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Advice before university: Computer science degree for web desing/development? Watch

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    Hi, I 'm new to this forum so not sure if posting in the right section...


    I am currently a college student and I am planning to go to university this September, to study computer science.


    I am quite passionate and enjoy working with stuff like web design and digital graphics. I have mostly learned the skills and knowledge of HTML and CSS independently in my spare time as I found a lot of interest towards it. I also have a lot of skills in using Photoshop- creating logos, editing photos etc.which I really like. College studies have also helped me to develop my skills and knowledge in these areas further.


    I also find interest towards programming/ coding such as PHP for web development- which I have recently started learning/exploring the basics of. And other stuff such as software programming in visual basic which I have started learning in college.


    In the future I want to be a web designer and developer as I really like both of the subjects.


    As I hear and read a lot that in web design/development a lot of people are self thought and in some cases university degrees and not that important. As I have already achieved a lot of my skills in this area through self-learning based on my own interest I guess I would do fine. From the other side people keep telling me that with a degree it is much easier to build a career and earn a decent wage.


    So I really need advice for what I should do. If I was not to go to university what would the down sides be and vice versa.
    What are your thoughts/advice?
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    (Original post by al3ks)
    Hi, I 'm new to this forum so not sure if posting in the right section...


    I am currently a college student and I am planning to go to university this September, to study computer science.


    I am quite passionate and enjoy working with stuff like web design and digital graphics. I have mostly learned the skills and knowledge of HTML and CSS independently in my spare time as I found a lot of interest towards it. I also have a lot of skills in using Photoshop- creating logos, editing photos etc.which I really like. College studies have also helped me to develop my skills and knowledge in these areas further.


    I also find interest towards programming/ coding such as PHP for web development- which I have recently started learning/exploring the basics of. And other stuff such as software programming in visual basic which I have started learning in college.


    In the future I want to be a web designer and developer as I really like both of the subjects.


    As I hear and read a lot that in web design/development a lot of people are self thought and in some cases university degrees and not that important. As I have already achieved a lot of my skills in this area through self-learning based on my own interest I guess I would do fine. From the other side people keep telling me that with a degree it is much easier to build a career and earn a decent wage.


    So I really need advice for what I should do. If I was not to go to university what would the down sides be and vice versa.
    What are your thoughts/advice?
    Well my mate worked for a web designing company while doing his a-levels and last year of gcse. He took a year out of his course at Imperial to get his business running.

    To be fair, if you may need the degree to some extent if you don't go into web designing, otherwise get some work now, make a portfolio, etc
    Another thing is the degree I do has most of the computer science program modules, half way through and I have done only one module on web designing.
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    In all honesty you should probably be seeking some professional help, have you tried contacting connexions? as they can help guide you down the right path.

    Now if you want to go in to Uni, then based on what you have said you enjoy I wouldn't recommend Computer Science, as that is more Science Theory with the optional modules for Web Development, Computer Forensics etc (Well it is at my uni anyway, could vary for others).

    There are some Unis which do degrees such as Digital Media and Web Development degrees, which I guess would help you, and I guess you would enjoy doing it and learning new skills as your interested in this area anyway, only thing with a degree is that web development is changing so quick, by the time you have graduated a majority of the stuff you have learnt whilst useful, will be old and probably not very useful in a few years.

    I think if you could find an apprenticeship then that could give you the professional skills and experience companies will be looking for, and plus you will be earning money at the same time, but I would personally speak to someone at connexions, who most likely knows all about this kind of stuff.

    Either way, best of luck!
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    Web 'Development' a.k.a. fancy title for playing with markup - Degree is not required but don't expect decent money. A portfolio to showcase your abilities can suffice, but of course, a degree will enable you to find work easier / proper wages
    Programming that actually requires a brain (not PHP or VB) - Degree is preferable / mandatory for jobs that actually pay a sensible salary

    Blunt answer for easy & common question
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    (Original post by NX172)
    Web 'Development' a.k.a. fancy title for playing with markup - Degree is not required but don't expect decent money. A portfolio to showcase your abilities can suffice, but of course, a degree will enable you to find work easier / proper wages
    Programming that actually requires a brain (not PHP or VB) - Degree is preferable / mandatory for jobs that actually pay a sensible salary

    Blunt answer for easy & common question
    A Blunt answer but well put.

    Additionally a degree course might not teach you all you need to know, however it will teach you (or at least give experience of) other things that will help a lot in a career. Things such as UI Design, process modelling, Project management, Working in a team, code management.
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    A strong, reputable degree on top of your interest in web design will take you pretty far, if you balance the possible productive synergies you may gain from the two (or three or more).

    If you are truly interested, you will take the initiative and discover using a search engine what you need to know, and forums like this are helpful when you receive the appropriate advice.

    I began my foray into web development and software development in general four years before entering university, and I then studied an information systems degree at a reputable university, a degree that combined business and information technology, covering IT project management, software (web) development, and a wide array of modules to give the student incredible breadth, which is exactly what a web developer needs in order to understand his or her clients' business sectors. However, I then did what I wanted to do, which was to study law. Contrary to virtually most people's reactions when I state I did this, I did not make a "change" or a "switch". You never let go of what you have done before as you go forward if you found utility in what you did before. I will be working as a trainee solicitor at a law firm from this year, although I have been developing software for the past 12 years and making websites for the past 14. Along with my business partners, I now run a website development business, with my own staff, and I direct the staff based on my experience gained over the years, and going into becoming a solicitor, the IT skills I am able to make use of are priceless: lawyers work with information on a regular basis, so as lawyers require good general professional and legal reasoning skills, knowledge of IT and how to use IT creatively to solve legal problems will be a very useful asset.

    In the next five years, having just general skills and non-technical skills will not suffice in the ever-evolving job market. Having additional transferable skills is an absolute must, and I know from now on in my own business that I would rather hire a multi-skilled professional than anyone else. Assuming they meet the initial job requirements, applicants with more will offer more value. Therefore, I would advise not to put all of your eggs into one skill set basket.
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    Thanks guys for your feedbacks, really appreciate it.
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    (Original post by NX172)
    Web 'Development' a.k.a. fancy title for playing with markup - Degree is not required but don't expect decent money. A portfolio to showcase your abilities can suffice, but of course, a degree will enable you to find work easier / proper wages
    Programming that actually requires a brain (not PHP or VB) - Degree is preferable / mandatory for jobs that actually pay a sensible salary

    Blunt answer for easy & common question
    Oh please. Is there any need to be so snobbish? I don't think so. If you think building websites doesn't require a brain, try coding up a complete replica of TSR in a few days. Good luck.

    OP, a degree isn't going to help you in a practical sense with web development, but having a degree is likely to open doors for you and will also offer more "roundedness" to your knowledge, if that makes sense. Computer Science is generally very theoretical and you certainly don't need the knowledge in it to build good websites, but having that theory in your brain is no bad thing, and is likely to help you out in what might otherwise be a sticky situation.

    Of course, you could also go for a degree in something different that takes your interest, and work on your programming skills on the side. Three years at uni should give you plenty of chances to get knowledge and experience building websites.
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    (Original post by Dez)
    Oh please. Is there any need to be so snobbish? I don't think so. If you think building websites doesn't require a brain, try coding up a complete replica of TSR in a few days. Good luck.
    .
    TSR isn't bespoke, it's based on existing code with a custom theme, so it would probably take about 2-3 days.

    HTML and CSS isn't programming, it's XML content with styles assigned via the CSS. Even adding in PHP/JavaScript web dev never becomes overly difficult compared to writing low-level native code such as ASM or C.



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    (Original post by DanielTomlinson)
    Even adding in PHP/JavaScript web dev never becomes overly difficult compared to writing low-level native code such as ASM or C.
    I would disagree with that, It's possible to write complex applications using the likes of PHP and Javascript and writing good code with them requires the same skills needed for C and other languages. A lot comes down to using the right tool for the job.

    Yes, HTML and CSS are only markup/styling languages but they are important to know about for anyone doing web development, so for someone going into web development they are a good first step.
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    (Original post by DanielTomlinson)
    TSR isn't bespoke, it's based on existing code with a custom theme, so it would probably take about 2-3 days.

    HTML and CSS isn't programming, it's XML content with styles assigned via the CSS. Even adding in PHP/JavaScript web dev never becomes overly difficult compared to writing low-level native code such as ASM or C.



    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    And because it isn't programming, means it isn't difficult? Have you ever tried it yourself? It's very easy to dismiss something as easy until you actually knuckle down and work at it. Until you actually do, I'd recommend avoiding the snobbery, personally.
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    (Original post by Dez)
    Oh please. Is there any need to be so snobbish? I don't think so.
    I actually think his comment was spot on. It wasn't so much snobbish as direct - the two ares require relatively distinct skill sets and knowledge.

    (Original post by DanielTomlinson)
    TSR isn't bespoke, it's based on existing code with a custom theme, so it would probably take about 2-3 days.

    HTML and CSS isn't programming, it's XML content with styles assigned via the CSS. Even adding in PHP/JavaScript web dev never becomes overly difficult compared to writing low-level native code such as ASM or C.
    (Original post by Dez)
    And because it isn't programming, means it isn't difficult?
    I actually think that Daniel is likely correct that it would take a programmer only a few days to add the front end functionality for a site like TSR, obviously there may be back end database stuff happening - BUT, I think that the main difference between a web designer and programmer is how it would be presented to the user, most programmers could produce the capability but not the aesthetics, i know that was the main issue i had with web dev.
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    (Original post by Alexgadgetman)
    I actually think his comment was spot on. It wasn't so much snobbish as direct - the two ares require relatively distinct skill sets and knowledge.





    I actually think that Daniel is likely correct that it would take a programmer only a few days to add the front end functionality for a site like TSR, obviously there may be back end database stuff happening - BUT, I think that the main difference between a web designer and programmer is how it would be presented to the user, most programmers could produce the capability but not the aesthetics, i know that was the main issue i had with web dev.
    There's no question that the two areas need different skills, I just contest that one is entirely more difficult than the other -- both have their own challenges, and building TSR is certainly more than two day's work. That sort of trivialising I find to be nothing more than snobbery, really.

    But that's just my opinion. Going to run away from this thread now as it's getting massively off-topic. :flybye:
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    (Original post by Dez)
    And because it isn't programming, means it isn't difficult? Have you ever tried it yourself? It's very easy to dismiss something as easy until you actually knuckle down and work at it. Until you actually do, I'd recommend avoiding the snobbery, personally.

    Actually, I happen to have been running a business doing this sort of stuff since I was about 10, I actually started teaching myself aged 8, although for the past couple of years I've cut back on web stuff and gone pretty much solidly native stuff (mostly iOS)


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    (Original post by Dez)
    There's no question that the two areas need different skills, I just contest that one is entirely more difficult than the other:
    I wouldn't necessarily disagree, one is difficult conceptually, the other practically. I find the theoretical one easier than the practical, depends on the person I 'spose.

    (Original post by DanielTomlinson)
    Actually, I happen to have been running a business doing this sort of stuff since I was about 10,...for the past couple of years I've cut back on web stuff and gone pretty much solidly native stuff (mostly iOS)
    :ahee:
    This made me chuckle.
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    (Original post by DanielTomlinson)
    Actually, I happen to have been running a business doing this sort of stuff since I was about 10, I actually started teaching myself aged 8, although for the past couple of years I've cut back on web stuff and gone pretty much solidly native stuff (mostly iOS)


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    I appreciate your wide knowledge on web design, but I've never seen someone so snobbish. Lots of people get good salaries for doing these kind of jobs, and most of them still are incredibly humble.

    I've been doing web design since I was 14 (never too late), not professionally (as in I haven't opened a business, unless it means I have to open a business to be successful in web design?), but I've done a few proper CSS3/XHTML/PHP websites that have been in use for gaming, and for instance virtual airlines in Flight Simulation, and still I ought to think that CSS, PHP can sometimes become complicated. I'd like to add that scripting and design is often a lot of experimentation, this padding's that, this code doesn't run or do what intended... so on.

    I find HTML the only easy straw to pull. Not saying CSS is hard, it's in fact easy, but the more creative you try to become, the harder it gets.

    P.S - Business at 10. Name:  stevethisis********-meme-generator-guys-this-is-********-a1f218.jpg
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    (Original post by DanielTomlinson)
    HTML and CSS isn't programming, it's XML content with styles assigned via the CSS. Even adding in PHP/JavaScript web dev never becomes overly difficult compared to writing low-level native code such as ASM or C.
    Comparing the difficulty of programming languages is rather absurd. For a start, the core principles do not vary. Further, where low-level languages see you working with concepts like manual memory management, higher-level languages force you to grasp large-scale architectures and complex frameworks, which - to be a vaguely decent programmer - you must have low-level knowledge of anyway.

    Frankly, your views are incredibly naive and betray what is quite obviously a lack of actual knowledge to support your inflamed opinions. About right for a 16-year-old boy.
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    It depends on the degree I suppose, but they don't seem to include a lot of HTML/PHP, my Computing Degree at Uni. of Leicester included 3 modules of web development over the three years, perhaps you should look for a more specific degree, I remember Loughborough Uni used to do a web development degree, not sure if they still do though.

    Best advice is probably to go to open days and ask the staff there about the content of their degree programs.
 
 
 
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