***Which Universities are Good in Computing/IT? Watch

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BossLady
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#41
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#41
(Original post by Alaric)
You can include it, but it's irrelevant at Cambridge because they don't award non-honours degrees.

I'm going to get a BA in compsci anyhow... crazy.

Alaric.
Sorry but what is the difference between a non-honours or an honours degree? (I'm sure I'm being stupid here, but hey you never learn without asking..)
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Dogtanian
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#42
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(Original post by Alaric)
That's true to an extent with me, I didn't even bother applying to Imperial because I didn't want to live in London mainly, but also because at the time cambridge was the only place doing a general computer security course. I've just checked the Imp lecture courses and they seem to have 'Network security' in the 4th year but it doesn't seem to cover that much in the broader sense that I'm interested in. The bonus of doing extra Physics in the first year also appealed more than just doing pure unadulterated compsci.
Cambridge isn't just algorithms and logic though, there's a lot to do with computer architecture, VLSI design, ECAD, electronics, structured hardware design, operating systems, concurrent systems et cetera et cetera.

Alaric.
It's partially true that Imperial doesn't teach hacking Or are you interested in cryptography?

Sorry if the impression I gave was that Cambridge concentrates exclusively on theory. I merely meant that the course there can be slightly more theoretical than some other places, and may be inaccurate in saying that. From the list you've given, perhaps it's more towards electronics --- almost none of that at Imperial (at least not in the Computing department). The Integrated Systems Engineering course here concentrates on that kind of stuff.

BossLady: I think that a non-honours degree may be awarded by some universities where it is felt that the academic achievement of the candidate doesn't warrant the award of honours. This may be the fault of the candidate (i.e., poor exams) or as a result of the degree not being of sufficient stature.

As for criticising UCL, this is standard practice, just as it is to do for medics. Perhaps you really are a banking type, but it isn't the best career. Sure, you might earn lots of money at first, but people generally get "burned out" by the age of 35. There's also a high level of pressure, long working hours and the work (at least when you first join) can be tedious.
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Dogtanian
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#43
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Did Cambridge lose their IEE accreditation? I knew that there was talk of it happening a few years back, but didn't find out how it went. No mention of it on their website, just BCS...
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Alaric
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#44
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(Original post by Dogtanian)
It's partially true that Imperial doesn't teach hacking Or are you interested in cryptography?
Please, cracking, . Pedantry aside I'm kind of interested in both, though to be a proper cryptographer I'd have probably needed to do Maths instead, the number theory I did in my first year seems a little basic and well... rusty.
Nowt wrong with cracking anyhow, as long as you do it to systems you own or are authorised to use. Obviously.

(Original post by Dogtanian)
Sorry if the impression I gave was that Cambridge concentrates exclusively on theory. I merely meant that the course there can be slightly more theoretical than some other places, and may be inaccurate in saying that. From the list you've given, perhaps it's more towards electronics --- almost none of that at Imperial (at least not in the Computing department). The Integrated Systems Engineering course here concentrates on that kind of stuff.
No, I think it's actually pretty balanced rather than heading one way or another. I can see that we probably do do more theory and less practical work, as some of it is theory of practical aspects of computers and we probably do more in the way of algorithms and functional stuff than other unis. Personally I'm not so keen on that stuff, but it doesn't bother me too much having to do it.

Alaric.
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Alaric
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#45
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(Original post by Dogtanian)
Did Cambridge lose their IEE accreditation? I knew that there was talk of it happening a few years back, but didn't find out how it went. No mention of it on their website, just BCS...
No idea!
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Alaric
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#46
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(Original post by BossLady)
One of the things that seriously put me off Cambridge lol. I don't see why you don't just do pure Comp Sci in the 1st year there, seems silly to waste time on physics or another nat sci option. Hmm as you can see I'm not really a fan of physics...
I like Physics so I didn't mind, it's also another good way of making friends with people who aren't compscis if you see what I mean ! Some of the maths was alright too, though I'd covered lots doing further maths. I wasn't impressed at them trying to teach me the Poisson distribution three times in a morning however... that was excessive. I find compsci fairly similar to the level of maths and physics being taught, it's intuitive like Physics in that respect.

I think I'm in the minority liking doing physics in the first year, maybe they should off the notion of spliting it with economics or management or something instead. *shrug*


Alaric.
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Dogtanian
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#47
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
Looking at the league tables the ranking goes

1 Cambridge
2 St Andrews
3 Southampton
4 Warwick
5 York
6 Bath
7 Imperial
8 Oxford
8 Bristol
10 Edinburgh

And looking at the raw data, edinburgh and surrey have the highest assessed research rating (with 5* As...a 5* based on 95-100% of their research staff) while St Andrews, Warwick, bath and bristol all achieve less than a 5* rating. Employment wise cambridge, st andrews and bath top the table.
Yes, but we've already discussed the limitations of subject-specfic league tables. Take, for example, St Andrews: in four years they cover about the same amount of material that we do in 2. (Not to discredit St Andrew's; their course is more liberal than others and is only BSc.) It's proposterous to suggest that their course is "better" than Imperial's in any academic sense.
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Dogtanian
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#48
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
My point wasn't to state that the overall ranking is worth anything - but to look at the underlying data.

For instance Imperial's employment rate - 80% - is far lower than you would expect for such a highly regarded course, especially one which is more vocational that that offered by Cambridge. And yet Cambridge, St Andrews and Bath all have employment rates of 95%, with Soton and Warwick at 90%...only Oxford and Edinburgh have such a low employment rate within the top 10. (This is the % of students in either graduate level employment or post-grad study - so it isn't that St Andrews graduates are all working in McDonalds).
I would never suggest that any of those universities lead to jobs in McDonald's. However, without more analysis it is hard to attach any value to these statistics. How, for example, do they account for overseas graduates returning to their home country? How do they account for graduates entering into compulsory national service? Have they sampled students studying on conversion-style MSc courses? What proportion of people enter jobs based on their degree? These are all relevant factors that must be established before being able to interpret these statistics.

(Original post by Pencil Queen)
Also the fact that of all the 5* rated departments in the top 10 only Edinburgh achieved that score on assessment of all it's researchers, the other 5* rated departments only submitted between 80-95% of their researchers for assessment and so could potentially exclude their not-too-good researchers from assessment in an attempt to boost their overall rating.
A better indicator of the research quality is the amount of EPSRC and other research money coming in to the department... Besides, how do you designate "researcher"? Most universities employ a few non-academics to teach a little bit of stuff like web-programming. Surely it would be a nonesense to include them in an assessment of research quality?
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Dogtanian
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#49
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#49
Fine. I accept that there is a flaw in comparison by EPSRC grant size, anyway, in that departments engaged in more mathematical (i.e., paper based) work will receive lower value grants.

Anyway, I really don't see how we got into this discussion. My initial criticism was of the ranking indicated by the league table you presented. Of course it has little value given that the teaching assessment is extremely old and probably ranks all these departments "excellent". If it were current, using the higher-resolution scale rather than just "Satisfactory, Good, Excellent", this should be the most important (if not, only) measure for deciding which is the best course as it gives a view of the academic community's opinion. I might still be unconvinced, however, of the validity of producing a total order of comparison over all departments.

I accept that the other underlying statistics may be of some value. I am unconvinced, though, that they are the most meaningful way of comparing departments. Imperial may have a high unemployment rate because there is little time to make job applications. Can, then, we rely on the assumption that better courses lead to better employment rates? In general, perhaps, but we must be sensitive to individual circumstances.
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J.S.
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(Original post by Dogtanian)
Fine. I accept that there is a flaw in comparison by EPSRC grant size, anyway, in that departments engaged in more mathematical (i.e., paper based) work will receive lower value grants.

Anyway, I really don't see how we got into this discussion. My initial criticism was of the ranking indicated by the league table you presented. Of course it has little value given that the teaching assessment is extremely old and probably ranks all these departments "excellent". If it were current, using the higher-resolution scale rather than just "Satisfactory, Good, Excellent", this should be the most important (if not, only) measure for deciding which is the best course as it gives a view of the academic community's opinion. I might still be unconvinced, however, of the validity of producing a total order of comparison over all departments.

I accept that the other underlying statistics may be of some value. I am unconvinced, though, that they are the most meaningful way of comparing departments. Imperial may have a high unemployment rate because there is little time to make job applications. Can, then, we rely on the assumption that better courses lead to better employment rates? In general, perhaps, but we must be sensitive to individual circumstances.

LOL, excuses! 20%...shocking, despite all the massive claims IC people make! The less said about their image all across London as being anti-social geeks the better
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Dogtanian
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#51
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#51
(Original post by J.S.)
LOL, excuses! 20%...shocking, despite all the massive claims IC people make! The less said about their image all across London as being anti-social geeks the better
Sure, but they're (we're) academic .. well, perhaps. Besides, the whole point of university isn't to get a job; it's to do a challenging, rigorous course.
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Dogtanian
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#52
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#52
Out of interest, how do you know so much about the league tables? It's quite impressive. Also, how familiar are you with the discipline (computing) in particular? I'm not seeking to undermine you, just interested...
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J.S.
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#53
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(Original post by Dogtanian)
Sure, but they're (we're) academic .. well, perhaps. Besides, the whole point of university isn't to get a job; it's to do a challenging, rigorous course.
It is partially, but certainly not the whole point of university, unless you're at Imperial, of course! lol
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Dogtanian
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#54
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
It's part of my job to know about league tables...and being more than a bit of a stats geek it's become a (admittedly very sad) obsession.

As for how familiar I am with computing - I'm very proudly a CS drop out - I studied "with comp sci" at Southampton for an entire semester before it became apparant that I'd missed some of the very basic principles that the straight CS and Electronics students had studied in modules that weren't part of my course (being only a meagre "with" student)...plus I came to the conclusion that programming doesn't suit my nature (I take it far too personally )...but despite being a drop out I still find the area interesting and try to follow developments in the field (although to some extent that's also part of my job).
Why on earth would people have jobs looking at league tables?

You should, then, accept that it is far more important to look at the academic content (e.g., syllabuses) of the course rather than statistics such as "employment rate". However, even though most courses' syllabuses are published on the web, it does take a good deal of experience in the subject to be able to interpret the nuance and compare them. Moreover, this will only lead to a qualitiative analysis (which you so patently disklike ). My feeling is that despite the extra "cost" of this, it is the only way of comparing the courses with any confidence. Do you ever go beyond the tables in this way?

Anyway, do you follow the academic side of computing or the more technological?
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eLdIablo
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#55
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#55
(Original post by Bigcnee)
I wasn't actually referring to your post at all - more to a general impression I get of the forum, as a whole.

I actually agree with the conclusion that you made about the forum...as an A-level student hoping to attend uni nxt yr..i was hoping that this site would be of use....which i have to confess it has been..but i havent failed to notice the attitudes of certain individuals, and them ranking universities in a rather unfair manner.

i am more than aware of the highly reputed universities like cambridge/oxford/ imperial.....but apart from these there are also other universities that are very good.....and i think people should get off their high horses for a sec and consider the worth of the ress of the universities.....and if a person does not attend any one of these uni's it does not mean that they are any less intelligent than anyone else....

i know many ppl who are highly intelligent who have refused to apply to such uni's because they felt that there were other universities that could offer them more....and as for the case of computer science...there are definitely more universities than the limited range ppl seem to giving....i know they feel they are being helpful....so im in no way trying to attack anyone in the forum!
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Dogtanian
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(Original post by eLdIablo)
i know many ppl who are highly intelligent who have refused to apply to such uni's because they felt that there were other universities that could offer them more....and as for the case of computer science...there are definitely more universities than the limited range ppl seem to giving....i know they feel they are being helpful....so im in no way trying to attack anyone in the forum!
Well, yes, of course there are many universities that you might term non-elitist offering excellent courses. When you take into account the "value added" aspect of them, it is possible that they might outperform the courses with established reputations that I've listed. I didn't list any such courses because I don't really know of any; this is a sign of my ignorance.

Essentially, this whole discussion has arisen from the fact that the term "best course" can be interpreted in so many ways: in academic terms, in getting a graduate job, in keeping a technical job, in terms of the extra money that you might earn through taking it, in giving a set of applicable skills, etc. My comments have related to the absolute academic sense, and should only be taken in this context.

My apologies if I have offended you by failing to suggest any other university. However, it is rather difficult to include all the universities offering good degrees, and the original question was asking for the "best" computing course.


PencilQueen: Finally I'm less confused Yes, of course the statistics can be interesting, but often the interest should be in the statistics themselves rather than the apparent implication.

Grid computing is very fashionable. My prediction is that there's going to be a lot of money in modelling distributed computation: how to do it optimally and how to fix the security holes Quantum computing, though, is the way forward.
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BossLady
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#57
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(Original post by Dogtanian)
Perhaps you really are a banking type, but it isn't the best career. Sure, you might earn lots of money at first, but people generally get "burned out" by the age of 35. There's also a high level of pressure, long working hours and the work (at least when you first join) can be tedious.
This is subjective. Admittedly I am more of an entrepreneurial type person but I think that a bank could be quite interesting because of the varied work in the future, obv you can't do this when u join. I guess what I REALLY don't want to do, is sit there coding the same ol' for the rest of my life...which I find quite stifling, I saw these graduates(from unis on levels 1) and 2) mentioned before) doing this in a firm once awhile back and although they were earning quite well as new grads(25k to 32k ish), I felt sorry for them. They had no ambition and didn't even care particularly what happened to their code. They were like robots...scary!
I think the people who get 'burned out' by like 35 are the ones that stay in similar positions for all of their time in that firm. I reckon the higher you rise, the more fun it gets and possibly more 'easier', because you're less expendable, have a better track record blabla. Also the city does attract me because I am quite interested in finance, economics etc.
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Dogtanian
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#58
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(Original post by BossLady)
This is subjective. Admittedly I am more of an entrepreneurial type person but I think that a bank could be quite interesting because of the varied work in the future, obv you can't do this when u join. I guess what I REALLY don't want to do, is sit there coding the same ol' for the rest of my life...which I find quite stifling, I saw these graduates(from unis on levels 1) and 2) mentioned before) doing this in a firm once awhile back and although they were earning quite well as new grads(25k to 32k ish), I felt sorry for them. They had no ambition and didn't even care particularly what happened to their code. They were like robots...scary!
I think the people who get 'burned out' by like 35 are the ones that stay in similar positions for all of their time in that firm. I reckon the higher you rise, the more fun it gets and possibly more 'easier', because you're less expendable, have a better track record blabla. Also the city does attract me because I am quite interested in finance, economics etc.
Yes, of course what I said was subjective. My impression is, though, that most people (though certainly not all) entering IT in banks go in to relatively mundane programming jobs --- similar to those offered by software companies. Given the hierarchical structure of banks, only a few will progress out of programming. If you enter into the financial side, as you indicated you might earlier, then perhaps there might be better opportunities.

When I started my degree, I thought that I might go in to banking or consulting, so opinions can change
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BossLady
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(Original post by Dogtanian)
Yes, of course what I said was subjective. My impression is, though, that most people (though certainly not all) entering IT in banks go in to relatively mundane programming jobs --- similar to those offered by software companies. Given the hierarchical structure of banks, only a few will progress out of programming. If you enter into the financial side, as you indicated you might earlier, then perhaps there might be better opportunities.

When I started my degree, I thought that I might go in to banking or consulting, so opinions can change
Yeah, I imagine I'll change my mind quite a few times before Ive finish my degree hehe.
Do you think a degree like this and from imp (which some people say is very geeky) makes you seem like "just a techie"? I mean I consider myself a person VERY interested in technology (ok crazy on it lol), but also with an interest in banking, finance, business etc etc and the way in which they interact with technology.
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Alaric
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As a response to El Diablo about other universities, I found it worrying when I was applying how many people I met on open days who'd only applied to TQA 'excellent' rated universities and those that are the most prestigious at that.
Very very quick summary of what I learnt about 4 others than Cambridge...
1) Warwick, seemed like a brilliant place. The size of SU buildings was good and the lab was brand new. They seemed to have a nicely balanced theory/practicality course. Consistently rated very well for compsci, and regarded as one of the best 'newer' universities. The offer they gave me was higher than Cambridge's though...

2) So'ton, reasonable. I was quite impressed by their lab esp their chip fab plant thing but it ultimately seemed too much in favour of EE and not as balanced as I'd have liked. I also decided to ask as awkward a question as I could muster in their little half hour 'interview' thing - "what's the absolute worst thing about coming to study here" - the answer put me off entirely (that was the lack of networked halls). I also wasn't very impressed with the campus (not uniform enough for my architectural tastes), and the union buildings. I hear from someone who has just graduated from there doing EE that both those main issues are now being resolved.

3) Exeter, fairly good if not too obviously out in the sticks. The campus seemed nice enough (they were renovating the compsci building whilst I was there), the halls seemed alright and the architecture was mixed but somehow more cohesive than So'ton's. Offer was pretty low so it became my insurance. I seem to remember regarding the course as average, and not really noteworthy.

4) Sussex, not for me somehow. The architecture is all modern(ish), and unashamedly so. they seemed very keen on aspects of computer science related to AI et cetera and I thought the course focussed too heavily on the software side. Wasn't very impressed with their accommodation, except that the person that showed us around her house was _very_ attractive :rolleyes:. Was quite happy with there being fields at the far end of the campus. I talked to the vice chancellor during the open day, nice chap, didn't realise why he had people offering to go and get him food until afterwards though. I forget what we talked about, I think it was the quality of the buildings and me, wasn't very deep stuff.

Not sure why I just wrote all that, but I suppose if anyone is thinking of applying they might find it interesting, please bear in mind that is 2 year old information now.

Alaric.
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