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Minor in computer science?

compsci

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#1 PRK

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:52 PM


So I'm thinking of minoring in computer science next year to complement my biochem degree but I don't know where to start. My programming skills are very limited so I'd like to brush up on my skills before I take the papers.

Any tips for a beginner? Is it rewarding? And what possibilities are there with a minor in computer science?

Edited by PRK, 30 August 2011 - 01:55 PM.


#2 JLL

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:54 PM

There's always work for good programmers. In Finland most computer science students never get their master's degree before they find a job and forget about their studies. This despite the fact that outsorcing programming to India is much cheaper.

Remembering my own studies, I don't think there was anything in the programming courses that you couldn't have learned on your own. The internet is full of programming guides, if you want to brush up.
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#3 sentinel

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 03:28 PM

Learn C# or C++ (C# is easier and will get you up and running faster). They are more in demand than java in quantitative applications development, be that in science or finance. Other than that Funtional Programming (F#, Haskell etc) is reaching a broader industrial audience as well as being popular within the academic/research cloud.
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#4 Boolean

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 01:58 PM

Are you looking to compliment your biochemistry career path with secondary knowledge, or are you looking to gain financial compensation for a secondary career path?

If you're looking to compliment your chosen major, then a good basal knowledge of databases (SQL programming) and something functional like XML, perhaps. Lay some ground work so you can move WITH your chosen company. It may be fruitless to invest all your learning on a singular language that your first job may or may not have a use for.

If you want to have a secondary career path, then go with what's hot. There's big money in anything .Net oriented. Java devs seem to find work pretty much everywhere, as well.

#5 William.Lilt

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:56 PM

I studied C++ at university as a minor,

Since then I have been able to pick up any language I have needed.

#6 LongerStronger

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:23 PM

I agree with William, its more of a skill built through experience.

#7 LongerStronger

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:46 PM

It can prevent cancer. (well at least reduce the chances.)
Helps your mental balance.
Helps your digestion system.

Its something, in my opinion no stack should be without!

#8 hippocampus

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:57 PM

You're talking about minor in computer science, right?

Edited by hippocampus, 22 September 2012 - 09:07 PM.


#9 Shelton

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 06:05 AM

Yes, Programming is rewarding. And it isn't just an activity. Good programming skills make you think more logically and keep your brain sharp. And even if programming isn't useful to you doesn't mean it won't help you in the future. You never know :)

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#10 geo

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 06:52 PM

It is nice to learn the principles of programming, in order to better understand how computers work. And it may also be fun at first. But the truth is that programming is a waste of time if you dont plan to earn your living as a programmer. It is a very demanding task, and you need to save your strength for biochem. After all, if you ever need to program, you can always find a profesional programmer to hire, who will do the job better, faster, and very cheap.

#11 Adaptogen

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:02 PM

I have decided to start trying to teach myself programming. Does anyone have any links to good resources?

What language(s) are best? What language will be most used in the future? Any good free online courses?



Thanks

#12 Connor MacLeod

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:47 AM

I have decided to start trying to teach myself programming. Does anyone have any links to good resources?

What language(s) are best? What language will be most used in the future? Any good free online courses?



Thanks



What's your goal? Is there any particular area of application that you're interested in? For generic employability Java and Python are probably two good choices, and both are fairly easy to learn. If you're OK with doing Windows development, then C# is probably another good choice. As far as the future goes, it's hard to say long-term what language will be most used. However, it does seem that functional programming methods (emphasis on immutable objects, referential transparency, lazy evaluation, functions as values, etc.) are finally making their way out of academia into industry. A number of mainstream languages have some limited support for functional programming (C#, Python, Ruby, Java 8 -- not available yet, etc.) And there are some second tier languages (e.g. Scala, Clojure, F#) which fully support functional programming. In terms of adoption in industry, Scala is probably the leader in this second tier class. If you're just looking for an intellectual challenge then I'd suggest Haskell or one of the ML family languages (Standard ML, Ocaml, etc.)

Check out www.coursea.com or www.udacity.com. I know coursera recently offered a course on Scala taught by Martin Odersky, the creator of Scala, and I believe both coursea and udacity have introductory programming courses using Python. Scala has some fairly advanced language concepts which might be tough to digest if this is your first language, so it might make more sense to learn Python first.

Edited by Connor MacLeod, 03 January 2013 - 07:54 AM.


#13 Adaptogen

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

Thank you for the response. I suppose I was looking for generic employability, or rather, overall functional use. Something that would possibly allow me to take a more entrepreneurial route.


I will definitely start using coursea/udacity. Those were both the online schools I had looked at before, but was having trouble remembering the names.

#14 Connor MacLeod

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:05 AM

Thank you for the response. I suppose I was looking for generic employability, or rather, overall functional use. Something that would possibly allow me to take a more entrepreneurial route.


I will definitely start using coursea/udacity. Those were both the online schools I had looked at before, but was having trouble remembering the names.


In that case Java or python would both be good choices. Javascript is another one you might want to look into. Some knowledge of databases is pretty important as well. SQL is old-school, but still very widely used. The latest thing in databases is NOSQL (not-only-SQL), i.e. technologies like Hadoop, HBase, MongoDB, Cassandra, etc. These technologies are very hot in the SF Bay area among various internet-related tech companies. Coursera also has a class on databases which I understand covers both SQL and NOSQL approaches. It is a self-paced.

Edited by Connor MacLeod, 05 January 2013 - 06:08 AM.


#15 william7

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:18 PM

I start Visual Basic next week. From everything I'm reading about it, it's the easiest programming language to learn. There's a lot of free VB resources online, and you can sign up for a free VB beginners course in the TechLifeForum at http://tech.reboot.p...lay.php?fid=17.

I haven't even started class yet and I'm doing a lot of fun stuff with VB just by copying what others do on You Tube. There's a ton of VB tutorials on You Tube.

#16 niner

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

Javascript is another one you might want to look into.


There was an initiative called Codeyear that started at the beginning of 2012. You sign up, and they give you a lesson a week, with the goal of turning you into a programmer (of sorts) in one year. The language they chose was Javascript. The cool thing about it is that the development environment is free. My whole family signed up, although none of us finished the program (which proved to be kind of annoying), but my son and I did write a really cool little video game and I learned some new programming paradigms. One thing I have to say though, and this is what prompted me to respond here, is that Javascript is a giant step backwards in terms of bug resistance. It's pretty much untyped, so every typo is an instant bug. Kind of like Fortran 66. I guess we have to re-learn certain lessons every generation or two.

Anyway, Javascript is free and seems to be catching on. It's kinda cool / kinda scary. It's good for making web pages do tricks. Java is more of a real programming language, and is not related to Javascript. The Codeyear guys may or may not have improved their course since the last time I looked at it. Something tells me there's better online learning out there somewhere.

#17 william7

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

I joined Codecademy niner. Thanks for the link. It looks like something I'm interested in. I got a website coding class coming up in the future anyway.

#18 Connor MacLeod

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:48 AM

One thing I have to say though, and this is what prompted me to respond here, is that Javascript is a giant step backwards in terms of bug resistance. It's pretty much untyped, so every typo is an instant bug. Kind of like Fortran 66. I guess we have to re-learn certain lessons every generation or two.

Anyway, Javascript is free and seems to be catching on. It's kinda cool / kinda scary. It's good for making web pages do tricks. Java is more of a real programming language, and is not related to Javascript.


This isn't really retrogression; what you're seeing is just the dichotomy between statically typed and dynamically typed programming languages. Like me, you seem to prefer statically typed languages; but many people feel statically typed languages require too much boiler-plate code, especially for small scripts, etc. They have a point; there is, for example, a huge amount of redundancy in Java code in terms of specifying types. I, however, am willing to pay the price of extra verbosity if it enables the compiler to find certain types of errors in my code, especially for larger applications. And there are statically typed languages (e.g. Scala, ML, Haskell) that have good type-inferencing (Java is very limited in this regard), which often allows one to (optionally) omit explicit type information.

#19 lifebuddy

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:12 AM

C++ is an excellent intro to computer programming and is highly recommended. It can be a little complex to get started on your own, so I do recommend the minor. However, unless you are preparing to enter into a career that requires programming, I wouldn't bother. Focus on your biochem. Computer programming is a lifetime of work, just like biochem is.

#20 Connor MacLeod

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

Here's a course on the "R" programming language which just started on Coursera:

https://www.coursera...course/compdata

You can still sign up. This would be a good language to learn for anyone who works with data. It is very commonly used in both academia and industry.

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#21 Suirsuss

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 02:04 AM

yo intro to computer sceince taught by the head of the CS division at pretty much the top school (MIT). Edx.org 6.00x This semester is nearly completed and i assume it will be on next semester. Language taught is python but its not just programming its a computer sceince course.




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