Author Topic: Should I drop Computer Science 111?  (Read 15792 times)

Zalo

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Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« on: October 26, 2013, 04:59:28 PM »
Hi there,

I've been at Amherst College for a few months now, and I've been taking courses in the environmental studies track, the music track, and the computer science track.

I like the former two, and I can do well in both if I put in the effort; but, I suck at the third, and even if I put in significant effort I still have trouble accomplishing the labs or understanding the lectures. I also scored a 61 in the midterm, along with the majority of the class. That said, the proff decided that as long as a student genuinely tries in the course, they'd get a B for the semester.

I think I'd prefer to just use the freshmen drop, though.

1. I'm not learning that much; I find myself at the mercy of TAs or peers
2. It takes away considerable time where I could be reading about other things on my own.
3. I just wanted to see if I liked this class/major, or if I'd consider pursuing the degree, and I don't think I do/will.
4. I am not naturally inclined for puzzles or math.
5. I could just learn about investing and other practical skills while doing enviro/music

Still, I am having some problems with going through with this.

1. The professor tutored me, we worked on a problem, and he said I have potential/offered a private tutor.
2. computer science is very lucrative; environmental studies/music not so much.
3. I'd have a W on my record instead of a B; future employment might be hurt.
4. I wouldn't be able to drop a course in spring semester, if it comes to that.
5. Knowing programming, the little I understand in class, might be useful.

What do you think?

Daleth

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 05:08:52 PM »
The semester's half over and you're guaranteed a B. How are you doing in your other classes? Assuming you're doing well (B or above) in all of them, might as well just finish the semester. You need X number of credits to graduate anyway, they're never going to be cheaper than they are this year (since as a rule tuition goes up annually), and it certainly can't hurt to have a basic knowledge of programming and a B on your transcript.

And that's it--sticking with this class doesn't mean you're planning to become a programmer. If you dislike it this much and find it this difficult, you would probably have trouble *surviving* the higher-level classes you'd need to actually become a decent programmer, and you would never enjoy the job. Computer programming is not the only way to earn a decent living!

Ooh, which reminds me, I have a fantastic suggestion for you. One single thing. I think it will give you a lot of great ideas about other possibilities for earning a decent living: read "Shop Class as Soul Craft," by Matthew Crawford.
http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Class-Soulcraft-Inquiry-Value/dp/0143117467

lentilman

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 05:12:11 PM »
Since you have a lower limit of a B and limited drops just stick with it. 

StarryC

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 05:33:04 PM »
I agree, you should stick it out, assuming the following:

1) Your scholarship is likely, at most, for 4 years/ 8 semesters/ 12 trimesters
2) To graduate in a major you need, say 48 credits in that major.  To graduate you need 160 credits.  To graduate, you need (for example) 12 credits of writing, 8 credits of math, 8 credits of science, 12 credits of foreign language, etc. that aren't in your major, and some "elective" credits from neither a specific category or your major.

A W on your transcript isn't too bad, but people might ask about it.  A B in a computer science course on your transcript is probably good.  People might not ask.  Also, you can use this experience in an interview situation.  "When I was a freshman still figuring things out I took this class.  It was hard for these reasons, and I realized I wasn't interested.  But I worked hard, studied, persevered, and now I know some basic programing."  Employers like to hear these stories.

If you drop it, and therefore drop from a 16 credit semester, to a 12 credit semester, some later semester you are going to have to take an "extra" class to make up for it, and might hurt yourself then.  Or, you have to take an extra semester in the summer or after your 4 years, and pay for it. 

If this class meets a "gen ed" requirement, it is even more important you keep it.  In that case, you are going to have to take some other "science" class to meet the requirement.  In this class you know you can get a B.  In that later class the professor might be less forgiving and the class might be just as challenging or boring. 


capital

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2013, 06:21:14 PM »
CS (and other math/engineering type classes) are often graded more harshly than the liberal arts, in my experience. Also, the tests are often curved in such a way that a 61 isn't actually a bad grade. I have a computer engineering degree, and it was, quite simply, difficult to get, and a lot of the material was hard. I made sure to take a lot of liberal arts classes, because they were enjoyable, informative, and also a nice break from the slog many engineering classes were. My GPA was far lower than in high school, but that hasn't come up since graduation.

Basic computer programming is a useful skill that's only likely to get more useful as computers take over more of the world, so I think it's worth seeing the course through, unless you have very specific reasons to be rid of it, like needing a 4.0 to get into a high-ranking law school (the only kinds worth going to these days) or med school. It also requires a very systemic way of thinking that's a good way to stretch your mind.

mlipps

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2013, 06:23:01 PM »
A W isn't that big of a deal, but neither is a B. I'd stick it out.

randymarsh

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2013, 06:47:21 PM »
A B in a comp sci class isn't anything I'd worry about. At this point in the semester I'd stick it out.

Is this an actual programming class or a theory type class? I ask because I'm majoring in information systems (a business degree) and I've taken a few programming classes and it does get easier. I was nervous the few couple weeks of my Java course, but got much better near the end of it. The 2nd Java course was much less stressful and I even picked up a working knowledge of .Net quickly in another class.

LeighinCT

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 07:21:31 PM »
Devil's advocate here - what happens if the Prof decides that he won't honor the "B guarantee?" Then you're left with it hanging on your transcript. I stuck it out through a class my freshman year. I spent the next 4 years trying to dig out of the drag that the low grade in that one class had on my overall gpa.

If you're pursuing non-comp sci field for major then I don't think a "W" will hurt you during future job interviews.

NinetyFour

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 08:10:17 PM »
That said, the proff decided that as long as a student genuinely tries in the course, they'd get a B for the semester.

Really??  This just doesn't seem right.  I'm really surprised that an Amherst professor would say such a thing.

Reepekg

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2013, 09:19:29 PM »
The things that I "sucked at" and found hard in college (heat and transport phenomena, thermodynamics) are the things I wish I had worked harder at because they ended up being weirdly relevant to my badass job today, even though they seemed wildly unrelated at the time. The things I found easy and aced I can hardly remember.

Nobody has ever asked me for my GPA. In the long run, college is about a lot more than grades, so challenge yourself to grow. You might find yourself one day uniquely suited for that gig writing software to analyze whale song as a method to track the effect of pollution or something.

msilenus

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2013, 09:38:23 PM »
Tough out the class.  If something clicks and you decide you want to go farther and become excellent at it, then you have the foundation of a great career.  If it doesn't work for you, don't try to force yourself into the field chasing dollar signs alone.  Software is hard enough when you love it.  There are other great careers.

Do finish the class, though.  For all the reasons above, and because you're not a quitter.

xocotl

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2013, 10:03:14 PM »
3. I'd have a W on my record instead of a B; future employment might be hurt.

My experience, on this point at least, is if you're going for a job directly after college, your transcript really really doesn't matter. Employers won't care whether you have a B or a W in a class, if they look at your transcript at all. For your prospects of future employment, networking in college is much more important.

That being said, if you're planning on going to grad school, it may actually make a difference.

CDP45

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2013, 12:07:29 AM »
I hate to tell you but you're taking the easiest course offered in that major so reflect on your post college goals. You're on an early retirement forum filled with smarter than average people who mostly work for corporations/gov so if you can see yourself following that lifestyle, then you need to take a challenging major and earn a 3.00+ gpa. There is no early retirement for enviro studies or music majors FYI, it's for people who earn higher than average wages and spend below average and invest the difference.

lhamo

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2013, 04:26:02 AM »
There is no early retirement for enviro studies or music majors FYI, it's for people who earn higher than average wages and spend below average and invest the difference.

I call BS on this comment.  DH and I both have PhDs in one of the most notoriously "worthless" disciplines out there -- cultural anthropology -- and we're more or less FI after 14 years of work in the non-profit sector and living a lifestyle at least as comfortable as MMM during that time period.  Could we have earned more as computer science majors?  Yes, probably.  If we could actually hack it and enjoyed the field.  Nobody is likely to make good money doing something they dislike/lack the aptitude for.  Not that I'm saying music and enviro studies are going to be huge moneymakers.  But there are plenty of examples here and on other ER focused fora of people who have reached FI doing things other than computer science/engineering/finance.


Rural

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2013, 05:00:04 AM »
+1

Different "useless" PhD here.

Russ

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2013, 06:16:36 AM »
There is no early retirement for enviro studies or music majors FYI, it's for people who earn higher than average wages and more than they spend below average and invest the difference.

FTFY
maybe you haven't noticed all the musicians, teachers, professional students, etc. on here, but there's plenty. and you definitely don't have to be smarter than average to do it; surely I'm not.

Russ

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2013, 06:27:11 AM »
OP, I would stick it out. My reasons:
-You paid for the education (with scholarship, but still), so use it. this is the only time it will not cost more money
-It will very likely be useful in the future
-Mental fortitude gained by following through. Yeah I know ideally you would never do anything you wouldn't want to finish, but it happens. Being able to finish what you start is a skill a lot of people lack.
-"natural inclination" is largely bullshit. everything takes practice. If you want to get better at puzzles and math, this class is probably one of the best ways to do it.
-Save your drop for next semester (we are savers here after all)

Agreed with other posters, immeasurably few in the corporate world care about a W, especially if you can explain it to them. I don't have experience in academia, so I can't speak to that.

ETA: not trying to say I would stay in CS as a major, just this class in particular
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 08:33:14 AM by Russ »

ocandelario

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2013, 08:19:46 AM »
CS (and other math/engineering type classes) are often graded more harshly than the liberal arts, in my experience. Also, the tests are often curved in such a way that a 61 isn't actually a bad grade. I have a computer engineering degree, and it was, quite simply, difficult to get, and a lot of the material was hard. I made sure to take a lot of liberal arts classes, because they were enjoyable, informative, and also a nice break from the slog many engineering classes were. My GPA was far lower than in high school, but that hasn't come up since graduation.

Agreed. In my honors physics class, a 80+% score was excellent, 70-80% was very good, 60-70% was good, 50-60% was "decent, but try to do better next time," and only <50% was considered a truly "bad" score.

A few other thoughts:
1. How are the other students doing (and what was the mean score on the midterm)?  If the majority of the class thinks CS111 is just as hard as you do and is not dropping it, I would stay in the class.
2. How long do you have before you can drop it; e.g. can you wait a few weeks to see if the class gets any easier/more interesting, or do you have to make a decision now?

Zalo

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2013, 08:24:31 AM »
CS (and other math/engineering type classes) are often graded more harshly than the liberal arts, in my experience. Also, the tests are often curved in such a way that a 61 isn't actually a bad grade. I have a computer engineering degree, and it was, quite simply, difficult to get, and a lot of the material was hard. I made sure to take a lot of liberal arts classes, because they were enjoyable, informative, and also a nice break from the slog many engineering classes were. My GPA was far lower than in high school, but that hasn't come up since graduation.

Agreed. In my honors physics class, a 80+% score was excellent, 70-80% was very good, 60-70% was good, 50-60% was "decent, but try to do better next time," and only <50% was considered a truly "bad" score.

A few other thoughts:
1. How are the other students doing (and what was the mean score on the midterm)?  If the majority of the class thinks CS111 is just as hard as you do and is not dropping it, I would stay in the class.
2. How long do you have before you can drop it; e.g. can you wait a few weeks to see if the class gets any easier/more interesting, or do you have to make a decision now?

I have until this Wednesday night, but I think I will stay considering the many valid points brought up.

projekt

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2013, 12:04:52 PM »
I hate to tell you but you're taking the easiest course offered in that major so reflect on your post college goals.

I haven't taken this course at Amherst but I don't think that Intro to CS/Programming is the easiest class. Once you've moved along it looks easy, but it is a rapid introduction to concepts that most people have not had in their heads before. It's like saying that Calc 1 is easy. Sure, it is, after you've moved along in math or engineering, but lots of seemingly smart kids fail this class for one reason or another.

The point is that you will be better off putting hard work into it.

After you get through the gateway course to CS, it really can get easier. You may find that thinking about programs was hard but once you overcame that hurdle, theory of computation and computer architecture aren't that bad. Discrete math starts to just make sense as what you really need to know. You've already been using algorithms so you want to get good at studying them and making them better. After those courses, CS is pretty specialized, (operating systems, databases, software engineering, graphics) but usually only hard if a class requires more work than you put in. At Amherst, they don't have a vast catalog of killer courses like they have at MIT, so it shouldn't be very hard at all.

But it will be if you never have the "aha" moment that leads to writing correct code and reasoning properly about programs. I would finish the course and see if you feel like, given the chance, you would have earned that A now.

dragoncar

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2013, 02:35:04 PM »
I feel like if you aren't interviewing for CS jobs, nobody is going to care what grade you got in A single CS class.  I know it affects your GPA, but it probably doesn't matter too much

msilenus

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2013, 03:10:13 PM »
I haven't taken this course at Amherst but I don't think that Intro to CS/Programming is the easiest class. Once you've moved along it looks easy, but it is a rapid introduction to concepts that most people have not had in their heads before. It's like saying that Calc 1 is easy. Sure, it is, after you've moved along in math or engineering, but lots of seemingly smart kids fail this class for one reason or another.

The point is that you will be better off putting hard work into it.

I should second this.  I know a smart guy who had to work his ass off to learn fundamental programming skills, but it served him well in the end.  It lead to him working as a tutor and then TA for those classes, where he was much more effective for having been through what his students were going through.  The higher-level concepts were easier for him once he had the fundamentals down, and he had no trouble translating between the two.  His faculty connections from being an excellent TA translated into great recommendations for grad school.  Went to Stanford for his MS and is now working at Google, where's he also on a fairly fast track.

A pianist I know once remarked that you don't see a lot of prodigies performing at the highest level, in spite of music prodigies being not extremely rare.  They reach a certain level with ease, but marginal progression eventually becomes just as hard for them as for everyone else.  At the very top, you find people who push themselves obsessively for marginal improvements.  (Politics are also important.)

Loving it is essential, though it doesn't have to be love at first sight, or even sex on the first date.  Tough it out, give it a chance, and be mindful that there are other fish in the sea.

msilenus

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2013, 03:21:05 PM »
I feel like if you aren't interviewing for CS jobs, nobody is going to care what grade you got in A single CS class.  I know it affects your GPA, but it probably doesn't matter too much

For jobs, you can just not put your GPA on your resume.  I've never been asked.  For grad school, your A+s and recommendations can matter as much as your GPA.  Depending on perspective, my undergraduate academic performance was either very inconsistent at producing excellent results, or reasonably successful at approximating pi.  I once met a Ph.d student who didn't have an undergraduate degree at all.  That was pure math, though.  Pure math is weird.

capital

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2013, 03:28:11 PM »
By the way, if you enjoy programming at all, there are a lot of good jobs out there for folks even with a CS minor, at least in today's market. And even if you don't, it's worth learning a new way to approach problems and see the world— the purpose of a liberal arts education.

Higher level CS courses aren't necessarily easier, but they may be more satisfying because you can build bigger things.

Another tricky thing about intro CS is that some people are self-taught at the material or had a course in high school, so they're coming in way ahead, whereas it can be a big challenge for people who've never seen the material. CS education in K-12 is far less evenly distributed (with no particularly consistent curriculum) versus math or science or English.

And yes, there's plenty of room for early retirement for those who enjoy music or environment studies-- they just need to be more judicious choosing a low cost-of-living area, or hustle that much harder for high-paying jobs.

CDP45

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2013, 11:15:53 PM »
There is no early retirement for enviro studies or music majors FYI, it's for people who earn higher than average wages and spend below average and invest the difference.

I call BS on this comment.  DH and I both have PhDs in one of the most notoriously "worthless" disciplines out there -- cultural anthropology -- and we're more or less FI after 14 years of work in the non-profit sector and living a lifestyle at least as comfortable as MMM during that time period.  Could we have earned more as computer science majors?  Yes, probably.  If we could actually hack it and enjoyed the field.  Nobody is likely to make good money doing something they dislike/lack the aptitude for.  Not that I'm saying music and enviro studies are going to be huge moneymakers.  But there are plenty of examples here and on other ER focused fora of people who have reached FI doing things other than computer science/engineering/finance.

Apologies, I should have qualified my statement to undergraduate degrees, because in most cases PHDs are smarter than average...uhm almost by definition. There's a huge difference between following your passion and pursuing rigorous study in a soft/social science vs shying away from difficult subjects due to lack of discipline. A freshman class in CS when this generation has grown up dependent on the most advanced devices created doesn't seem like it should be outside of his abilities.

I was in the edge of my seat during the lectures on invertible matrices yet I would fall asleep in accounting and linguistics, but that didn't prevent me from earning high marks in those classes I wasn't interested in.

arebelspy

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2013, 12:09:25 AM »
There is no early retirement for enviro studies or music majors FYI, it's for people who earn higher than average wages and spend below average and invest the difference.

Chiming in here with the many who disagree with this.

I have a B.A. in Philosophy and Master's in Elementary Education, work as a teacher, and should still be done by my early 30s.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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jpo

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2013, 06:14:30 AM »
3. I'd have a W on my record instead of a B; future employment might be hurt.

My experience, on this point at least, is if you're going for a job directly after college, your transcript really really doesn't matter. Employers won't care whether you have a B or a W in a class, if they look at your transcript at all. For your prospects of future employment, networking in college is much more important.

That being said, if you're planning on going to grad school, it may actually make a difference.
This, by far. Nobody has ever seen my transcript, much less even asked my college GPA. What's been more important is what skills you bring to the table and your experience.

GuitarStv

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2013, 07:06:18 AM »
Kinda have to come down on the 'finish your course' side of things.

FWIW, in my engineering degree we had many classes where the prof would be grading particularly hard . . . one of them the class average was around 40% before the final exam (which was worth 30% of your final grade).  Very, very often you will ride the bell curve to a better grade at the end of it.  I received decent marks in classes that I had no chance of passing after calculating my marks and the number of questions answered on the final.

The other thing is . . . the whole idea of university is to learn and challenge yourself to do things you haven't done before.  Not just to get a higher mark on a piece of paper.  Are you learning in this course?

Dee18

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2013, 07:20:06 AM »
Stick with it. Since you have a scholarship to Amherst, you are probably used to getting A's.  Don't let your future be decided by avoiding B's.  if you aren't learning what you need in class, work more out of class.  That's why you have all that time during the week with no classes scheduled.  Watch some online courses.  Meet with the tutor.  The most important lesson to learn here is that you can succeed at what first seems challenging.

rubybeth

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2013, 07:46:47 AM »
There is no early retirement for enviro studies or music majors FYI, it's for people who earn higher than average wages and spend below average and invest the difference.

Chiming in here with the many who disagree with this.

I have a B.A. in Philosophy and Master's in Elementary Education, work as a teacher, and should still be done by my early 30s.

I'd also add that likely the same thing could be said of English majors and librarians, but I am both, and will likely be done by age 45, maybe sooner. DH has a political science BA, now getting a counseling master's degree. They key to early retirement isn't what you do for your career, it's spending less and saving more, and that can be done as long as you can make a liveable wage and are willing to forgo a consumerist lifestyle. In fact, I'd say that living as students well into our late 20s has helped us be more comfortable living on less and saving more. We didn't have the chance to make the "high earning 22-year-old mistakes" that a lot of folks tend to make.

CDP45

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2013, 08:08:09 AM »
You guys are inspirational, sorry for being a naysayer. Obviously our country is filled with counter examples, even family members. I have a cousin who lives with 4 people and does social work who lives on the east side and works on the west side with like a 30mi commute having to pass thru downtown. I have a friend  in the same line of work who lives in a very very old plex with a roommate in like 600sqft, I just don't know if they will ever make it..

galliver

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2013, 10:47:19 AM »
Stay. Even a little programming experience can only help you. Keep in mind that  at this level, all of CS is giving instructions. Like writing a recipe, or an instruction manual. Except for someone (something) really, really dumb. I thought it was really boring, and didn't pursue a software career even if I could have been good at it. I'm an engineering PhD student specializing in experimental fluid mechanics; programming is one of many tools I get to use, but it is a valuable one. Any scientist, in any field will likely tell you the same.

I'm going to say something that might be presumptuous and unpopular. It sounds like your other two classes are mostly content-acquisition classes. You read, you listen to lectures, you answer questions. Maybe you build up your skill on a musical instrument (I don't quite recall the nature of your music class from other threads). But I highly doubt you are designing or creating much of anything in those classes. Synthesis is a very high-level learning activity. It is HARD by nature. But your CS class is the only one in which you are practicing this. And it is important to do.  Synthesis will show up in other majors; when you have to design and implement environmental studies or compose music. CS just happens to be a field where it happens immediately.

LeighinCT

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2014, 06:14:09 PM »
Just curious to see if OP would mind sharing how things worked out with this class? Guessing all went well but an update would be awesome! It was a badass decision to stay in. Hoping that it went well!

Zalo

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2014, 06:03:08 PM »
I stayed in and got the special B. No more programming for me! :D

I'm now doing Geology & Env Studies....Much better!

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2014, 06:32:25 PM »
I graduated with a computer science degree and a minor in Math. Didn't love it, I just did it. I worked on software development for a while and hated the long work hrs. and the treatment in the field. Some of my managers were history majors that started on the business side on the phones and worked their way up and then over to managers of IT people. I still remain in the IT field, not doing development right now but you must love it in order to work on it. By the way, I had some Ws. Recruiters didn't care about Ws.

Recruiters questions were: Overall GPA, favorite subject, behavioral and programming questions.

I hope this helps.

Jack

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2014, 09:41:11 PM »
I stayed in and got the special B. No more programming for me! :D

I'm now doing Geology & Env Studies....Much better!

Oh, don't worry... you'll be doing more programming sooner or later. (It'll just be in something like Matlab or R, if not Python.)

livetogive

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2014, 10:49:44 PM »
I had a "withdraw" on my transcript for a bs administrative reason and it actually came back to haunt me 8 years later.

SO…do you mean drop or withdraw?  if drop then go  for it if you are otherwise an A student.  If withdraw then hell no, finish it out and pass, then move on with your life.  With your transcript focusing on other fields it'll be nothing but a laughing/talking point that you got 1 low grade in a CS course completely unrelated to your field.

projekt

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2014, 08:36:01 AM »
Weird. My transcript has never been looked at by any employer. Most employers would probably not even verify that you graduated from any school.

On the other hand, every academic step you take requires transcripts.

Being a veterinarian is nice. Once I got my license number, nobody questions my background at all.

Q. What do you call the guy who graduated last in his class from the worst vet (or med) school in the country?

A. Doctor.

Annamal

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2014, 11:32:09 AM »
Heh, I did have to explain a low mark on my transcript to my employer in my first job interview (there's this yearlong course that started out with machine language and moves all the way up through kernel building and into security pipes....I really hope they've split it into 2....I know one person who took it 3 times and then moved universities to get away from it).

You'd be suprised at the uses you might have for computer programming, my partner(who got his phd in the philosophy of history) is currently doing some work for one of his lecturers, the work involves extracting historical data (like parish records from the 1800's historical) from websites and into a database where they are trying to link data from different datasets.

I've written him a couple of starter programs and given him a bit of assistance designing a good system of metadata for the database, but he's done all the tedious work from data-loading and cleaning to web design.

It's been a fascinating process to watch and the intro to programming courses he took at uni gave him a good grounding for this stuff.

MissPeach

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2014, 12:30:34 AM »
I graduated with a computer science degree and a minor in Math. Didn't love it, I just did it. I worked on software development for a while and hated the long work hrs. and the treatment in the field. Some of my managers were history majors that started on the business side on the phones and worked their way up and then over to managers of IT people. I still remain in the IT field, not doing development right now but you must love it in order to work on it.

I'm one of these people. I took a cs class and hated it and went for a business degree and moved to IT from the business side. I now work designing computer systems and have been recruited by many of the big silicon companies. I've been asked why I didn't go with a cs degree and how I learned but no one really cared as long as I could code and understood it. A lot of that can be self taught. I learned the beginnings from books. Btw no one ever asked for transcripts. They usually just verify your degree as part of the background check.

Khan

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2014, 01:24:02 AM »
I stayed in and got the special B. No more programming for me! :D

I'm now doing Geology & Env Studies....Much better!

Oh, don't worry... you'll be doing more programming sooner or later. (It'll just be in something like Matlab or R, if not Python.)

This is probably true. In today's world, programming knowledge is possibly the single most important thing you can have.

Imagine a geology major. Great. Woop-de-doo.

Now imagine a geology major that can program. He can create tools to help him do amazing things. Whether it is excel, or matlab, or actual programming languages, it's the nature of the world we live in. These are incredibly valuable skills, and you should really put in the effort to learn these tools.

Kaminoge

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2014, 04:47:39 AM »
That said, the proff decided that as long as a student genuinely tries in the course, they'd get a B for the semester.

Really??  This just doesn't seem right.  I'm really surprised that an Amherst professor would say such a thing.

That's what I was planning to say. Seriously? And then people wonder why American education is viewed as going down the tubes.

jpo

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #42 on: June 27, 2014, 09:09:11 PM »

gimp

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #43 on: June 27, 2014, 09:27:34 PM »
Are you a necromancer, jpo? :)

mm1970

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2014, 07:27:32 AM »
Hi there,

I've been at Amherst College for a few months now, and I've been taking courses in the environmental studies track, the music track, and the computer science track.

I like the former two, and I can do well in both if I put in the effort; but, I suck at the third, and even if I put in significant effort I still have trouble accomplishing the labs or understanding the lectures. I also scored a 61 in the midterm, along with the majority of the class. That said, the proff decided that as long as a student genuinely tries in the course, they'd get a B for the semester.

I think I'd prefer to just use the freshmen drop, though.

1. I'm not learning that much; I find myself at the mercy of TAs or peers
2. It takes away considerable time where I could be reading about other things on my own.
3. I just wanted to see if I liked this class/major, or if I'd consider pursuing the degree, and I don't think I do/will.
4. I am not naturally inclined for puzzles or math.
5. I could just learn about investing and other practical skills while doing enviro/music

Still, I am having some problems with going through with this.

1. The professor tutored me, we worked on a problem, and he said I have potential/offered a private tutor.
2. computer science is very lucrative; environmental studies/music not so much.
3. I'd have a W on my record instead of a B; future employment might be hurt.
4. I wouldn't be able to drop a course in spring semester, if it comes to that.
5. Knowing programming, the little I understand in class, might be useful.

What do you think?

So, this is a toughie for me.
#1 I hate programming. I am SO BAD at it.  And I'm an engineer, so I don't understand why. I passed my programming class in college.  I do a little programming now, but in Access (visual basic) or Excel. But it DOES NOT come naturally to me.  So I can see where learning it might be good for you.

I don't like the "guaranteed a B" thing though.  That's just...bad.

#2 I took a class in college, and I cannot even remember what it was called (hey it was >22 years ago). I was an engineer in ROTC, so ROTC required some military history/ political history classes.  This one class I took was VERY interesting but required about 400 pages of reading a week, plus reading a major newspaper.  It took SO MUCH time that I couldn't keep up with my other classes, plus ROTC, plus my part time job.  So I dropped it.  The prof was FLOORED.  "You are getting an A, and you are doing well!"  But I wasn't sleeping or keeping up with everything else.

So it's a balance between pushing yourself to learn something new and difficult, stretching yourself, and figuring out if it is detracting from everything else.

mm1970

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Re: Should I drop Computer Science 111?
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2014, 07:29:32 AM »
The things that I "sucked at" and found hard in college (heat and transport phenomena, thermodynamics) are the things I wish I had worked harder at because they ended up being weirdly relevant to my badass job today, even though they seemed wildly unrelated at the time. The things I found easy and aced I can hardly remember.

Nobody has ever asked me for my GPA. In the long run, college is about a lot more than grades, so challenge yourself to grow. You might find yourself one day uniquely suited for that gig writing software to analyze whale song as a method to track the effect of pollution or something.
I loved those classes.  Physical chemistry and electronics and programming?  Not so much.

Guess what I use now.

Sigh.