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Should I get an MSC in Comp Sci or attend a hackers camp? Watch

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    So I was thinking £10,500 a year at UCL/Imperial for the MSC in Comp Sci (Conversion course - no BSC needed) or attend a hackers camp like General Assembly or Makers Academy (£8000-9000)

    What is the difference in finding a job or technical skills/breadth of experience?
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    I don't think many employers will want to employ you if you went to a hackers camp, sounds really dodgy IMHO :lol:
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    Just out of curiosity, what is your degree and classification? (if you don't mind me asking).
    I think there are lots of IT certifications available for much less cost (though also require lots of self learning), which may suffice if wanting to find employment in such a sector.
    Though, personally, the MSc shows you are serious about the field.
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    (Original post by lilypear)
    I don't think many employers will want to employ you if you went to a hackers camp, sounds really dodgy IMHO :lol:
    Hackers tends to mean "hack" as in "he hacked something together". You're thinking of crackers.
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    Do you have maths a level? I looked into UCL and they were quite strict with the conversion course. In terms of cost, if you want a career in computing then it's probably worth it.

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    (Original post by CJKay)
    Hackers tends to mean "hack" as in "he hacked something together". You're thinking of crackers.
    OH THAT KIND OF THING LMAO

    I thought he meant like making viruses and cracking things :lol:
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    Academic Internationally recognised qualification vs Vocational certificate by some company that may no longer exist in 12 months time and doesn't actually have a base line to measure against in industry or academia?

    I've done over 25 Microsoft technical exams and have their qualifications coming out of my ears, in academia they mean nothing and don't even qualify for APL.

    Do the MSc first and then the Hackers camp after you've started earning money or if you can do the MSc part time if you have a sensitive, kind, generous and amazing employer and save your money for add on courses. If you want to look at adding to your skills, I've started using something called Pluralsight which has different levels of subscription.
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    It's 12 months courses vs 12 weeks courses... if you end up learning about the same amount from them, either UCL/Imperial seriously suck, or the hacker camps are seriously amazing .

    £8000-£9000 for a 12 weeks thing sounds outrageous to me. It would only be £9600 to hire someone to teach you full time 1v1 for 12 weeks, at £20/hr.

    From some brief Googling, Maker Academy teaches just web design. That is a tiny part of CS.

    The truth is you can't learn all about CS in 12 weeks. If you can, what is everyone doing spending 3-4 years in university for CS undergrad?

    A MSc would give you a much better foundation, and is a no-brainer if they cost about the same (and you can get into both).
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    Thank you for the replies!

    I have Maths & Further Maths ALevels and 2:1 in Economics.
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    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    It's 12 months courses vs 12 weeks courses... if you end up learning about the same amount from them, either UCL/Imperial seriously suck, or the hacker camps are seriously amazing .

    £8000-£9000 for a 12 weeks thing sounds outrageous to me. It would only be £9600 to hire someone to teach you full time 1v1 for 12 weeks, at £20/hr.

    From some brief Googling, Maker Academy teaches just web design. That is a tiny part of CS.

    The truth is you can't learn all about CS in 12 weeks. If you can, what is everyone doing spending 3-4 years in university for CS undergrad?

    A MSc would give you a much better foundation, and is a no-brainer if they cost about the same (and you can get into both).
    Web design is not CS at all.
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    (Original post by decb24)
    Web design is not CS at all.
    That's debatable.

    Web design is essentially UI design. HCI (Human Computer Interaction) is quite a big field in CS.
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    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    That's debatable.

    Web design is essentially UI design. HCI (Human Computer Interaction) is quite a big field in CS.
    He probably meant web design is not programming.
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    (Original post by Harjot)
    He probably meant web design is not programming.
    It's descriptive instead of imperative, but I would say that's still programming.

    It's programming the browser to display a page as envisioned using a structured language, not unlike someone programming a GUI to render as envisioned on a screen, or a game to render a scene. Most UI code is written in imperative languages, but often in a way that is more descriptive than imperative.
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    This discussion is getting interesting, is CS programming then?
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    (Original post by absurdity69)
    This discussion is getting interesting, is CS programming then?
    CS is a lot of things. Traditionally, CS is not programming. It's the study of manipulation of data.

    Nowadays, programming is treated as the applied side of CS.

    If you do a conversion course, it will be 95% applied, so it will be mostly programming.
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    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    It's descriptive instead of imperative, but I would say that's still programming.

    It's programming the browser to display a page as envisioned using a structured language, not unlike someone programming a GUI to render as envisioned on a screen, or a game to render a scene. Most UI code is written in imperative languages, but often in a way that is more descriptive than imperative.
    It's not programming. You can NOT evaluate expressions or parse values. You can not implement an algorithm. Let's please not start an argument over this lol.

    Also, you are not "programming the browser". The browser has been programmed for you by someone else.


    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    CS is a lot of things. Traditionally, CS is not programming. It's the study of manipulation of data.

    Nowadays, programming is treated as the applied side of CS.

    If you do a conversion course, it will be 95% applied, so it will be mostly programming.
    Unfortunately again, I'd have to disagree about your first statement. Computer science is essentially the study of solving problems. To implement your solutions you need a programming language. Whatever side of computer science you do (if you regard CS as being split), you'll need to program.
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    (Original post by Harjot)
    It's not programming. You can NOT evaluate expressions or parse values. You can not implement an algorithm. Let's please not start an argument over this lol.

    Also, you are not "programming the browser". The browser has been programmed for you by someone else.
    When you are programming a conventional UI using a GUI library, the widget rendering code has already been programmed by someone else, the layout management code has already been programmed by someone else, and the low level primitive drawing code has also already been programmed by someone else.

    All you are doing is essentially placing widgets in layout containers in a window... not unlike web design. Programming it procedurally vs declaratively doesn't determine whether it's "programming" or not. In fact, the line is getting blurred all the time, with conventional UI design now done in declarative languages (XML), and being converted to procedural code before compilation by UI library tools. The Android SDK and Qt are 2 examples. I wouldn't be surprised if most modern UI libraries are like that now, those are just 2 I happen to be familiar with.

    The study of human-computer interactions is about how to present information to user in a way that is intuitive and efficient. There is a lot about CS that is not hardcore algorithm design.

    Unfortunately again, I'd have to disagree about your first statement. Computer science is essentially the study of solving problems. To implement your solutions you need a programming language. Whatever side of computer science you do (if you regard CS as being split), you'll need to program.
    That is way too broad of a definition IMHO.

    Waste water treatment plant design is also a study of solving problems (of waste water), and you can certainly do that without programming.

    CS is really about data and what you do with them. That could be algorithmically manipulating them, or making them easier for humans to interact with, through good UI design.

    Computer scientists use programming languages as tools like how astronomers use telescopes - programming is not the goal, just one of many tools.

    Traditionally CS has included very little to no programming. In fact, much of the current foundations in CS were developed before computers were even invented - cryptography, proofs (formal methods), automata theory, computability, information theory, etc.

    Alan Turing, the father of CS (and artificial intelligence in particular, but many many other things), did all he did without any computer.

    It's not just history either. Entry level (pre-uni and maybe first and second year) computer science education nowadays is mostly programming because that's the "sexy" side of computing that is attractive and practical. But as you go deeper into CS (late-UG or PG level), you'll find that there is actually very little programming.

    Most UG CS courses now include substantial programming because that is what gets people employed, but that is really just a part of what CS is all about.
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    Sorry, but I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you again.

    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    When you are programming a conventional UI using a GUI library, the widget rendering code has already been programmed by someone else, the layout management code has already been programmed by someone else, and the low level primitive drawing code has also already been programmed by someone else.
    That wasn't really my point. When you "program" something, you are always asking it to return a value or calculate something or respond to an action. You are talking about designing. Designing is NOT programming. You are not expressing statements that can be evaluated.

    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    All you are doing is essentially placing widgets in layout containers in a window... not unlike web design. Programming it procedurally vs declaratively doesn't determine whether it's "programming" or not. In fact, the line is getting blurred all the time, with conventional UI design now done in declarative languages (XML), and being converted to procedural code before compilation by UI library tools. The Android SDK and Qt are 2 examples. I wouldn't be surprised if most modern UI libraries are like that now, those are just 2 I happen to be familiar with.
    That is exactly what you are doing, which is not programming. It is not declarative or procedural programming. It's more like giving a shopping list to someone, rather than telling them where to buy it from and how. The line is only getting blurred because people are extremely confused by the definitions. UI DESIGN certainly can be done in XML, however understand that XML is simply a STANDARD for passing information rather than a language. It is definitely not a declarative language (look up what declarative languages are). Designing something involves simply storing the positions of items etc.. and so XML is perfectly acceptable for doing that, but I do not see how that makes it a programming language. The XML is NOT converted to "procedural" code - that makes no sense, since it's not even a language.

    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    The study of human-computer interactions is about how to present information to user in a way that is intuitive and efficient. There is a lot about CS that is not hardcore algorithm design.
    There is indeed a lot. But I do not think the study of human computer interactions is really computer science. That's really more of a psychology thing.

    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    Waste water treatment plant design is also a study of solving problems (of waste water), and you can certainly do that without programming.

    CS is really about data and what you do with them. That could be algorithmically manipulating them, or making them easier for humans to interact with, through good UI design.
    Exactly, and it is a problem that can be handed over to computer scientists to solve with an electronic and automated solution.

    Computer science is not about data, that is an aspect of it. UI design is an added bonus, and does not have much relevance in CS unless you are trying to sell your software. You could write a program that requires no data at all and still produces useful results (pseudo-random number generator?)

    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    Computer scientists use programming languages as tools like how astronomers use telescopes - programming is not the goal, just one of many tools.

    Traditionally CS has included very little to no programming. In fact, much of the current foundations in CS were developed before computers were even invented - cryptography, proofs (formal methods), automata theory, computability, information theory, etc.
    Correct, you use programming languages as tools to help solve the problem. "Traditionally", what you are talking about is maths. Some would go so far as to argue CS is maths (I do not). All of these things you talk about are maths, and nothing more, but useful is CS theory.

    (Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
    Alan Turing, the father of CS (and artificial intelligence in particular, but many many other things), did all he did without any computer.

    It's not just history either. Entry level (pre-uni and maybe first and second year) computer science education nowadays is mostly programming because that's the "sexy" side of computing that is attractive and practical. But as you go deeper into CS (late-UG or PG level), you'll find that there is actually very little programming.

    Most UG CS courses now include substantial programming because that is what gets people employed, but that is really just a part of what CS is all about..
    Alan Turing founded some of the basic ideas of computer science. It sounds a bit silly when you say that he did it without a computer because... well this is COMPUTER science...

    I know we are not going to see eye-to-eye on any of these things, so there is probably no point in arguing further lol.
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    (Original post by Harjot)
    That wasn't really my point. When you "program" something, you are always asking it to return a value or calculate something or respond to an action. You are talking about designing. Designing is NOT programming. You are not expressing statements that can be evaluated.
    That is, in essence, what the debate is about.

    That is exactly what you are doing, which is not programming. It is not declarative or procedural programming. It's more like giving a shopping list to someone, rather than telling them where to buy it from and how. The line is only getting blurred because people are extremely confused by the definitions. UI DESIGN certainly can be done in XML, however understand that XML is simply a STANDARD for passing information rather than a language. It is definitely not a declarative language (look up what declarative languages are). Designing something involves simply storing the positions of items etc.. and so XML is perfectly acceptable for doing that, but I do not see how that makes it a programming language. The XML is NOT converted to "procedural" code - that makes no sense, since it's not even a language.
    It's giving the shopping list to someone, with an understanding of how that someone will interpret it - in a very specific way.

    I would say a language IS a standard for passing information, and XML is most certainly a language. The name "XML" also agrees with me.

    XML can certainly be converted to "procedural" code. This is very common in modern UI languages.
    http://qt-project.org/doc/qt-4.8/des...le-format.html
    http://developer.android.com/guide/t...ng-layout.html

    The programmer would describe the UI in XML (widget here, button here, text here, etc), as well as constraints and relationships between them, and a tool converts it to say Java or C++ code that actually renders the UI as described in the XML. Modern GUI design is really a lot like web design.

    There is indeed a lot. But I do not think the study of human computer interactions is really computer science. That's really more of a psychology thing.
    It's a field that gets contribution from CS, psychology, biology, and neuroscience. It's not possible to put it into any one of those categories because it's a very inter-disciplinary field. It is still largely CS.

    Robotics is another application of HCI that is also intensely CS, but also takes significant contribution for all those other fields, in addition to electrical and mechanical engineering.

    Computer science is not about data, that is an aspect of it. UI design is an added bonus, and does not have much relevance in CS unless you are trying to sell your software. You could write a program that requires no data at all and still produces useful results (pseudo-random number generator?)
    Good software with bad interface is bad software. It doesn't have anything to do with selling the software or not. I use and contribute to quite a few open source projects, and they all have (or aim to have) good UI.

    An appropriate UI for a PRNG is a stream of numbers. That is not an appropriate UI for an image editor. The UI must match the use.

    Correct, you use programming languages as tools to help solve the problem. "Traditionally", what you are talking about is maths. Some would go so far as to argue CS is maths (I do not). All of these things you talk about are maths, and nothing more, but useful is CS theory.

    Alan Turing founded some of the basic ideas of computer science. It sounds a bit silly when you say that he did it without a computer because... well this is COMPUTER science...

    I know we are not going to see eye-to-eye on any of these things, so there is probably no point in arguing further lol.
    Sure, that is just a question of how you define CS. By your definition, almost all postgraduate and research work in CS is maths, but the fact that it's classified as CS seems to suggest that most people agree with my definition.

    Yes, more people doesn't mean more right in most cases, except in cases of definitions, when definitions are what most people believe/define them to be.

    Alan Turing died in 1954. The first commercially available computer was delivered to University of Manchester in 1951 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferranti_Mark_1). So he most certainly did not have access to a computer for most of his life, and he did zero or very minimal coding.

    By your definition it would make him a mathematician instead of a computer scientist. Which is fine. Many people see him (especially at that time) as a mathematician. He wrote many algorithms that were never actually implemented in a programming language until long after he died (of course, the only programming languages available at that time were machine codes of the computers since assembly languages weren't invented until quite a few years after his death).

    I still like to think of him as a computer scientist.

    Note that the word "computer" at that time meant something very different from the "computers" we have today.
 
 
 
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