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Old 02-01-2004, 08:16 PM   #1
FuzzyNips
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Default Computer Science Major: Need some advice for the future

Right now I am in my second semester of my freshman year here at Northern Illinois University. I am a pre-Computer Science major as of right now but need some help regarding my future. I have a passion for computers and have taken a couple computer programming classes and enjoyed them thoroughly. Last year in high school I took an AP Computer Science class (C++) and my Junior year I took classes in QBASIC and VBasic. Right now I'm taking a class that is going well. I have read on here and have heard from others that a lot of jobs in this field are being outsourced to India or other places? My sister told me that you have to have really good credentials and knowledge to get a job. She told me, based on her boyfriend's advice (who is about to graduate as an Electrical Engineer) that I should consider taking some summer classes in Networking or something like that? I wanted to minor in Networking but they don't offer it here so I was considering going to a community college each summer over the next 4 years or so to help me out and improve my odds of getting a job.

Can anyone help me out and give me any advice or "insider's knowledge" into what I should consider? I'm by no means intending for someone to plan my life for me but I would like to hear some opinions and I know many of you are enjoying your job and are very successful at what you do.

Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:23 PM   #2
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go into economics at ECC or harper
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:37 PM   #3
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If you want a engr job that can't be exported to India or China. Try to get work in the Defense Industry.

In your case, what you would need is a CS, Math, or EE degree, with experince in network security or something like that.
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Old 02-01-2004, 09:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by dmpi
If you want a engr job that can't be exported to India or China. Try to get work in the Defense Industry.

In your case, what you would need is a CS, Math, or EE degree, with experince in network security or something like that.
Wow, I was just going to start a post asking about this. Not to hi-jack or anything, but a local school here in Michigan just began offering Network Security as a Major and was going to ask if this would be better to go after than a general CS degree. The Network Security degree seems much less math/science/programming intensive which is a good thing for me so I've really been thinking hard about making the switch. Any other thoughts?
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Old 02-01-2004, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by KKoepp31
Wow, I was just going to start a post asking about this. Not to hi-jack or anything, but a local school here in Michigan just began offering Network Security as a Major and was going to ask if this would be better to go after than a general CS degree. The Network Security degree seems much less math/science/programming intensive which is a good thing for me so I've really been thinking hard about making the switch. Any other thoughts?
I just used network security as a example jobs needed by Defense Companies, because the orignal poster was intersted in networks.
IMHO, I think its better to get a general CS degree + some experince in network security than a degree in Network Security, because I feel that having a degree in Network Security is over specializing and you will limit the jobs avalible to you. Also the bigger companies have rules on which Schools/degrees they can hire. These lists are slow to change. So they may not include Specialized Degrees from smaller schools.
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Old 02-02-2004, 12:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by KKoepp31
Wow, I was just going to start a post asking about this. Not to hi-jack or anything, but a local school here in Michigan just began offering Network Security as a Major and was going to ask if this would be better to go after than a general CS degree. The Network Security degree seems much less math/science/programming intensive which is a good thing for me so I've really been thinking hard about making the switch. Any other thoughts?
great now the infosec field is going to get saturated with a bunch of fresh out of school no experience college grads..

*sigh*

your best bet honestly is to do what you love, if you cant do something close to it. The job market for security jobs is EVEN tighter then it is for comp sci jobs. (it requires much more then a security based degree, infosec is all about trust, and you only gain it by having experience to back up major certs and degrees) The only way you can break into a decent security job is to at least have a masters in infosec or IA. Or else you will be watching ids logs for 8 years until you gain nuff seniority to move up the ladder.
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Old 02-02-2004, 01:37 AM   #7
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I think it's too early now to say what the job market will be like in a few years. You really should just study what you're interested in - if you study something with the expectation that it's going to increase your chances of getting a job, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

I think it's good that you're studying CS - you obviously like it and have liked it for quite awhile. Don't worry about programming jobs being outsourced to India - there's a lot more to CS than just programming, and if since you actually like the field, you might find yourself in a research career - which might be harder to outsource.

If you like or have an interest in networking, go ahead and take networking courses. Just don't take the courses expecting to get anything out of them except a better understanding of networking.

Economic conditions change all the time - your passions and interests will always remain in some form though. Think long term - don't think about getting a job, think about your career, which is ultimately going to be a large part of your life. You don't want to find yourself in a day job where all you look forward to is your paychecks and weekends.
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Old 02-02-2004, 02:03 AM   #8
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All of you that have responded are perfect examples of why I posted this thread here. I'm definitely going to stick with getting my CS degree since that seems to be something I have a passion for. I do have one question, the school I'm going to offers 3 different CS degrees. Here are the descriptions and if anyone could tell me if they think one would be more helpful over the other? (They're all pretty similar but have some minor differences):

GENERAL Computer Science: The GENERAL program calls for the completion of at least four programming languages and seven courses in computer science.

APPLIED Computer Science: The APPLIED program requires the completion of four programming languages, six courses in computer science and course work in accountancy, finance, management or marketing.

THEORETICAL Computer Science: The THEORETICAL program combines the study of programming languages and computer science with a set of courses in applied mathematics and statistics. In addition to its undergraduate programs, the department offers a graduate program leading to the degree Master of Science which emphasizes both theory and applications in the areas of systems programming, data base management, teleprocessing, and systems analysis.

Now I was thinking of going for the Applied because it's middle of the road difficulty wise and will let me take a few different courses than just CS. The theoretical sounds the hardest especially if I went for the Master of Science (I won't do). Does anyone know if me picking the harder ones compared to just General will do me any good when it comes to finding a job in the field? Or are they mostly just self-benefit type things?
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Old 02-02-2004, 02:10 AM   #9
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Advice: Get a degree in something else, that is if you ever want to find a job.
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Old 02-02-2004, 02:22 AM   #10
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..............

Last edited by jr34596; 11-09-2010 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 02-02-2004, 02:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by FuzzyNips
All of you that have responded are perfect examples of why I posted this thread here. I'm definitely going to stick with getting my CS degree since that seems to be something I have a passion for. I do have one question, the school I'm going to offers 3 different CS degrees. Here are the descriptions and if anyone could tell me if they think one would be more helpful over the other? (They're all pretty similar but have some minor differences):

GENERAL Computer Science: The GENERAL program calls for the completion of at least four programming languages and seven courses in computer science.

APPLIED Computer Science: The APPLIED program requires the completion of four programming languages, six courses in computer science and course work in accountancy, finance, management or marketing.

THEORETICAL Computer Science: The THEORETICAL program combines the study of programming languages and computer science with a set of courses in applied mathematics and statistics. In addition to its undergraduate programs, the department offers a graduate program leading to the degree Master of Science which emphasizes both theory and applications in the areas of systems programming, data base management, teleprocessing, and systems analysis.

Now I was thinking of going for the Applied because it's middle of the road difficulty wise and will let me take a few different courses than just CS. The theoretical sounds the hardest especially if I went for the Master of Science (I won't do). Does anyone know if me picking the harder ones compared to just General will do me any good when it comes to finding a job in the field? Or are they mostly just self-benefit type things?
It looks like General gives you the most flexibility, which can be good and bad thing. If you'd end up taking courses in accountancy, finance, management or marketing to fill electives in the General degree, then Applied would be better. Similarly, if you end up taking courses in math or stats to fill electives in the General degree, then why not take the Theoretical one? I don't think General is necessarily the easiest, depending on what other courses you take. From an employability point of view, the Applied and Theoretical degrees probably take less explanation to an interviewer than a General one. But don't let that stop you from choosing the one that best fits your needs. I would advise thinking about what courses you would take in a General degree, if it ends up being slanted towards Applied or Theoretical, then pick the appropriate one.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:33 AM   #12
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From just leaving the Computer Science Industy here is what worked for me. Things that allowed me to get some great raises, have a lot of pull of when I wanted to work and why they didn't want me to leave.

1. Learn the basics and well, like C, understand that this kind fo learning can be applied to any language you learn in the future.
2. Learn how to program in unix and windows well, mainly UNIX!!! The world leaders use linux and unix now crappy windows
3. Learn about security in programming, it is a big big big thing!!!
4. Learn something else along with your programming, such as website design, this helped me show I have mulitple skills.
5. Databasing, on Unix and Windows and incorporate that into website development along with creating programs to communicate with that database that works internally within the company and outside. Ideally this is learning about netowrking and programming.

Hope that helps. I could go on forever of what worked for me. Though that was me, you have your own life and thinsg change fast in the world. Be ready for anything and everything when you get out. Once you are out take on as mucha s you can, than start focusing on one thing you like, and do it.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:41 AM   #13
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You can forget about getting the defense department jobs unless you already have a clearance as almost everyone demands that you have an existing clearance before they will even consider you. Some people have taken their degree into the military in order to get a clearance and line up a job with a company while they are in. Its nice when you can leave the military one day and show up at the very same office the next day making close to six digits as a civilian doing the same job.

Also consider things like Unix, Linux, Solaris, Cisco. I've only been asked about Windows products once and that was for a job that didn't even require any real knowledge of Windows.
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:42 AM   #14
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Heh heh....I majored in computer science (graduated in '99) and I've got a job with a large company as a Java programmer. This is my second job, first company went under. This company is starting to outsource a bunch of its jobs. The Gartner Group (an industry research company) says that companies should only outsource about 40% of their programming workforce. SO, there should still be some jobs here, but it's a matter of finding an open one.

The market does seem to be turning around little by little. I didn't take the time to read all the responses, but things I would focus on are:
Java
Database design/SQL
System analysis and design (going from the specs for a system to the design of the programs)

You could also look into network administration/security if that interests you.

If you stay in the field, try and make as many contacts as possible. Try to find (through your school) people who have graduated already and are working in the field. Most graduates are happy to try and help out people from their school.
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:09 AM   #15
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If you do infosec I'd do it as a graduate program after you get a real job

IMHO the important thing is to never just do what your teachers tell you to do. Install stuff, fiddle with stuff, break stuff, all on your own time. If you actually enjoy the geekery your life will be happier. If you don't enjoy it and you just want a high paying job, switch majors

I would like to do infosec some day, but I have a solid job doing Java stuff right now and haven't really been inspired to look elsewhere.

johh
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