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Computer Science Degree - Worth it?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nitrojan, 18 Sep 2009.

  1. Nitrojan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 12 Jan 2008

    Posts: 2,117

    Right, firstly before everyone says how I 'should do what I am interested in', I am interested in and have been interested in computers for some while now (obviously, or I wouldn't be here!). Mainly web design and development however. I briefly looked into these as a degree choice however after a few people telling me that this is not a good career to go into due to the high competition and low pay I have decided to choose otherwise.

    I am wondering if anyone here could advise me on whether computer science is a good degree or not to take if I'm mainly looking for something that will open many doors (don't want something too specific that will really limit my career path). Also, anyone that has done a computer science degree, what sort of job have you now got as a result? Sorry for all the questions but i'm just trying to find out at this stage whether or not I should maybe change my plans and study something else broadly related to computers. :p

    I always told myself that I didn't want to sit at a desk all day, that I want to be active and obviously.. earn good money however I can't see this being the case in computing! :D

    Anyway.. Due to me not having a maths A level, I am quite restricted to the universities that I can attend and at the moment I am looking at Nottingham, East Anglia, Hull, Leicester and Coventry - has anyone attended these universities either to do a different course or to do something computing based and were they a good choice? I am looking for a university preferably that is quite modern (obviously don't want to be using old old tech!) however I know that being picky about the tech isn't a good starting point when choosing a uni :D

    So yeah.. in a nutshell, I am wondering if anyone can recommend any good courses/universities and let me know their views on both a CS course in general and post university career prospects.

    EDIT: I have been told that database management and such is a good job with good pay however is quite boring! Anyone know anything about this? lol Infact, my computing tutor advised this!

    Cheers!
     
  2. platypus

    Caporegime

    Joined: 25 Jul 2003

    Posts: 39,073

    Location: Rhône-Alpes+Cambridge

    Manchester is a good university for CS.
     
  3. apeZ

    Mobster

    Joined: 22 Sep 2008

    Posts: 4,302

    Location: Kent, England

    Have skim read your post. From what I know, CS has lots of jobs opportunities; so with a degree you shouldn't struggle to find one.

    As for opening many doors, I don't know. But you can work in a variety of computer-related areas.
     
  4. JAzz

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,112

    You might want to try a joint degree if you are looking to keep your doors open. Something like Comp Sci w/ management for example. Did Comp Sci myself and most of my good mates at uni went on to work in fields which have nothing to do with Computing.
     
  5. Nitrojan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 12 Jan 2008

    Posts: 2,117

    Requires maths :(
     
  6. InvaderGIR

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,615

    Location: Bristol

    Some people love it, my ex did...odd girl. I on the other hand hate it and think it's extremely boring.

    I'm currently doing what is essentially CS at Bournemouth and will be starting my final year in the next few weeks.

    The way it's run at Bournemouth you have the first two years with University chosen subjects to give you a good overall view of everything, whilst also having specialist knowledge too, but then final year you choose 3 topics you want to specialise in.

    When I went to uni I wanted to be a something like a Techie, but couldn't get a job as one without experience or a degree. Now I've studied things I've chosen to go down the 'programmer' route and specialise in application development. :)
     
  7. gord

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2003

    Posts: 19,331

    Location: Midlands

    Southampton is really where its at.
     
  8. purexxevil

    Gangster

    Joined: 24 Nov 2008

    Posts: 321

    Location: North West UK

    Well I have a house in Norwich, so I know about UEA as a place, not so much the course, (seems nice - very modern build, some funny architecture) and my boyfriend is at Hull taking Computer Science with Games Dev atm (going into 3rd year).
    He loves his course, and is really enjoying it, but there are lots of people on the course, and so I would definitely agree with people saying that it highly competitive.

    I assume from your earlier post you didn't take Maths A level?
    Because I think York have quite a nice course, but I think theirs requires the maths too.
     
  9. Voltar

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Oct 2004

    Posts: 5,486

    Location: London, NW1

    CS degree: do it.

    UCL has a really good course I'm told.
     
  10. InvaderGIR

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,615

    Location: Bristol

    He'll need maths to get in there, or at least many As. :(
     
  11. platypus

    Caporegime

    Joined: 25 Jul 2003

    Posts: 39,073

    Location: Rhône-Alpes+Cambridge

    As would most decent CS courses :/. Sorry, I didn't read your op fully.
     
  12. manic_man

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,954

    Location: Greater Manchester

    CS is certainly the best degree path for most people wanting to do "something" in computing in my opinion.

    It's more generic nature means some people find some of it quite dull, however it nearly always makes for a far more rounded individual academically than the specialised courses smaller universities are offering.

    It also has the advantage that smaller universities tend to design their CS course around the successful models set by the larger universities, so the courses are just better put together generally. They also have less stigma attached to them, so potential employers look on them as being "proper" courses rather than a "hokey basket weaving course".

    And just for the record, yes Manchester requires Maths A Level for all its CS courses, there is quite a strong attachment to formal maths within the first few years of the undergrad course. I had the same problem myself (struggled with maths at A level for reasons that now escape me) hence I went to Stafford to do my UG degree!
     
    Last edited: 18 Sep 2009
  13. OzyOly

    Mobster

    Joined: 5 Feb 2006

    Posts: 3,393

    Location: 15,000ft.

    Hmmm. York is good, it's where I do my ComSci degree. It was the 4th best in the country (departmental) when I applied in 2007, with only Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial beating it.
    It's slipped a little bit now, but it will have a brand new department in 2010 which should bump it back up to a top 5.

    http://www.cs.york.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses.htm

    They do offer a foundation year, so you might be able to take that first, with you not having A-level maths. ;)
     
  14. Voltar

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Oct 2004

    Posts: 5,486

    Location: London, NW1

    Hang on, don't most CS courses need maths? Thought it was a large part of it?
     
  15. Dugganator

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 May 2006

    Posts: 1,956

    Completely depends on what you’re after. I can’t speak about CS at Uni because i never went. I was looking at going but I landed a level 1 support role aged 19 and from there have worked my way up from there I’m now in a 3rd line DC role. The one thing I will say if your looking to go into support CS will only open doors to big companies the likes of Microsoft,Ibm etc(they have high standards). All the guys I started with had BSc in CS and all started at the same level because they didn’t have experience.

    That’s a massive factor to take onboard with the recession of doom employers are currently looking more for people that can do the job basically hit the floor running not require lots of training. A lot of people seem to think that uni counts as experience but honestly it really doesn’t. The recession hopefully would be over by the time you finish if you look to go though but there is always the risk it isn’t.

    I wish I went to uni for the experience but I'm also glad I didn’t because I have no uni debt, have a mortgage when I was 21.

    Both sides have there benefit so I wouldn’t take my one sided view just have a long think about what you want from doing it and what you would be looking to go into afterwards.

    best of luck
     
  16. InvaderGIR

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,615

    Location: Bristol

    Mine was 'Computing' when I signed up to it, but it's basically CS, although you don't need the maths to get in. You still have to do maths on the course though. :)
     
  17. manic_man

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,954

    Location: Greater Manchester

    Some, like Stafford, treat it as a subject they can teach as long as you have a decent basis with GCSE maths.

    I learnt the stuff i failed at during my A Levels in the first year at Stafford. While places like Manchester go over it briefly and then study more advanced stuff in the first year. The more advanced stuff was available st Stafford but not mandatory.

    Smaller universities saw a chance to get a share of potentially good CS students that other universities were rejecting. Personally I was pretty grateful as it gave me the second chance messing up my maths A Level previousely wouldn't have allowed me.
     
  18. Volcs

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Nov 2004

    Posts: 2,498

    Location: Angel

    I did CS at Nottingham graduating in 2005 and enjoyed it (both the course and the city). Feel free to fire any questions my way.
     
  19. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,900

    UEA is pretty decent for Comp Sci. Graduated this year and going back in 2 weeks to start my PhD there.

    They bring you up to speed quite well in terms of Maths, and have quite a good choice of units when it comes to web/database systems if that's what you're leaning towards, but can also mix those up with the more theoretical units.

    Can't really say how well it's got me in terms of jobs as I'm continuing on there, but out of the people I know who have graduated, the ones that started looking early haven't really had a problem getting good jobs, a few people not far off ~£30k a year after graduating last year & now doing various consultancy work.

    In terms of the course I thought it was all very interesting, though that will vary from person to person; some people hated it, but I think this was more down to a lack of commitment to the subject rather than the University. Hating programming isn't a good way to start a Computer Science degree.
     
  20. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,900

    ^ Exactly. For various reasons I messed up my AS Level Maths at 6th Form then breezed through the equivalent Maths at University so was lucky to not require the A-Level in the first place :)