|By Michelle on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 06:46 am: Edit|
Hi. I like your site a lot.
I recently visited a college and I absolutely fell in love with the campus and the people. I could really see myself going to that college, but . . .
I plan on majoring in Computer Science and I don't know how strong their program is. The most popular majors there are Education and Music and their Computer Science program is relatively small.
I plan on talking to a CS prof. about their program, but what kind of question do I ask to know if they have a good CS program??
The school replaces every single computer on campus every year and give the old ones to the faculty. I have never heard of a college doing this. Does that say something about their program or the college's emphasis on the importance of computers??
|By Roger (Roger) on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 06:08 pm: Edit|
Hi, Michelle. It sounds like that school is really emphasizing their infrastructure, but it may not tell you much about their CS department. A good CS program imbues its students with a solid understanding of the basics - programming, database structure, etc. The actual languages learned will probably be obsolete in a few years, but the basic knowledge and "good habits" will last a lot longer.
I'd suggest asking for a list of firms that recruit on campus for CS majors, as well as information on how last year's grads fared - what percent got CS-related jobs, and who employed them. You might also ask potential employers what they think of that school, and what other schools they recommend.
If you are searching for a nationally known program, check out our rankings section. While I certainly wouldn't choose a school based solely on its ranking by US News, Gourman, or any other ranking scheme, the rankings might provide you with some ideas to research in more detail. Both US News and Gourman have departmental rankings for CS. (Personally, I am partial to Carnegie-Mellon as one of the absolute best. In fact, I just read that they nailed down a #1 ranking from some major group, sorry, I don't recall which one it was.)
|By Dave Berry on Monday, September 17, 2001 - 08:13 pm: Edit|
I agree with Roger, Michelle. I would ask the school's CS profs how good their program's job placement record is. What percentage of CS grads get jobs by the time they graduate? Also, do they offer an internship option? This isn't mandatory, but it can really help you to hook up with a potential employer.
Also, how big is their alumni network in CS? Do they maintain a database of their CS grads so that you might be able to contact them about possible job openings when it comes time for you to graduate? These are just a few random thoughts. Maybe some other students out their can add their perspective on your questions.
|By R Storm (Anonrs) on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 03:37 am: Edit|
Any suggestions for small colleges (3,000 or less range) that offers solid CS for someone who also has a strong interest in Humanities?
Very likely student will want to either major in English (writing) and minor in CS; possibly double major in both. Student would still like opportunity to pursue both German and music interests; also has desire to study abroad. Asking too much???
|By Dave Berry on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 03:16 pm: Edit|
Here are nine solid possibilities, RS: Williams, Washington & Lee, Caltech, Colby, Amherst, Bowdoin, Pomona, Haverford, and Harvey Mudd.
|By R Storm (Anonrs) on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 04:55 pm: Edit|
Thanks, Dave. In regards to Pomona and Harvey Mudd, do you think they each stand alone in possibly meeting the opportunity for a Humanities/CS course of study or are you thinking of taking advantage of the cross-registration option?
|By Dave Berry on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 08:53 am: Edit|
From where I sit, Pomona can probably stand alone a bit better than Mudd in the Humanities. The "classic" humanities/CS providers from that list would be Amherst, Williams, and Haverford. However, the value of such a hybrid program will depend on the overall best fit of the school with the student. If a student can integrate well with a college's environment, then s/he can more than likely squeeze every last drop of resources from the faculty.
Sometimes I think people tire of my repeating this basic truth about college: It's mostly about the match. Forget "prestige"--whatever THAT is. Look at overall value and compatibility with student goals and temperament. There are unhappy and underserved students at Harvard and other big name schools. I know that firsthand. I've counseled some very miserable Ivy League first-years who thought elite appeal is an end in itself. By the way, there are probably several dozen or more additional schools that meet your humanities/CS criteria. I just didn't look them all up. It's a buyer's market.
|By Randall Penning (Rockdoc) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 04:13 pm: Edit|
In one of the previous posts it was mentioned that the US News rankings had a ranking for CS. I have looked on their web site as well as in the published book and have failed to see such a ranking. The closest that I see is a ranking for computer engineering and even then it only looks at the top 10 or so schools. Am I missing something? How do I find rankings for CS at the undergrad level?
|By Roger (Roger) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 05:51 pm: Edit|
Randall, the post that mentioned the rankings was mine, and you are right - the US News rankings are for Computer Engineering, not Computer Science. US News lists the Top 20 departments at schools with PhD programs, plus 7 more top programs at schools that award only bachelor's and master's degrees.
|By phillman on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 07:26 pm: Edit|
What's the difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering?
|By amd on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 08:05 pm: Edit|
Computer Engineering is more hardware intensive than Computer Science. Those who want to build computers (for instance) go to this.
|By Trey Holcomb on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 - 07:39 pm: Edit|
This page is a sight for sore eyes. I've been accepted to Carnegie Mellon, Virginia Tech, Washington University in St. Louis, and UVA. I've narrowed my choices to VTech and CMU for personal reasons, and am trying to decide between the two. I know, the instant response is "CMU! Duh!", but one is $37,000 a year, and VTech is $7,000 a year. Is it worth it? I found a ranking for the VTech Engineering Department at 17th, but then realized that CS is under the Science Department at VTech, so that ranking is irrelevant. Does anyone know about the quality of CS at VTech? Am I being retarted and forgetting to think about something?
|By Roger (Roger) on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 - 07:58 pm: Edit|
Hi, Trey, thanks for the kind words... $120K over 10 years is a big difference, for sure.
I'm a CMU grad and, therefore, I'm biased. I can't really comment on the CS department at Virginia Tech, as I'm not familiar with it. You might ask for a list of on-campus recruiters this year (don't let 'em give you recruiting data from a couple of years ago during the dot-com boom) & see what it looks like. Likewise, if they have a list of companies where last year's grads went that would be revealing.
One suggestion: CMU has a reputation of being generous and flexible with their financial aid. They are one of the few schools that is quite open about saying they'll look at competing financial aid offers. You might take the direct approach and explain the enormous cost differential that is creating your dilemma. If your stats were good enough to get you into CMU CS, you are probably somebody they want. (Many schools won't even look at numbers from schools they don't consider "comparable" by their definition, but I think it would be worth a try.)
Good luck, Trey, I hope you'll be hearing bagpipes in the fall... and not paying through the nose for the privilege!
|By amd on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 - 10:20 pm: Edit|
First, Roger has done a fine job here. Thanks, Roger.
Second, I would go to Tech in a heart beat. Their (or should say our) CS department is very good. Blacksburg was one of the most wired towns at one time.
|By Domer97 on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 - 10:27 pm: Edit|
Blacksburg was one of the most wired towns at one time
Until the Starbucks closed?
|By Asmita on Sunday, June 16, 2002 - 10:34 am: Edit|
I have got admits from SUNY Buffalo and University of Texas Dallas computer Science Department ,
While rankings show that UB is higher in ranks ,I would like to know which one should I prefer.
I want good education in core computer science subjects like Principles of programming ,Data Structures ,Algorithms
|By Domer97 on Sunday, June 16, 2002 - 10:45 am: Edit|
If you like snow and cold: SUNYAB
If you don't like snow and cold: UTD
|By Vamom (Vamom) on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 11:42 am: Edit|
My son wants to get a 5 yr ms in computer science. Living in VA he's looking at VA tech, William & Mary, JMU and GMU as his safety. We've looked at cs courses in all and UVA was rejected because of all the chemistry courses. Small, large, city or rural he doesn't care, all he wants are lots of cs classes. On his own he's doing the course work for a cs 200 class at gmu, he has the book and is having no difficulty keeping up with their posted homework assignments, he's even helped a current student there with something they didn't learn in their advanced cs class last year but he had learned on his own through his involvement with linux. Any ideas on the better cs program? We have heard that once you get your first job it no longer matters where you went to school - true?
|By John Q on Friday, November 08, 2002 - 05:51 am: Edit|
As a S/W engineer working in silicon valley for the past 17 years, I would agree that after getting the first job, where you went to school becomes almost irrelevant. There are, of course, caveats: if he wants to go the management route rather than continuing up the technical ladder, impressive credentials can help get the foot in the door. On the other hand, the CEO at my last company (who currently has a net worth of approximately $200 million) got his degree at Cal State, Hayward. The CEO of my current company (again a multi-millionaire) never finished his degree from UC, Berkeley (now in his 40's).
For what its worth, I would normally discourage an individual from getting an undergraduate degree in computer science but rather a degree in something more tangible (any engineering or science discipline) and then getting an MS in Comp Sci. unless that individual really knows that they want to spend the rest of their life writing S/W (and it sounds like your son is very likely one of those that really know what they are getting themselves into).
|By Vamom (Vamom) on Friday, November 08, 2002 - 08:45 pm: Edit|
Thanks for your input. Management is definitely not an interest. His only question has been whether to major in c/s or s/w engineering. Is s/w engineering more tangible than c/s?
|By John Q on Monday, November 11, 2002 - 08:52 pm: Edit|
I'm not aware of an explicit S/W engineering degree. Sometimes I've seen Comp Sci with S/W engineering emphasis as a major - the distinction being that S/W engineering places more emphasis on S/W project management techniques that revolve more around productivity metrics, SW code control, group productivity, etc. Out here in silicon valley, everybody with a Comp Sci degree who is actually doing programming refers to themselves as S/W engineers. Much of this has to do with wanting to be perceived as equally intellectually demanding as a true engineering degree.
When I say "tangible", I mean almost any other field of study that gives you a reference point for why one might wish to write a program. Really, programming is about implementing tools or systems that are used in some other specialty.
From my perspective, most all of the S/W techniques that one learns about in an undergrad program are repeated (albeit perhaps at a faster pace) in an MS program, making the BS degree redundant and depriving the student of the chance of having a broader exposure to the world.
Moreover, I suspect that a lot of kids fall into programming because it is accessible. Anybody with a computer and the desire can learn to program and the barrier to that kind of learning is, I think, higher for Electrical or Computer Engineering (or Biology for that matter). Since the skill set for EE or Comp. Eng. is very similar to Comp Sci, some students may be depriving themselves of an opportunity to do something else that they really enjoy.
But there's more to it then that. By its very nature, a Comp Sci degree is likely to result in more social deprivation that any other degree that I've seen because unlike writing a paper for a class which a student can consider "finished" when he or she feel it is "good enough", a program isn't done until it works. Very little partial credit is givne for a programming assignment that doesn't do the job its supposed to do. Compiler or Operating System classes which have large programming requirements (2-5000 lines of code) can eat up entire semesters of a student's life.
Moreover, as a profession, I think that it's good to have another interest which is one qualified for to fall back on. Virtually anybody with a BS in EE and an MS in Comp Sci will be able to get a job and work effectively in the S/W world. These days, working as an EE is bluring the lines with SW engineering because virtually all chip design is done using S/W like languages such as VHDL or Verilog.
As a profession I honestly don't know what to tell you about having your kid decide to be a S/W engineer. On the one hand, I think there will always be demand for good bright S/W engineers. On the other hand, I have to admit to concern abou the impact of globalization on the preference. There is a very large pool of qualified S/W engineers in India/China who are willing to work for less, and this fact has not escaped notice by companies that have been importing engineers via H1-B visas or outsourcing their entire operations to other countries. For the first time in my life, I can say that I know several good, qualified, unemployed engineers. Perhaps this is not so much of a problem on the east coast, or perhaps the economy will have bounced back by the time that he is looking for a job.
On the flip side, starting engineering salaries have remained pretty constant at $60-70K. After 17 years, I make $130K (which may sound respectable to many people, but is in an area where the average home price is about $450K. I live in a nice area in a 1200 sq foot house valued at $800K).
|By John Q. on Monday, November 11, 2002 - 08:58 pm: Edit|
BTW, I did want to add one thing about school choices:
VA Tech (which, of course) has an excellent reputation is a large school. You son may wish to explore how many of his classes will taught by grad TA's versus getting direct exposure to faculty in any meaningful way. Perhaps it's better there, but I got my MS at U of Ill. and saw quite a number of 1st and 2nd year courses taught by Grad TA's. Also, there was the problem that a large research University, the faculty was much more focused on their own research than teaching because teaching is always an after thought when it comes to tenure decisions at these schools. The best instructor that I ever had (in my entire life) didn't get tenure for this reason and went to William and Mary where his teaching skills were properly valued. Just one reference point.
Still, if your kid likes to watch football, VA Tech has the clear lead :-).
|By Robi on Friday, November 15, 2002 - 01:06 am: Edit|
My daughter has long been interested in computers, robotics and space. She attended NASA's Space Camp/Brightest Stars/Space Academy in Huntsville, and later volunteered at the local Challenger Ctr. helping conduct missions. She's leaning toward attending UAH because of its ties to the space program, but I have concerns about the generally poor reputation of Alabama schools. She's also considering UNCC, which has a relatively new IT/CS college (I think it's about 4 yrs. old.) We haven't found much info on either school, beyond their own PR. They both seem to have all the right answers to the usual questions about post-grad. employment, so what else should we ask? Are their good reputations strictly local/regional?
|By John Q. on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 08:40 pm: Edit|
I don't know anything about either school. From a silicon valley perspective, I'd say that their reputations are definitely regional, not that they would be perceived negatively out here but most people wouldn't know anything about them. As I mentioned before, after a few years there will be more weight placed upon the individual's work experiences and graduate program (most people that I see do have an MS and I'd say that is becoming more of a prerequisite these days).
|By Robi on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 10:07 pm: Edit|
As a follow-up: We've set aside enough funds to pay for grad. school for our daughter (assuming that she does attend UAH/UNCC or something similarly priced for her undergrad. studies.) What are some good resources to help her in selecting a grad. school for CS/robotics/computer engineering? She'd prefer to be closer to home (within 8 hrs. driving time) for undergrad., but figures that by grad. school she'll be comfortable going anywhere.
|By John Q. on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 02:35 am: Edit|
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the comp. sci professional organization, had a directory that they published back when I went to grad school, but I can't seem to find it on their web pages. Even so, they have a ton of references about going to grad school and how to develop a s/w or mis career.
One reference listed the top comp sci programs are as Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, University of California Berkeley, Cornell, University of Washington, UCLA, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan, Texas, University of Rochester, Yale, University of Southern California, Georgia Tech, and University of Wisconsin.
Btw, paying for grad school is typically not a problem. Generally grad schools will waive tuition for students with fellowships or teaching assistantships. Virtually all of my fellow grad students had one or the other. A grad teaching assistantship is usually 20 hours/week and is likely to be sufficient to live modestly while attending school.
|By Jaguar on Sunday, December 15, 2002 - 03:32 pm: Edit|
found this site while browsing .. pretty amazing
I am planning to do an MS from Coulmbia in machine learning/ comp vision .. even though columbia is an ivy .. what are the job prospects after the MS .. more specifically if I work in the industry what kind of pay package can i expect.. also will it being an Ivy offset the fact that its CS dep is not in the top 20 according to US news
|By Jon on Monday, December 23, 2002 - 04:11 pm: Edit|
I live in Maryland and am considering going to University of Maryland (for the in-state tuition) for a undergrad degree in CS. At my high school, I always heard good things about CS at UofM. But, now when I search online, I can't find anything about how they compare to other schools in CS.
Anyone know how University of Maryland's CS department is?
|By Matt at VT on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 12:27 pm: Edit|
Couple of notes from a Virginia Tech sophomore in computer science...
1.) I have heard a 100% job-placement rate bandied about while hanging around in the CS lounge. Don't have any numbers or references to back this up, but I've heard it multiple places.
2.) NO lecture classes are taught by TAs, graduate or undergraduate. The only classes led by TAs are certains labs and almost all recitations. Recitations always go along with lecture classes led by "real" professors, i.e. you might have 2 lectures and a recitation per week for, say, Intro to Psych. Most labs go with lecture classes, although I have had one 1-credit lab which had no lecture attached. (It was an online course, all work was done on the student's own time; we went to the lab once a week to take a proctored quiz). Incidentally, the UNIX professor at Tech really sucks and I learned NOTHING from him... his lab TAs on the other hand were quite helpful.
I HIGHLY recommend VT for an undergraduate computer science program. I'd like to go to MIT, Caltech, or CMU for grad work, but that remains to be seen.
Questions or comments to email@example.com
|By Eddie on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 02:56 pm: Edit|
Hi, I definitely wanted to go into a career in CS, but i am also very serious about surfing, so i wanted to know whats the best CS school within 1 hr from the a coast?
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