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CS or IT- Which is better to major in?

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CS or IT- Which is better to major in?

Old 08-21-06, 04:07 AM
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CS or IT- Which is better to major in?

Lately, I have been thinking about going back to college. The computer field is one potential area I am interested in. 10 years ago when I was in high school, I kept hearing all this talk about how Computer Science was the way to go and that there would be tons of future career prospects for CS majors. Nowadays, I don't hear so much about CS. Instead, IT appears to be the current fad. Which would be better to major in? Also, what exactly is the difference between CS and IT? From what I have seen CS seems to be mostly programming, but I don't know anything about IT.
Old 08-21-06, 04:17 AM
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What do you want to do with computers?
Old 08-21-06, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jrobinson
What do you want to do with computers?
I really don't know yet. I was just thinking that I would take several different classes my first semester and would hopefully find something that I clicked with. I did take a basic C++ class in high school. It was fun for a class, but I am not sure I would want to do programming as a life-long career.
Old 08-21-06, 05:08 AM
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If you feel like programming menial tasks over and over again for your first year or so, do CS. If you feel like being "Nick Burns, Computer Guy" at your local office setting, go for IT.
Old 08-21-06, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by taffer
I really don't know yet. I was just thinking that I would take several different classes my first semester and would hopefully find something that I clicked with. I did take a basic C++ class in high school. It was fun for a class, but I am not sure I would want to do programming as a life-long career.
How's your math? Do you think you could survive calculus? If you go the CS route, you are going to have to take calculus, and perhaps linear algebra, discrete structures, differential equations, and so on. Computer science is a lot more abstract and theoretical than an IT degree. So, there's that to consider. IT is more hands-on and is more business/customer oriented.

Also, just because you get a degree in CS, you are not limited to just being a programmer. There is research and teaching with advance degrees, as well having a degree in CS you can still get jobs in "information technology". It depends on what you want to do and how you develop your skillsets.

What you should do is find a local community college, take some introductory level courses and see how well it clicks and what you like best.
Old 08-21-06, 07:27 AM
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as others mentioned.. it depends on what you want to do with it.. If you plan to get into programming (which it doesnt sound like you do).. then you should definitly go with CS.

otherwise, there are different 'IT' fields..

I got my bachelors degree in MIS (Management Information Systems) and will eventually also go ahead and get an MBA.. because my plans are to go up the management ranks.
Old 08-21-06, 07:50 AM
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If your going back to College don't waste your time majoring in CS or IT. Instead get some T and A
Old 08-21-06, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by M2theAX
If your going back to College don't waste your time majoring in CS or IT. Instead get some T and A

In spirit, I heartily agree. Do NEITHER - pick something else!

( I've been there, done that )
Old 08-21-06, 09:02 AM
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I was an English major in college... but then again, I took a fairly abstract path to becoming a computer programmer.



You may want to consider looking into some place like TechTrain or ECPI. Much faster route to getting into the field.
Old 08-21-06, 09:11 AM
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I've been programming for over 20 years and I would not recommend to anyone to go into programming for a career.
Outsourcing pretty much destroyed it.
Old 08-21-06, 09:43 AM
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IMO - an MIS degree is a better way to go. How information systems work with business to make work more efficient will continue to grow and has a harder time being outsourced.

Take this comment in the correct context - it is imperative that you speak clear english if you want to go this route, so an english minor or communications minor is also something good to have.

but I hate programming - too boring - and as Struz said, way too easy to outsource (the same goes for Tier 1 tech support, but you got to start somewhere)

After almost two decades in IT - I would recommend you find something in the health care industry that floats your boat. That will see more growth and salary potential in the next 10-15 years than anything IT will.

Think about all those baby boomers getting older and older and older and all the money they are going to be spending on heathcare

Last edited by 4KRG; 08-21-06 at 09:52 AM.
Old 08-21-06, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by taffer
10 years ago when I was in high school, I kept hearing all this talk about how Computer Science was the way to go and that there would be tons of future career prospects for CS majors.
Ten years ago it was 1996. Don't go into the computer industry unless you want to, not because of the promise of an above-average salary.
Old 08-21-06, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by JANK
In spirit, I heartily agree. Do NEITHER - pick something else!

( I've been there, done that )

I recommend majoring in PARTYING DOWN.

How's your math? Do you think you could survive calculus? If you go the CS route, you are going to have to take calculus, and perhaps linear algebra, discrete structures, differential equations, and so on. Computer science is a lot more abstract and theoretical than an IT degree. So, there's that to consider. IT is more hands-on and is more business/customer oriented.

NERDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 08-21-06, 11:00 AM
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Stay away from IT. I have some friends who is certificated IT and they can't get any job anywhere.
Old 08-21-06, 11:22 AM
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if you are good, it doesn't matter what you major in. i have people right now that doesn't have college degrees, went through medical school but decided to become programmers, majored in philosophy, etc. and i've interviewed with people who have masters from top 10 schools who only recited back what they've read in their textbooks. my point is, don't get too hung up on what to major. take a few courses. find out what you LIKE to do AND that you are GOOD at.

outsourcing is definitely an issue. try not to pick something that's a dime a dozen. make yourself stand out. in your freetime, read and learn different technologies/languages. find a niche that's harder to outsource.
Old 08-21-06, 11:28 AM
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I've been working in IT off and on for 20 years and the best (hardest working, most talented, greatest assets, etc) people I've seen never had a degree in IT or CS. They usually had degrees in Statistics or other math, foreign languages, history, or engineering, if they had degrees at all. As noted by other Otters, if you plan to go the management route, MIS combined with something appropriate like business and/or communications would be a good bet.
Old 08-21-06, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by McHawkson
Stay away from IT. I have some friends who is certificated IT and they can't get any job anywhere.
But without knowing a 100 more details, this is meaningless.

There are plenty of people with certifications that I would never hire because they just appear stupid during an interview or their interpersonal skills SUCK.

The only thing a cert does for me is to add icing to the cake if they have one, it does not make or break the candidate.
Old 08-21-06, 10:39 PM
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Don't forget the most important aspect. It's who you know not what you know. I know it sucks but thats the way it is. Make contacts everywhere you go.
Old 08-22-06, 12:09 AM
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I, too, would recommend a more business-centric degree. If you want to get into tech do so as a minor and/or certifications.

That being said it largely depends on your goals and objectives.
Old 08-22-06, 12:11 AM
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P.S. And Kantonburg is right...the vast majority of the time it boils down to who you know.
Old 08-22-06, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by McHawkson
Stay away from IT. I have some friends who is certificated IT and they can't get any job anywhere.
your friends might want to try another location... the IT market is pretty good right now.. i know for a fact that in 2 of our major cities (huntsville and raleigh), we are losing IT people constantly because they keep moving on to higher paying jobs.. and i keep in contact with some of them.. and a few have moved on from their new job, to something better within the first year.. there are definitly more positions in these areas, than qualified applicants
Old 08-31-06, 07:20 PM
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I started off college doing programming classes in 1999. During this boom, that's all I heard: "Computers, computers, computers". I knew I was making a mistake, but I listened to everyone else and enrolled in the major. I did alright in the classes, but ended up quitting the major half way. It's just not something I would have wanted to do at all. I was miserable the entire time in college up until the point I switched. Everyday was as if death had come for a visit as I looked forward to the black screens again.

Everyone is going to have a class here and there they don't like. But, for me it was every class in the major. I took that as a big warning sign that I would be miserable in a career doing it. That just isn't good for anyone (yourself, employers, or anyone else). Of course this only applies to me. Some people really do like it.

Build off your strengths and develop communicational skills. Broaden your horizons and learn a multitude of skills. Think logically when it comes to picking a major, but don't pick something you will absolutely hate thinking it will make you money. If you hate it that much, you will likely perform poorly and look bad to employers anyways. Then what happens? Unemployment and much wasted time in your life.

Breakfast with Girls makes a good point. 10 years ago it was 1996; 10 years from now, it will be 2016. Chances are things will look very differently once again. Careers do go through fads and things change. All the more reason to build a multitude of skills, pick a major you at least moderately like, build off your strengths, and develop communicational skills (an asset to a vast multitude of occupations).

You are on the right track though. Ask all the questions you can, ask yourself if this is what you really want to do, make contacts, don't solely rely on the advice of others, and keep learning. Read books on occupations, read about them online, and maybe even take a career direction class that colleges offer (this may help you find your strengths, possibly career direction, etc.).

Healthcare would probably be a good profession if you feel you could do well in it. Another good choice would be to learn Spanish. Our country will likely look like a health center in Ecuador in the coming years (between all the old folks alone plus the immigrants).

Last edited by AllHallowsEve; 08-31-06 at 07:23 PM.
Old 08-31-06, 07:29 PM
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health care, dude. Become an RN and you'll never be without a job. Decent money, too.

Major in IT and your future is equivalent to the movie Office Space.

"Say... Taffer, how you coming with those TPS reports?"
Old 08-31-06, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by twikoff
I... will eventually also go ahead and get an MBA.. because my plans are to go up the management ranks.
heh heh heh ... I teach MBA classes. I will be especially evil to you.
Old 08-31-06, 07:42 PM
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CS can be very difficult and frustrating.
IT usually consists of slightly easier classes.

HOWEVER, why don't you consider something in business? it is much broader and you are more likely to find a job.

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