frangipani19
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I have just completed my first year studying Computer Science and it's left me wondering whether I chose the right degree. I had never studied the subject prior to beginning university and it has been different from my expectations. I feel like I did not enjoy the majority of the content but I'm not sure if that's just because I felt the teaching at my university to be disorganised and uninspiring, which has led to me losing passion for the subject. I did enjoy some modules, but mainly the maths and more theoretical modules. I don't want to be a software engineer and that is the main career path people go into from computer science. I'm not really sure what other options I would have with a computer science degree? I think I would be more interested in scientific computing and modelling problems in physics through computing, but obviously I've never actually tried this so I can't be sure. I'm wondering whether switching to a physics degree and starting from year 1 again would be right for me, or if I would just end up disliking that too. I'm also interested in astrophysics and cosmology as I have read popular science books on these subjects, and those are not areas I could go into with a computer science degree.

Sorry that was long, really appreciate any advice offered.
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winterscoming
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Computer Science isn't just for software engineering, although that's obviously one a popular career pathway. As far as general computing-related careers are concerned here's a few other options, some of which are more programming-oriented than others:
  • Systems/Network/Infrastructure Engineer (i.e. networks, routers/switches, servers, O/S's, etc.)
  • Hardware engineer (crossover to electronics/robotics with more low-level programming)
  • Web Designer
  • Game Designer or 3D Graphics designer
  • Systems Tester / Quality Assurance
  • Business Analyst / Systems Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Data Scientist


It's a shame that poor teaching has turned you off the subject, so perhaps a switch to something else would help since you should ultimately choose to study the thing you enjoy most - if software engineering is a turn-off for you and you'd prefer a more maths-based course then you could ask your university whether they'd allow you to pick up the second year of a joint degree course, or whether you'd have any other options which don't involve starting again from scratch.

Alternatively, if the problem is that the teaching isn't very good, would you have the option to transfer to a different university? You don't want to end up being stuck with poor teaching on another degree. (Although obviously all universities put a heavy emphasis on self-study and self-learning, and the same is true in all university courses too, not just Computer Science, so don't assume the grass would necessarily be greener).

Lastly, don't worry if you only have vague ideas about what you'd want to do after graduating - having a good degree will open doors for you and keep your options open. Your priority should be to do whatever it takes to give yourself the best chances at getting a 1st by the time you graduate - which mostly means choosing to study things you enjoy. Remember that if you get to the end of your course with a decent degree classification then you could pick up a Masters to refocus on something different.
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frangipani19
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(Original post by winterscoming)
Computer Science isn't just for software engineering, although that's obviously one a popular career pathway. As far as general computing-related careers are concerned here's a few other options, some of which are more programming-oriented than others:
  • Systems/Network/Infrastructure Engineer (i.e. networks, routers/switches, servers, O/S's, etc.)
  • Hardware engineer (crossover to electronics/robotics with more low-level programming)
  • Web Designer
  • Game Designer or 3D Graphics designer
  • Systems Tester / Quality Assurance
  • Business Analyst / Systems Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Data Scientist


It's a shame that poor teaching has turned you off the subject, so perhaps a switch to something else would help since you should ultimately choose to study the thing you enjoy most - if software engineering is a turn-off for you and you'd prefer a more maths-based course then you could ask your university whether they'd allow you to pick up the second year of a joint degree course, or whether you'd have any other options which don't involve starting again from scratch.

Alternatively, if the problem is that the teaching isn't very good, would you have the option to transfer to a different university? You don't want to end up being stuck with poor teaching on another degree. (Although obviously all universities put a heavy emphasis on self-study and self-learning, and the same is true in all university courses too, not just Computer Science, so don't assume the grass would necessarily be greener).

Lastly, don't worry if you only have vague ideas about what you'd want to do after graduating - having a good degree will open doors for you and keep your options open. Your priority should be to do whatever it takes to give yourself the best chances at getting a 1st by the time you graduate - which mostly means choosing to study things you enjoy. Remember that if you get to the end of your course with a decent degree classification then you could pick up a Masters to refocus on something different.
Hi, thank you very much for your reply. I think the only jobs that appeal to me from that list are Data Scientist and cybersecurity. I don't hate all of computer science it's just that there are a very limited number of topics/modules that interest me. Do you think I would still be able to go into those sectors with a different STEM degree?

I don't mind too much starting from scratch as Student Finance allows for one change of course, but I would want it to be worthwhile. If I end up in another degree that I don't like it would have been a waste of money and time. Unfortunately my university is quite strict about transfers within computer science so if I wanted to stick with it I would have to go to another university. I could possibly transfer into physics at my university; it would be in a different department so the teaching might be better but obviously I can't predict.

I was also thinking that if I did a physics degree and decided it wasn't what I wanted, I could do a masters in something more computing related, but if I did computer science it limits my options with respect to physics-related masters. It's really hard to choose a course when I don't really know what my passion is or what kind of career I want, but at least I know I'm interested in maths and science so hopefully whatever I choose will allow me to follow a path I enjoy. Thanks for your advice
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winterscoming
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(Original post by frangipani19)
Hi, thank you very much for your reply. I think the only jobs that appeal to me from that list are Data Scientist and cybersecurity. I don't hate all of computer science it's just that there are a very limited number of topics/modules that interest me. Do you think I would still be able to go into those sectors with a different STEM degree?

I don't mind too much starting from scratch as Student Finance allows for one change of course, but I would want it to be worthwhile. If I end up in another degree that I don't like it would have been a waste of money and time. Unfortunately my university is quite strict about transfers within computer science so if I wanted to stick with it I would have to go to another university. I could possibly transfer into physics at my university; it would be in a different department so the teaching might be better but obviously I can't predict.

I was also thinking that if I did a physics degree and decided it wasn't what I wanted, I could do a masters in something more computing related, but if I did computer science it limits my options with respect to physics-related masters. It's really hard to choose a course when I don't really know what my passion is or what kind of career I want, but at least I know I'm interested in maths and science so hopefully whatever I choose will allow me to follow a path I enjoy. Thanks for your advice
Don't worry about not knowing exactly what you want to do when you graduate, it's fairly normal to feel that way and to want to keep your options open, so you won't be alone in this Focus on making sure you find a degree that you enjoy studying and can be successful at -- achieving a 1st will open up all kinds of graduate opportunities, so if you're mostly interested in Maths and Science then it makes a lot of sense to pursue a degree where you get to study a lot more scientific and mathematical modules.

Try to find out more about the Physics department at your university. Have you considered looking into Maths as well? Also, is there any way you could get in touch with some of the 2nd/3rd year students at your university to talk to them about the Physics or Maths courses to find out how they're finding it? Failing that, maybe you could try to get in touch with one of the lecturers and get a better idea of the content at least.

As for Data Science - it's a fairly natural career choice for Physics graduates, being that Physics itself tends to involve analysis and interpretation of data, but also Data science transcends many different types of industry sectors (e.g. finance, retail, healthcare, scientific research, etc.), Cyber security is far more of a technical computing career path since it involves a deep understanding of things like network security, software exploits, and how attackers use technology to try to break into systems, but you could definitely pick up those skills with a Masters later on.
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