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Author Topic: All you CS majors  (Read 3848 times)

Kanno

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All you CS majors
« on: 28 Jun 2005, 08:02 »

I'm planning on majoring in it too.  How much programming experience do you need before you start CS courses?  I'm just getting all my math courses done, and want to be prepared.

Do they start you from scratch, or are you expected to know anything?  I know bare minimum programming, if that.  I can make "guess the number games" in c++ and various "hello world" programs.  

I also run on a mac, but I'm expecting to at least be able to use the unix side of things (another thing I need a refresher on) to be able to get along in class.

So, basically..  what's CS like?
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Samari

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All you CS majors
« Reply #1 on: 28 Jun 2005, 08:20 »

It's really dependant on what school you go to.  Some start you off making you go through courses to learn specific languages while others might not even offer (m)any programming courses.  In the early/intro courses they'll probably do quick tutorials on the languages being used and offer extra help outside of class.  I know at Notre Dame the mentality is "once you know how to program you can pick any language up in about 30 minutes."  Every school is different though.
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jhocking

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All you CS majors
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jun 2005, 08:33 »

At Carnegie Mellon you aren't (or at least weren't, when I was there a few years ago) expected to know programming coming in, but you are expected to learn fast.  There's a required intro programming class that is a semester of learning C++ from scratch, and then after that you're pretty much expected to learn programming on your own.  To even get into CS requires being good at all your highschool classes, especially math, so if you take a programming class in highschool you better do well in it (and you can probably skip the intro programming class later,) but there is no programming pre-requisite.

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All you CS majors
« Reply #3 on: 29 Jun 2005, 00:14 »

same with my course.  they start you out with the bare basics and build from there.  i mean, what do they expect?  you're coming into it from highschool, so you really shoudln't have that much experience anyways.
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torg

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All you CS majors
« Reply #4 on: 29 Jun 2005, 01:37 »

well... when i started, we only were told the theories: math, theory of software design, theory of programming languages (no actual language), hardware basics and so on.  we were supposed to learn an actual programming language by ourselves and nobody told us things like "you solve that problem in that way in your language". most of the time the theory was completely disconnected from the things you actually do with a computer.
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crazybritishsteve

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All you CS majors
« Reply #5 on: 29 Jun 2005, 01:42 »

Where i went it was 'You don't need to have experience. If you don't have any experience, your going to have to work harder, but you don't need experience.'

It's not essential to have any experience. Just don't expect to be top of the class. Unless you're naturally brilliant, of course.
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« Reply #6 on: 29 Jun 2005, 05:48 »

the concept not being taught an actual language is rather weird.  in my course we used Pascal as an introductory language (which later changed to modula2) when learning the basics of programming, then ansi c for more programming theory, graphics programming and systems programming.  then we switched to COBOL for a subject that i forget about, used Prolog in an AI subject, SR in some other subject, Java in an interweb programming subject, Visual Basic for a subject that was basically about GUIs and a cut-back version of Assembly in a systems architecture subject.

we were also taught the basics of SQL for a database subject, and i think we used Miranda at one point, too.  i can't remember.  point is that they tried to give us a well-rounded look at a bunch of different kinds of programming languages.
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victor_smithe

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All you CS majors
« Reply #7 on: 29 Jun 2005, 13:05 »

Quote from: crazybritishsteve
Where i went it was 'You don't need to have experience. If you don't have any experience, your going to have to work harder, but you don't need experience.'

It's not essential to have any experience. Just don't expect to be top of the class. Unless you're naturally brilliant, of course.

This sounds like how it is at the University of Waterloo too.
I think they did have an extra course/tutorial thing to go to in order to catch up a bit if needed during first year.
I was in software engineering so they moved a bit faster with more courses but the basic CS courses were just a tough enough to get you going.
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Samari

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All you CS majors
« Reply #8 on: 29 Jun 2005, 13:16 »

the difference i'm thinking of is between "we're going to teach you C++/Java/SCHEME/etc and then you'll know topic x eventually" and "we're going to teach you abstractly how to do x and we're going to use language y so if you don't know it get familiar with it."  

In a lot of classes they didn't even care what language we used so long as we got the program to work
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Kanno

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All you CS majors
« Reply #9 on: 29 Jun 2005, 13:47 »

So is the mac thing gonna come back to haunt me?  I had to go mac (and why wouldn't I want to?) so I could run my pro audio stuff, but I figured the darwin/unix core would run everything I needed for programming.
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crazybritishsteve

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All you CS majors
« Reply #10 on: 30 Jun 2005, 02:51 »

The mac thing will only haunt you if your uni/college/whatever goes

'We don't support macs'

It's a classic phrase. Basically it means if you have a problem, it's your problem. It's the exact phrase i use in my current job. :)
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victor_smithe

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All you CS majors
« Reply #11 on: 30 Jun 2005, 06:04 »

Quote from: Kanno
So is the mac thing gonna come back to haunt me?  I had to go mac (and why wouldn't I want to?) so I could run my pro audio stuff, but I figured the darwin/unix core would run everything I needed for programming.

I had no problem using my mac for my programming projects. 100% of my assignments in 1B and 2nd year were written on my PowerBook. A combination of Xcode, Eclipse, and a Unix C++ compiler (accessed using the Terminal) were all I needed. The only trick would be if you'll be developing in .NET, then you'll need to use a little Unix trickery to get the Mono platform to work to enable the .NET framework. But seriously, forget Microsoft :p
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infract

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All you CS majors
« Reply #12 on: 10 Jul 2005, 16:58 »

My CS degree requires no previous programming experience. The first course was a Java OOP intro course, which turned out to be a snap.
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