How does this compare to other computer science degrees? (Open University) Watch

mojos
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My goal is to get a MSc in machine learning or AI, or even a more general computer science focus.

Due to my current situation, I have a strong preference for studying with Open University.

http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/qualifications/q67-citm

I had a look at the courses which seems like a good fit and heres what I found. Computing & IT and Maths.

The "computing & IT" part sounds like more of a IT support role rather than programming but there are things like Data Structures, Algorithms, OOP. What looks like is missing is the cool stuff covered by other schools during the final year of the BSc like Machine Learning, AI, Robotics, etc.

Maybe I should get a BSc in Maths then get a Msc in Computer Science (i.e. UCL).

I feel very uncertain about this.

What are your thoughts?
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ByronicHero
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(Original post by mojos)
My goal is to get a MSc in machine learning or AI, or even a more general computer science focus.

Due to my current situation, I have a strong preference for studying with Open University.

http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/qualifications/q67-citm

I had a look at the courses which seems like a good fit and heres what I found. Computing & IT and Maths.

The "computing & IT" part sounds like more of a IT support role rather than programming but there are things like Data Structures, Algorithms, OOP. What looks like is missing is the cool stuff covered by other schools during the final year of the BSc like Machine Learning, AI, Robotics, etc.

Maybe I should get a BSc in Maths then get a Msc in Computer Science (i.e. UCL).

I feel very uncertain about this.

What are your thoughts?
Have you contacted several universities you are interested in to see if they think the degree would constitute sufficient preparation for their MSc? That is always a good place to start. I'm fairly confident you'd have no problem at most universities, but if you are targeting the top universities it is worth asking them their view to be sure.
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username3079870
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ByronicHero has some good advice. I've worked with someone who did their undegrad in Computing with the OU while working full time. They got offers to do postgrad in Russell group unis after the OU, so I wouldn't be concerned about that. In fact independent learning is stressed at postgrad, and you'll have a big head start compared to bricks and mortar undergrads in that regard.

I think you're being a bit harsh in terms of the "IT Support role". The OU software and computer science specialisms in Java and Java/Python (respectively) are what you'd learn on most CS degrees. The big difference is that in the degree you mentioned, you are sacrificing further learning in software engineering to do maths modules. If you love maths, great, but as I said in another thread recently one of the biggest myths in CS is that being good at maths = being good at CS. It's often not true at all (although it's possible to be good at both, it's rarer than you'd think).

For example, I've a background in Cyber Security. I've read a lot of academic research in cryptography written by a lot of brilliant mathematicians with PhD's in maths and cryptography for some of the best universities in the world. With all that said, many of them cannot code worth a damn. Some of the coding implementations of their algorithms are poor at best, and highly insecure at worst. Conversely, some of the best coders I've ever met have very ordinary mathematical ability.

There's a saying that a fox that chases two rabbits catches none. If you had an identical twin who started a degree in software engineering the same time you started a maths degree at the same uni, by the time you both graduated who do you think would be the better coder? And say that same twin goes in to industry while you do your CS conversion masters, who do you think will be a better coder after that year has passed (hint: it almost certainly won't be you).

If you love maths, do maths. If you want to become proficient in an area of CS or coding, focus on that and just that. If you HAVE to have a dual focus that combines maths and strong computational science principles, you should consider electrical engineering IMO as it fits them together pretty well at most unis.
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