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lebron letchev

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Degree in Computer Science or not?


I never tire of asking me: To be a good programmer, what is the relevance of getting a degree in computer science? And a good programmer has in mind all the commands of a programming language, like PHP or JAVA? The oldest languages (MSDOS) had less than 200 commands and functions, currently they must have more than 1000

I would like to hearing from you

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David Johnson, CD
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Programming and having a Degree in Computer Science only have a little in common. Way back in the day my last project was creating a compiler for a fictional language  using ibm/360 assembler (even though we had an ibm/370)

Most programmers these days work with high level languages and don't have to worry about the computer architecture and cpu architecture i.e. registers, ALU part of the CPU and so forth.

Computer science is very heavy on math (usually part of the Math Department)
the key is to explore and never end
if you want do a part with school
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Dr. Klahn


If you are going to program in a commercial environment then a CS degree doesn't have much value.  In CS you'll learn algorithms and sort methods and B-trees and all sorts of interesting things ... which are now available as canned routines and no understanding of the internals is required.

If you intend to go into scientific programming as a career then a CS degree may have some value, but only if it is taken in connection with a degree in a hard science.

That said, a CS degree is a door opener in some situations -- but nowhere near as much as "I know four languages and have three years of development experience in what you're asking for."
You asked, "To be a good programmer, what is the relevance of getting a degree in computer science?"

To me, zero value.

Everything I learned came from reading books, reading code (I use to be able to have the majority of X11 + Motif memorized), writing code, watching effect of different coding approaches using system resource (load) testing tools.

I suggest you start with your target goal in mind. If that's money, than focus on LAMP Stack tech... server performance... as the field of people understanding this type of tech is small + the body of knowledge (and time to learn) is similar to learning a few languages.

Then study business... marketing... communication... as your income will be far more with 100s to 1000s of clients, than working for one company.

Trick: Speak at local Meetup groups about topics related to skills you require + you'll learn business + marketing + communications all at once.
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Thank you so much for all replies. I agree with yours 100%.
@David makes a good point in that it is your time that's valuable and how you use it when it comes to learning.  

I wouldn't say that a CS degree has zero value per se when it comes to programming, for instance you learn constructs of how language works and comes together along with all the B-tree stuff etc mentioned earlier.  Rather that your time would be better spent doing all the things David has suggested as well as taking a one off course here and there in something like "Languages and Logic" and Boolean Algebra, which are both courses offered in CS that are relevant to programming.

I've seen a lot of programmers that "only know one programming language".  As a true programmer, you should be able to look at and understand any programming language, which comes from understanding the first principles of programming.

It takes a lot of discipline and time consuming to go down the self-taught route and you may find you need to have that structured environment (such as a computer science degree) to shortcut what you need to know.

And if you were to go down the study route, personally, I would consider looking at Computer Engineering rather than Computer Science, it's more hands on and practical working with real world problems.
100% agreed with @David
Just to add: IMO, a degree in CS will influence the boarding salary! Regarding all the other aspects, I totally agree with all the other experts from above ;-)
I think it would be interesting to know how many of the responders, who feel that a computer science degree has zero value as a programmer,  have a computer science degree.
Thank you again

Reason behind my question: Where I live - 300m from my home - there is an university with 4 courses in the area of computing: Computer Science (the longest and very hard), Computer Engineering (hardest), Information System (easy) and what has the most beautiful and glamorous name: APPLIED MATHEMATICS TO SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING. I believe that Geometry and Calcul (I II III) are most easy than logic programming! Personally, I love play to programming, I am not a professional programmer that in some minutes writes a program, i need days...

I appreciate the answers and they reinforce what I believe to be the course that meets my goals Applied Mathematics, which includes a bit of mathematics, statistics and computation.

Best to start with your income target + work backward.

If your target is say... $100/hour, then you'll require an equal balance of tech expertise + marketing expertise.

Once you start pushing the $10K/month levels, scales begin tipping toward marketing + communications...

Once you start pushing the $25K/month levels, scales tip heavily into communications... how well you can convey complex topics + how you choose to speak to people...

Hint: When speaking to people, work on your ability to speak with many people at once.

Now with all the elearning plateform we can learn much faster and learn from home.
Learning by doing thing is the best way to my opinion.
Experience have more value than the degree itself, so more experience you have more chance you get a good job.

Everything, in any subject that you will learn have a value and it is always a plus....
You can focus on what you want to do, then practice every days...

Some studies says that 10k hours is what is required to be a master of something.
I kind of disagree on one line David. I think marketing + communications ... is a game changer from day one. If you can communicate well... you don't even have to be a good programmer to crack entry to mid level. Beyond that, lot of factors will influence how far you can go.
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Dr. Klahn

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I appreciate the answers and they reinforce what I believe to be the course that meets my goals applied mathematics and scientific computing

thank you for all the answers