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My sister is planning MSc CompSci conversion with no math and humanities bachelor AMA watch

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    (Original post by Profesh)
    The fundamental problem here is that your sister is less numerically adept than I am, and I would sooner take a hot bath with a cold razor than endure even one semester of an 'employable' computing course. Naturally, shoring up decent non-STEM credentials—such as your sister currently holds—with a postgraduate qualification that included software engineering and data analysis would showcase rare intellectual breadth if she could excel, but since she ostensibly loathes maths and VBA/spreadsheets is hardly the sole preserve of esoteric scholarly research, 'liberal arts prestige' combined with assiduous networking and a portfolio of 'hard' skills in the aforementioned key areas would seem a more viable approach.
    But there will always be more jobs for people with computing skills than there will ever be supply of graduates. Do you not think that, hypothetically, if she was to finish the conversion course (one of those outlined above) she would still have a career boost in literally every other field. Or is that not the case?
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    (Original post by Profesh)
    The fundamental problem here is that your sister is less numerically adept than I am, and I would sooner take a hot bath with a cold razor than endure even one semester of an 'employable' computing course. Naturally, shoring up decent non-STEM credentials—such as your sister currently holds—with a postgraduate qualification that included software engineering and data analysis would showcase rare intellectual breadth if she could excel, but since she ostensibly loathes maths and VBA/spreadsheets is hardly the sole preserve of esoteric scholarly research, 'liberal arts prestige' combined with assiduous networking and a portfolio of 'hard' skills in the aforementioned key areas would seem a more viable approach.
    Do you regard any of the conversion courses employable? There are some fantastic employment prospects outlined on the websites. Let's hypothetically assume that my sister manages to complete one of these, is it not the case that it will boost her employability more than any other 'liberal arts prestigious degree'? Not just in computing-related jobs, like programming, but in something like accounting, which also involves a computer. This is because the demand for computing skills like SQL, JavaScript etc will never be satisfied.

    (Original post by Klix88)
    Then I would suggest that you back off and allow your sister to make her own decisions.
    *

    It may surprise you to know that experts in that field are correct. My only maths qualification is a grade B GCSE equivalent and I spent 20+ very successful years in the IT industry. Being good at maths does not mean that you will be competent with computers. Likewise a lack of mathematical aptitude does not mean you'll be bad at computers.


    You are wrong.


    Wrong again. Programming is more akin to pure logic and therefore has more in common academically with philosophy than maths.

    Seriously, back off. You don't know what you're talking about and your sister would be much better off without your interference, however well meaning.*
    Thank you for that point of view and for your contribution. I am just really worried, this is why I have made this thread. She asks me for advice all of the time. So you do think she can do one of the conversion courses, complete it successfully, and get a computing job?
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    I really hope you are going to show your sister this thread. Given that it's advice that concerns her, she should see it.*

    Conversion courses exist in subjects like Law, Psychology and Computing because there is a demand for them. In the case of the first two, the demand comes more from the student than it does from employers. There isn't much of an economic demand for law and psychology conversion degrees because there is an abundance of people with their first degrees in those subjects anyway. Make a few adjustments for the fact that there is some demand for people with exceptional skills or knowledge in their first discipline or work experience who would add value to the basic skills of a psychology or law graduate, but the majority of demand still comes from students.*

    Not so with computer science or IT. The demand for conversion courses comes primarily from employers because they know they can't recruit enough fresh graduates. They also recognise the increased value that people from other backgrounds can add to the roles they are trying to fill. There will be a job at the end of it for her if she wants it.*

    Ultimately, it comes down to what she wants to do. Just let her get on with it.*
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    (Original post by giella)
    I really hope you are going to show your sister this thread. Given that it's advice that concerns her, she should see it.*

    Conversion courses exist in subjects like Law, Psychology and Computing because there is a demand for them. In the case of the first two, the demand comes more from the student than it does from employers. There isn't much of an economic demand for law and psychology conversion degrees because there is an abundance of people with their first degrees in those subjects anyway. Make a few adjustments for the fact that there is some demand for people with exceptional skills or knowledge in their first discipline or work experience who would add value to the basic skills of a psychology or law graduate, but the majority of demand still comes from students.*

    Not so with computer science or IT. The demand for conversion courses comes primarily from employers because they know they can't recruit enough fresh graduates. They also recognise the increased value that people from other backgrounds can add to the roles they are trying to fill. There will be a job at the end of it for her if she wants it.*

    Ultimately, it comes down to what she wants to do. Just let her get on with it.*
    Thanks for that. I'm trying to get as much information as possible in order to be able to make the best of advice - she asks me for advices all of the time and nearly every conversation that we have leads to us discussing her choices.

    Do you think she would be able to cope with the content of any of the aforementioned MSc conversion courses, and then would be able to perform in an IT job, giving her level of math?
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    That's for an admissions team and employers to decide isn't it?
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    (Original post by Computer Geek)
    Somewhat reliable, I wouldn't say you should bank her future on them though, they are also shot in America, where jobs and the CS ecosystem is very different to how it is internationally. Computer Science is taught very differently in the US, I think only Imperial College in the UK comes close to how the US like to teach it.

    Never believe the absolute lie that you can do computer science without maths. It's completely ambiguous and while its not possible to do computer science without maths, you don't have to be good at maths to do computer science. You just have to be very hard working, and you have to enjoy solving problems, otherwise you end up demotivating yourself naturally.

    By hardworking I'm saying she'll probably have to spend 5-6 full hours every single day working on her maths until she's caught up with everyone else, if she manages to catch up. Now she can skip bits she doesn't need, such as most of A Level Mechanics, most of A Level Stats, some of A Level Decision and some of A Level Core.
    Just being nosey but could you explain how computer science is different in the US compared to here and how is Imperial similar?


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    (Original post by thad33)
    Just being nosey but could you explain how computer science is different in the US compared to here and how is Imperial similar?


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    By the US, I was referring to Ivy League schools and the top private institutions in the US, and some of the top public universities. A lot of the other US universities have the same impracticality problem with their CS degrees as what most of the UK's universities have. Not all universities in the UK have what Imperial has, and it really shows in graduate starting salaries: http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/subjec...eturnTo/Search

    As you can see, Imperial has a AVERAGE graduate starting salary of £38,000, which is a lot more than most university courses in the UK and any computer science course in Europe. This is because their degree is best suited to the tech industry, they don't teach you useless crap that no one will use afterwards. This means that Imperial College has a outstanding ability to produce GOOD software engineers and GOOD computer security experts. (FYI their range of salaries is £35,000.00 - £52,000.00 for 6 months after graduating, and these are official statistics, I know of Imperial College graduates on a lot more than £52,000 after a year of graduating)

    The US degrees are a lot better, a lot more rigorous, a lot more practical, most CS graduates in the US walk into $120k jobs whereas here most universities struggle to get over £21,000.

    I'd say after the top 10 universities in the UK for Computer Science or Engineering, you're going to struggle to find a first tech job that pays more than £21,000. Though being paid £21,000 doesn't seem to harm many people, some people are studying these degrees on the basis that they can access work which pays more than double that.
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    (Original post by Computer Geek)
    By the US, I was referring to Ivy League schools and the top private institutions in the US, and some of the top public universities. A lot of the other US universities have the same impracticality problem with their CS degrees as what most of the UK's universities have. Not all universities in the UK have what Imperial has, and it really shows in graduate starting salaries: http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/subjec...eturnTo/Search

    As you can see, Imperial has a AVERAGE graduate starting salary of £38,000, which is a lot more than most university courses in the UK and any computer science course in Europe. This is because their degree is best suited to the tech industry, they don't teach you useless crap that no one will use afterwards. This means that Imperial College has a outstanding ability to produce GOOD software engineers and GOOD computer security experts. (FYI their range of salaries is £35,000.00 - £52,000.00 for 6 months after graduating, and these are official statistics, I know of Imperial College graduates on a lot more than £52,000 after a year of graduating)

    The US degrees are a lot better, a lot more rigorous, a lot more practical, most CS graduates in the US walk into $120k jobs whereas here most universities struggle to get over £21,000.

    I'd say after the top 10 universities in the UK for Computer Science or Engineering, you're going to struggle to find a first tech job that pays more than £21,000. Though being paid £21,000 doesn't seem to harm many people, some people are studying these degrees on the basis that they can access work which pays more than double that.
    I see, are there any others in the UK on or near the same level?

    What needs to be done to reach that level?


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    (Original post by thad33)
    I see, are there any others in the UK on or near the same level?

    What needs to be done to reach that level?


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    Not on the same level as Imperial College, no, but there's a few that are close; UCL, Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick, Southampton, Edinburgh, Manchester (In that order) are all quite near to IC in terms of employability, but not as good.

    It's quite difficult to determine what can be done for universities to reach that level, sometimes it's not even possible.
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    Mathmatical ability goes hand-in-hand with computing science; I'm not doubting that. However, the range of jobs that a degree in CompSci (even a conversion course) is varied, and not all of them are going to require explicit mathmatical knowledge or ability. My brother has a humanities degree, did a CompSci converson course and, even though he 'only' has an A-grade at A-level (and hasn't done a lick of maths since), he is currently employed. Maths certainly helps, but if needing a knowledge beyond A-level was an explicit requirement of studying CompSci and getting a job, then Universities would be outright asking for it; as it stands, people are being accepted with A-level maths (or even lower), passing the course, and finding employment. Granted, they likely aren't going to work for highly technical companies writing programs that require high-level calculations, but there is still ample opportunity elsewhere.

    I'd say the significance of maths and programming is they both employ a similar mindset. You'll have the data (whatever it is) in one state, need to get it into another, and hence will have to abstract and visualize the steps required to get from point A to point B. Having a mind geared towards maths (as evidenced by good grades at A-level/degree) will help with programming, and if you have always struggled with maths, you might also find coding difficult. Ultimately though, more mathematical knowledge is always better, but inherent mathmatical skill is just as important - even if your job doesn't require you to program in-depth calculations, you will be relying on a similar mindset (really though, even a C at A-level indicates some aptitude, so I wouldn't be strictly worried).

    Honestly, she should go into programming because she enjoys it; sods to whether or not she has the right background or not. Far more important than maths is doing it for the love of it, and not because she wants a job - any job - because *then* she may really stuggle. Also, don't discount the importance of being willing to work your arse off. People always forget that.
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    (Original post by Computer Geek)
    Not on the same level as Imperial College, no, but there's a few that are close; UCL, Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick, Southampton, Edinburgh, Manchester (In that order) are all quite near to IC in terms of employability, but not as good.

    It's quite difficult to determine what can be done for universities to reach that level, sometimes it's not even possible.
    This conversation really diverged into Ivy League and Oxbridge CompSci. How is that relevant to my sister's dilemma about CompSci conversion course and potential employment. I don't think it is. If you could please go back and answer my previous questions.

    (Original post by FallenPetal)
    Mathmatical ability goes hand-in-hand with computing science; I'm not doubting that. However, the range of jobs that a degree in CompSci (even a conversion course) is varied, and not all of them are going to require explicit mathmatical knowledge or ability. My brother has a humanities degree, did a CompSci converson course and, even though he 'only' has an A-grade at A-level (and hasn't done a lick of maths since), he is currently employed. Maths certainly helps, but if needing a knowledge beyond A-level was an explicit requirement of studying CompSci and getting a job, then Universities would be outright asking for it; as it stands, people are being accepted with A-level maths (or even lower), passing the course, and finding employment. Granted, they likely aren't going to work for highly technical companies writing programs that require high-level calculations, but there is still ample opportunity elsewhere.

    I'd say the significance of maths and programming is they both employ a similar mindset. You'll have the data (whatever it is) in one state, need to get it into another, and hence will have to abstract and visualize the steps required to get from point A to point B. Having a mind geared towards maths (as evidenced by good grades at A-level/degree) will help with programming, and if you have always struggled with maths, you might also find coding difficult. Ultimately though, more mathematical knowledge is always better, but inherent mathmatical skill is just as important - even if your job doesn't require you to program in-depth calculations, you will be relying on a similar mindset (really though, even a C at A-level indicates some aptitude, so I wouldn't be strictly worried).

    Honestly, she should go into programming because she enjoys it; sods to whether or not she has the right background or not. Far more important than maths is doing it for the love of it, and not because she wants a job - any job - because *then* she may really stuggle. Also, don't discount the importance of being willing to work your arse off. People always forget that.
    Thank you for that informative answer, but again with maths she is struggling and is rather humble. How would you assess her chances of a) completing one of the MSc CompSci conversion courses outlined above and b) performing in real life IT jobs - I am not worried about her employability because actually the demand for CompSci will always outweigh the supply. I am just wondering what she could realistically do.
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    (Original post by William Pitt)
    Thank you for that informative answer, but again with maths she is struggling and is rather humble. How would you assess her chances of a) completing one of the MSc CompSci conversion courses outlined above and b) performing in real life IT jobs - I am not worried about her employability because actually the demand for CompSci will always outweigh the supply. I am just wondering what she could realistically do.
    Maths helps, I'm not going to deny that, but it really isn't the be-all and end-all. People get through conversion courses with only GCSE level knowledge; remember, conversion courses are built for people from all bakgrounds, not just hardcore STEM subjects. So long as she is willing to put the effort in, she will get through it.

    Again, the reason why maths is a favoured subject to have isn't so much it being an inherent requirement of being a programmer, but because it's a good indicator that someone is suited to the subject. Admittedly, maths and CompSci are a very powerful combination - a maths background will open up way more job possibilities for a programmer - but there is still non-mathsy jobs out there

    As to getting through it, she will be fine. Most employers taking on CS graduates realize they aren't fully-fledged programmers and will offer additional training. Sure, the pay in these roles is crappy (~20K, if that), but they are a good stepping stone to higher paying work - at which point, having actual experience in programming will far, far, far outweigh not being a mathematician.

    The only thing I would suggest to anyone thinking of studying CS is to spend some time coding before comitting yourself to the career change - find out if you're suited to it proactively. I can promise you that someone with a GCSE C grade in maths who loves the subject and has the passion to work hard will fare better than someone with a degree who couldn't care less, only doing it to stave off the 'real-world' for a year. I think people don't always realize how boring and monotonous coding can be for someone not suited to it.
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    (Original post by William Pitt)
    It is me who needs some questions answered, especially from STEM and CompSci people / people already in programming or other IT jobs, but you can also ask me anything.

    To keep this short and concise: I have a sister who has just graduated from a top 6 universities in the UK with 2:1 in a very soft subject.

    She is planning to do masters straight away and holds a number of offers. Among these are offers for further soft subjects in Ivy League in the US (but when I say soft, I mean soft - like cultural studies), some MSc from business schools - like HR, and then she has those offers for MSc Computer Science from Bristol and Birmingham or Kent (I forgot) all of which are available and accessible to people such as she.

    Now, I want my sister not to be a loser. I want her to be self-reliant, strong and independent. She is, however, bad at math. She is somewhere between the Grade B GCSE mathematics and grade C AS level. I must be honest - I don't know whether she is just not very motivated or simply not capable of doing it. I personally had to work very hard on math.

    Is Computer Science conversion worth it in her case? She spoke to couple of admissions tutors / lecturers and they said maths is not really necessary in those courses and that you can do many full or semi-IT jobs with little to no math.

    What do you think? What about things like Java, C++, can you do that without math? I don't think so. Software engineering sounds like discrete math, and hardware = a lot of physics / electrical engineering.
    There is a lot of Math involved, I'm guessing it will be a 2 year masters degree as opposed to some of the 1 year integrated ones?

    The reason I'm asking is that theres a plethora of things to learn when it comes to CS, I don't think 1 year study would actually make her employable in this field.
 
 
 
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