member

    The only advice I can give is to study something that you are really interested in. Why a career in mathematics if you don´t enjoy it?
  3. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    If geography was my favorite subject, I would have done my undergraduate work in something related to geography.

    Just a thought...
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi Ronin - Maybe I'm not understanding the question/complaint. Most undergrad degrees are 120 credits (plus or minus) and those credits need to be distributed in a pretty specific way (credits within your major area, general ed credits, etc.) Since you didn't name the school in question it's really hard for anyone to look at it and say if their requirements are outside the normal bounds. US degrees tend to focus on producing a "well rounded" graduate and so there's lots of non-major credits required. If this is the core of your complaint then you might explore the prospect of earning a British style degree (Britain, Australia, South Africa).

    Maybe this would be of interest
  5. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    I would like to honor a request someone important to me once made.

    Me too. I still plan to pursue it, but more as a hobby or perhaps a second degree.

    Hey, Kizmet. Like I said, this degree is pretty hardcore. Nothing "well rounded" about it. However, the school has some major advantages; otherwise, I wouldn't even consider it. To give you (and anyone else who wants to respond) an idea, here's a list of the "core" courses:

    -Intro to Computer Science
    -Programming Logic
    -Discrete Structures
    -Visual Programming
    -Object-Oriented Programming
    -Operating Systems
    -Software Engineering
    -Data Structures
    -Computer Architecture
    -Assembly Language
    -Intro to Databases
    -Intro to Networks
    -Systems Analysis and Design
    -Systems Development
    -Computer Security
    -Database Administration
    -Computing Theory
    -Capstone Project

    And that's not counting the Science courses. :eek:

    Will take a look at those British-style degrees. May I ask what's the difference between the British and American styles of education? Oh, and before I forget, thanks for all the help and the answers, guys. :D
  6. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    So you have no actual interest in CS, but since you don't want to pursue a degree in math, you intend on pursuing a degree which has a strong math foundation? While it is amicable to honor a request someone important once made to you, you don't seem to be looking at this venture from a proper perspective. You're doing this for someone else, not yourself - therein lies the problem. Any education sought has to be, first and foremost, for you, the learner.

    Also, it seems that you have a school in mind, as such please provide a link so that we can peruse it and comment on its curriculum.
  7. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    You've hit the nail right in the head. :eek:

    However, while it is true that my main interests don't lie in Computer Science, many areas closely related to it (web design, journalism, information research, bioinformatics, geographic information systems, etc.) do strike my fancy. So, even though it may not be my first choice, it does serve it's purpose. And while in all honesty, I'd rather be a geographer and explore this beautiful world; in this Age of Information, Computer Science is not a bad "second choice".
  8. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    So what is your main interest? What do you want to get into? A specific programming area (you mentioned geographics) ?
  9. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    Quick answer, I'm a bit sleepy. In one word; information. The very nature of it and the possibilities that this topic brings truly excite me. My goal is to get a good technical education at the undergraduate level, and follow with graduate studies into the more theoretical aspects of information, perhaps focusing on information theory. At one point, I would like to completely disregard the technology and focus entirely on the theory; the way it affects our daily lives, specially, when it comes to communication. That is why I want a degree that is more well-rounded and allows for more freedom when it comes to the curriculum.
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  11. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    This is exactly the kind of program I was looking for. Thanks for pointing it out, Kizmet. :)
  12. Daniel Luechtefeld

    Daniel Luechtefeld New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2008
  13. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

  14. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    Sorry to bring back an old thread, but this question is in my mind once again. Hopefully, it will get some new answers. Thanks in advance.
  15. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    The curriculum looks very similar to a traditional bachelor degree in computer science. I compared the courses in my BCS to those listed above and of the various streams offered at the school where I earned the degree every course is covered. The only courses not required in the stream I followed are Introduction to Networks and Computer Security and Visual Programming. However, unless you really have a passion to study these subjects I expect you will not successfully complete the endeavour. Perhaps an associate degree in computer science should be the first step to test the waters and later, if you really enjoy the computer science courses, transfer into a 4-year bachelor degree in computer science at the school you have in mind.
  16. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    That's probably because it is, only all the courses are available online. It's pretty hardcore, probably one of the most difficult degrees back home; "back home" being the key words. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't even consider it. Even a Physics or Chemistry degree looks easier by comparison. However, since most of my family is still there and I visit a few times each year, it's a major plus. The satellite campus a few miles from here is not bad either. And the tuition is perfect. It's just darn hard. :eek:

    Thanks. If I could ask; I'm not exactly smart, but I'm not dumb either. Can someone with zero experience outside of HTML (back when I was in college, and my mind was much fresher, I was able to learn most of the basics in half a day) learn this stuff in an online environment, or am I better off choosing an "easier" degree?

    My thought process regarding Computer Science is perhaps a little unrealistic, and most of what I "know" and like is based on Hollywood (shows like 24, NCIS, NUMB3RS, MI-5, etc). With that in mind, I could say that the only thing I truly like about CS is "information". Finding it. Organizing it. Protecting it. It just seems like an exciting field. However, my interests are not really technical. I would probably be more suited for the information/library science/telecommunications field. Of course, that's grad school, which brings us to my current problem. Choosing a degree that would transition well into this increasingly technical world, while also keeping things "simple". Yeah, I know. :confused:

    That's some good advice. The uni I'm considering offers an AS in Computer Science, so perhaps, that would be the best way to go. Thanks for taking the time to answer my query. :)
  17. lovetheduns

    lovetheduns New Member

    Why not look at an Information Systems degree?

    I could not imagine even trying to pursue a bachelors in computer science if you didn't really love that coursework.

    I can't imagine many would do an incredible job with only a vague interest in the subject-- the coursework IS grueling for most folks.
  18. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    Instead of making a new thread, I decided to simply add a few questions to this one. It's less messy that way. :p

    For many months now, I've been trying to get some "distance" (pun intended :rolleyes:) between me and this major, but to no avail; it seems to always comes back to haunt me. So, I'm thinking of giving it a try, see what happens. There are just a couple of things I hope you guys can clear up for me:

    1. Can Computer Science be a "desert island" major? In other words, do the skills you adquire serve you well, even in the most remote of settings, where the closest thing to a computer is an abacus? Feel free to elaborate.

    2. Beyond a master's degree in Computer Science, what are some other options that are available (via distance education) for the CompSci graduate?

    3. A "repeat" question. Can someone with zero experience outside of HTML learn this stuff in an online environment, or am I better off choosing an "easier" degree?

    4. I once heard someone in this forum mention that Computer Science is probably one of the best majors for those interested in Law School, due to it's wonderful ability to teach you to think logically. I have also read there is very little difference between a well-written legal argument and a computer program. Is this true? :confused:

    Finally, I have this really warped image of education as a defining factor in your life, deciding everything, from your friends, to your car, all the way to your hobbies? :eek: Does a degree in Computer Science mean you have to be a "techie", drooling over the latest piece of electronic gadgetry (nothing wrong with that, I do it myself :D), or after all those years of sacrifice, learning the nuances of the digital world, can you also seek a life of peace and solitude, away from the warm glow of your computer monitor, if so desired? This last question, I know, seems a bit stupid, even philosophical, but it's been a major roadblock for me? Hopefully, you guys can provide some guidance for this lost, little ronin. Thanks in advance. :)
  19. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Ah, leave the mess on the floor and let the janitor sweep and mop. Just be sure to leave an envelope with their name on it.

    Yes. The skills developed during the study of computer science can serve the student in areas and careers apart from the practice of computer science and information technology. These are normally referred to as transferable skills. However, there is no guarantee the student will successfully acquire these transferable skills because they are not taught so much as distilled over the years.

    Forensics. Information Assurance. Information Technology. Law. Mathematics. Natural Sciences. Teaching.

    Yes, someone with little more than HTML "programming" can learn the concepts taught in the typical computer science curriculum. Whether computer science or a so-called "easier" degree is more appropriate for an individual is a question only that person can answer for themselves. I have known several computer science graduate students who after completing the MS(CS) decided to subsequently pursue a graduate degree in environmental science.

    I would disagree that computer science teaches the student to think logically in an of itself. That particular skill can only be learned with practice though the analysis skills taught in some computer science courses do help towards that end. Philosophy, in my opinion, would be the ideal pre-law subject in which to earn a degree for the simple reason that the subject demands critical thinking and concise writing to convey one's message. Having read a few philosophy textbooks I wish the authors had been more concise and not taken 5 pages to say there is good and evil in the world. As for the assumption there is very little difference between a well-written legal argument and a computer program I highly recommend you read a few judicial rulings and compare those to the BASIC source code for Hangman.

    To quote Mr. T., "Pity the fool." :D

    To the first part of the question, the answer is no. As to the second part of the question, after all those years sacrificing you most definitely will want to escape to a place of peace and solitude unless you have already suffered a mental breakdown. That warm glow is actually the heat from the burning pile of computer systems that you set alight in your cubicle.
  20. Pugman

    Pugman New Member

    If you're considering Datamining and are interested in 'easing into it' - you may want to also consider this program:

    It focuses on the user-friendly SQL Server Data Mining Platform and Windows rather than SPSS and Unix command-line...and is likely transferable to their BS program.


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